Earlier this month, Brazil sent 300 troops to join UNIFIL, the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon. In an email interview, Kai Michael Kenkel, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, discussed Brazil's peacekeeping operations.
WPR: What is the history of Brazil's involvement in international peacekeeping missions?
Kai Michael Kenkel: Brazil is a strong supporter of the U.N. and started participating very early in U.N. peace operations, notably the U.N. Special Committee on the Balkans in 1947 and the U.N. Emergency Force (UNEF) in 1956 following the Suez crisis, which was the first armed U.N. force. Until recently, Brazil's participation was dependable but quite small, consisting of a steady trickle of individual officers. The only exceptions were the battalion-sized forces with UNEF (1956-1967) and UNAVEM III in Angola (1995-1997), as well as about 200 men sent to UNOMOZ in Mozambique (1993-1994) and a sizable police contingent in East Timor after 1999. Things changed in 2004, when Brazil agreed to provide the lead contingent and force commander of Minustah, the U.N. operation in Haiti. Whereas Brazil had previously refused to take part in or even support anything but traditional Chapter VI missions, as of October 2011 it has more than 2,200 troops playing a key role in a robust Chapter VII enforcement operation.