[Translation of an article from La Tercera of Santiago, Chile, for January 30. See original here. Senator Juan Antonio Coloma and the party he leads, the Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI), are politically rightist, both having supported the Pinochet regime. The UDI is the largest party in Congress, holding eight of 38 seats in the Senate and 38 of 120 in the Chamber of Deputies.]
Senator and president of the UDI [Unión Demócrata Independiente] Juan Antonio Coloma today called for the government to “review the participation” of Chilean troops in Haiti.
The senator based his request on the fact that, in his judgement, the UN forces in which Chile participates are seen lately “as forces of occupation” more than as forces for aid and order.
Coloma holds that the aid the country should be offered, especially since the earthquake, should be “more on the institutional level than on the military level.” Specifically, he said, this should be the case in the tasks of reconstruction and overcoming poverty.
The gremialista [right-wing] senator explained as well that the purpose of having Chilean troops in the country was, at the beginning, “to avoid a genocide” and that they remained there “to assure the election of René Préval.” Later, Coloma added, the people of Haiti began to see them as “forces of occupation.”
He thus requested a review of the renovation of the Chilean contingent in the next few months.
The UDI president’s stance comes days after the Senate defense committee, of which he is a member, asked the government to redefine and expand the role of Chilean troops in Haiti, placing an emphasis on reconstruction.
On that occasion, the president of the institution, Patricio Walker (Demócrata Cristiano) said that “we need to expand our efforts after the earthquake in that country. We have to support more forcefully the reconstruction and aid in the creation of a new institutionality so the state can have a greater participation.”