Brazil has announced the withdrawal of its last U.N.-commissioned “blue helmets” in Haiti, marking the end of the 13-year military mission in the Caribbean nation.
"We arrived in June 2004 when Haiti was experiencing instability and violence,” Brazilian Defense Minister Raoul Jungmann announced in Port-au-Prince.
“Thirteen years later, Haiti has a democratic government and the conditions for a lasting peace and economic and social development.”
For more than a decade, some 37,500 Brazilian soldiers from the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti were deployed to collaborate with Haitian security police. The mission began in 2004 as an attempt to curb violence resulting from the U.S.-supported coup against then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
The blue helmets had their mission extended in 2010, after an earthquake devastated the country and left up to 300,000 dead.
Since then, the U.N. mission's reputation has been criticized by many.
After the 2010 earthquake, a cholera epidemic allegedly introduced to the country by blue helmets reportedly killed up to 30,000 people. And in 2015, some 225 Haitian women claimed they had been sexually exploited by foreign mission workers in exchange for basic necessities, such as food, water and medication.
In 2016, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered what he suggested was an official apology.
In April, the U.N. Security Council decided to end the mission, establishing its definitive closure by Oct. 15, 2017. But, it will be replaced by another mission, called the U.N. Mission of Support to Justice in Haiti, with about 1,200 police members, who will be in charge of training Haitian police.