MIAMI (CBS4)- Haitian President Michel Martelly is delaying a controversial plan to reinstate the Haitian army, and is choosing instead to set up a special commission to decide.
Martelly said Friday that his decision to delay a presidential decree reestablishing the disbanded army was not a rejection of the idea, CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald reported.
He said the commission will have 40 days to report back on the new army’s configuration and set a calendar for its reinstatement.
“Haiti must ensure the integrity of its territory and its national security,” Martelly said as he stood in the Champ de Mars, a public plaza turned sprawling tent city across from the broken presidential palace in Port-au-Prince. The return of the army had been one of his campaign promises.
There are mixed reactions to Martelly’s long-awaited decision. While some see it as bowing to strong international pressure against the idea, others say it may be a way to win over the United States and others who oppose the rebirth of the army.
Haiti’s disreputable military was dismissed in 1995 by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after he return from exile following a bloody 1991 military-led coup d’état, the Herald reported.
But the army, accused of human rights abuses, was never constitutionally dissolved and part of it was kept as a music band. Martelly can simply reinstate it as a real army with a decree.
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