Contribution to Peace Operations 

With its history and culture, Latin America is in many ways ideally suited to contributing to international peace. Here we examine that contribution.


In the Latin American hemisphere, the current defense focus is related to regional strategies of fight against drug trafficking, crime and violence. However, Latin American countries also are involved in defense in another field: they are deeply engaged in peace operations in the world with the United Nations.


The significance of their participation in peace missions is not only confined to military contribution in an effort to maintain peace at international level. Indeed Latin American countries’ endeavour at supporting democratisation processes are striking. While the history of Latin American countries is characterised by some struggle at maintaining democracy, it makes their involvement in peacekeeping operations in countries that potentially face similar difficulties all the more relevant. Notwithstanding cultural, social, military, historical, economic and political differences, RESDAL, acknowledges the similarities between the Latin American experiences and those of countries that are going through the path of sustainable development, democracy and peace.


Indeed, as well as developing their own specific mandate, United Nations peacekeeping operations assist in the construction of the post-conflict scenario in recipient countries. From the programs that they implement to the way in which they compose and present military personnel, they pass on behaviours, values and perspectives that influence positively or negatively the context of the country concerned. Especially since the Capstone Doctrine onwards, the UN has been aware of this challenge and the responsibilities that it entails. One of the key areas where peacekeeping can have a negative or positive impact on the process of a country’s post-conflict reconstruction is its democratic social relations. For Latin American states are engaged in their own processes of democracy and development, they are a particularly interesting support in peace maintenance areas. Of course, the potentialities of Latin American contributions can be implemented fully only with a comprehensive knowledge of the contexts they contribute to, with permanent respect of such a context, and with constantly improved capacity to promote human rights.

It is undeniable that the troops’ composition sent by contributing countries has changed in the last decade. In late 2012, for every 100 troops participating in peacekeeping operations, 36 were from Asia, 21 from Africa and 8 from Latin America. The international community has welcomed this renewed participation of Asian, African and Latin American contingents in international security efforts, especially considering the future exchanges between countries that have undergone similar internal conflicts and experiences of democratisation. However, the bridge between regions and especially South-South cooperation remains weak, and is a factor that requires strengthening in the future. RESDAL proposes initiatives and efforts in order to promote such a cooperation.