By Aaron Morrison
Special to the Miami Herald
UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday appointed Lt. Gen. Jose Luiz Jaborandy, Jr., a Brazilian military commander, to head the peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
Jaborandy will on Saturday take command of the more than 5,000-strong force, known as MINUSTAH, after countries lending troops to the mission meet Friday in the Security Council to discuss a force reduction plan that Ban presented last year.
A career military officer with experience in U.N. Central American peacekeeping missions in the early 1990s, Jaborandy arrives at MINUSTAH as concerns of political progress and a deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti have dominated debates about the future of the mission.
Jaborandy, who leads Brazil’s 8th military region, will replace a colleague, Brazilian Lt. Gen. Edson Leal Pujol, whom Ban thanked for the year he spent as force commander.
“His dedication, professionalism and leadership greatly contributed to the United Nations stabilization efforts in Haiti,” Ban said in a statement.
The command change comes the same week that 1,500 victims of a waterborne cholera outbreak in earthquake-rattled Haiti filed a class-action lawsuit against the U.N. in New York, asking the federal court there to declare that the U.N. can be held liable for the epidemic that has killed more than 8,000 and sickened more than 700,000 Haitians.
Friday’s Security Council debate of the mission in Haiti is expected to include a briefing by Trinidad diplomat Sandra Honore, Ban’s special representative to the mission. Pujol, the outgoing force commander, is also expected to brief the Council in a closed meeting before the debate.
Last year, the Council renewed the mission’s mandate through mid-October. Ban’s semi-annual report on the mission, which was due to the Council on Monday, is expected to include recommendations beyond his troop consolidation plan, which includes a smaller, assistance-based mission by 2016.