The Discursive Construction of a Latin American Identity/ies in the UN Mission in Haiti (2004–2013)



In the aftermath of the coup that ousted President Aristide (30 April 2004), the UN Security Council adopted the resolution 1542, which created the current United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). After more than 13 years, the mission has been regarded as “led by, and almost entirely composed of, Latin American troops” (Ross, The changing role of the military in Latin America. FOCAL Canadian Foundation for the Americas, Ottawa, 2004, p. 1), which has been considered an asset by some of the leaders of the mission, despite its unprecedented nature (Ferreiro and Wodak, Análisis Crítico de Discurso desde el Enfoque Histórico: La construcción de identidad(es) latinoamericana(s) en la misión de Naciones Unidas en Haití (2004–2005). In Canales M. (ed) Escucha de la escucha. Análisis e interpretación en la investigación cualitativa. LOM Ediciones, pp 189–230. Retrieved from, 2014). This chapter analyses the discursive construction of a Latin American identity and the legitimation strategies that stem from it in the light of MINUSTAH leaders in the context of a UN peacekeeping mission. The chapter revolves around the analysis of interviews with MINUSTAH’s leaders conducted at various instances (2004–2015), focusing on argumentation, nomination, predication, and legitimation strategies as proposed by the discourse-historical approach (Reisigl M, Wodak R Discourse and discrimination: rhetorics of racism and antisemitism. Routledge, London/New York, 2001). Results show that there is a complex discursive construction of a Latin American identity, even contradictory at some points, and subject to geopolitical interests. However, even though there was a shared notion of the experience of poverty and institutional breakdowns having a sense of “cultural identity” in terms of Larraín (Larraín Identidad chilena. LOM Ediciones, Santiago, Chile, 2001), there was also a strong role in contrast rather than “self-affirmation” in this Latin America identity. This contrast was established mainly against the USA. In other words, since Latin America is not a continent by itself, the USA acts as a “border” of what is and what is not Latin American. The Latin American identity seems to be far from being a coherent concept, and it is rather the subject of power struggles. But it also can be used “peripherally” (in the case of Haiti) as a disguise (or excuse) for power struggles. All this seems to back the idea that Latin America “needs” the USA in order to construct its identity by contrast with the superpower.


Latin American Identity Reisigl Institutional Breakdown legitimationLegitimation powerPower Struggles 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Merlin ResearchSantiagoChile

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