I have always believed that, as difficult as it may be, dialogue and negotiation should be employed as the best means of resolving conflicts. Political pressure or economic sanctions should be implemented only in crisis situations. As a matter of principle, unilateral military solutions should not even be an option.
The complex situation we experienced in Central America during the 1980s helped strengthen this belief. Let us remember that we Central Americans were able to reach a negotiated solution to a complex and bloody conflict in Nicaragua despite the belligerent determination of an impatient Reagan administration.Today, the entire international community faces the brutal inflexibility of the military junta in Haiti. The recalcitrance of Gen. Raoul Cedras has closed off nearly all channels to finding a peaceful means of guaranteeing the security of the Haitian people. Faced with the political and moral imperative of re-establishing democracy in Haiti, with President Aristide effectively returned to power, the United States has sought and found in the U.N. Security Council the support in use military force.
However, in spite of the recently approved Security Council resolution, I believe that we must first exhaust all negotiation possibilities that may still exist and employ collective military action only as a last resort. Now, more than ever, we must utilize our foremost diplomatic skills in ordre to avoid bloodshed in a nation that should suffer no more. Now, more than ever, we must find the courage to conquer our own impatience.
We should not be concerned with the traditional concept of security in Haiti. More troublesome is the issue of human security: the right of each individual to live in peace and liberty, protected from hunger, sickness and ignorance.
The international community is the only entity with the resources and influence to carry out the momentous labor of political, economic and social recovery required in Haiti. But the international community would seriously err if, after achieving the removal of the military which seized power and restoring Haiti's constitutional government, it sat back with arms folded and left the impoverished Haitian nation to suffer.
The U.N. should assume the responsibility of disarming and disbanding the Haitian army and all other military or paramilitary organizations which have helped maintain dictatorships in Haiti and hampered the cause of democracy there. the U.N. mission would be enhanced if, after dismantling the armed forces, it is able to convince the Republic of Haiti to constitutionally abolish its army. This reform, which already appears in the Constitution of Costa Rica, and which we hope to see incorporated soon into that of Panama, would help reduce military encroachment into Latin American politics.
But the international community's obligation to the Haitian people does not end there. Massive economic aid, along with programs to enhance governance and strengthen civil society, are essential to democratic viability in Haiti.
The Clinton administration itself has proposed a bilateral debt forgiveness plan for a new and democratic Haiti.
Finally, I propose that the U.N. carry out in Haiti a pilot plan of the Global Demilitarization fund. I have proposed the creation of this fund based on the belief that it is possible to achieve in other parts of the world that which we have accomplished in Costa Rica through complete demilitarization.
Victor Hugo said, "To each idea arrives its hour." For the well-being of all humanity, it is my hope that the time has come for this idea. We must, as a start, find a way to dismantle the Haitian army so that nation can recover as soon as possible from the devastating tragedy that oppresses it.