Haiti President Moves Forward with Plan to Restore Army

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President Michel Martelly may keep his campaign promise to revive the Haitian army, which he has said would be used to combat drug trafficking and insecurity.

The Associated Press reports that it obtained a document which describes Martelly’s plans to spend $95 million to set up and equip the new force, which would eventually replace the 12,000 United Nations (UN) troops inside the country.

According to the 22-page document, among the responsibilites of the new army would be patrolling the mostly unguarded land frontier with the Dominican Republic. Drug traffickers and contraband runners take advantage of the porous border, as well as the island’s 1,500 kilometers of coastline.

Martelly has said re-establishing the army is crucial to combating insecurity and organized crime inside the country. The police force is underpaid, badly trained and corrupt, and the Coast Guard numbers just 99 people.

The Haitian army was disbanded in 1994, three years after the overthrow of then-President Jean-Betrand Aristide, amid widespread distrust in the country and perceptions that it was involved in human rights abuses.

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