Peacekeeping: November 27, 2004


It looks like the long Guatemalan civil war is finally over, at least as far as the UN observers, peacekeepers and bureaucrats are concerned. The United Nations will close down its peace verification program in Guatemala sometime in December. MINUGUA (UN Verification Mission in Guatemala) was charged with verifying that Guatemala's 1996 peace accord was implemented. MINUGUA has to be rated as a limited success -- the judicial reform component of the peace accords has not been effectively implemented, and MINUGUA's own reports emphasize this point. MINUGUA had only 250 personnel, which makes it one of the most cost-effective peacekeeping operations, at least in terms of cost and personnel involved. But MINUGUA also proves once again that peacekeeping, as the name implies, can only be carried out when the locals have decided to stop fighting. In too many current hot spots, there are too many people, with too many weapons, still full of fight. As popular as peacekeeping is, there is little enthusiasm for armed peacemaking.


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