In This Review

Fixing Haiti: MINUSTAH and Beyond
Fixing Haiti: MINUSTAH and Beyond
Edited by Jorge Heine and Andrew S. Thompson
UNU Press, 2011, 276 pp

Demonstrably unable to govern itself, Haiti is now a permanent de facto international trusteeship, depending on the United Nations for its security and international donors for its economy. The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is more vigorous than previous international efforts to assist the Haitians. It includes substantial numbers of Argentines, Brazilians, and Chileans, marking a new phase of regional self-assertiveness and collective responsibility. The authors in this volume oscillate between recognizing the urgency of a large international role in a fragile or failed state and arguing that local ownership and national institution building are required for lasting change. Two Chilean military commanders attached to MINUSTAH provide an unusually candid account of the challenges facing international peacekeepers in a lawless, distrustful society. In contrast, a Brazilian diplomat takes snide swipes at the United States and nongovernmental organizations, inadvertently raising doubts about whether Brazil is genuinely prepared to play a constructive leadership role. The editors’ concluding chapter neatly sums up the many dilemmas facing nation building in Haiti, conceding an absence of civic-mindedness and social capital among Haitians but nevertheless advocating a long-term international commitment.