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Human security, democracy, and development in the Americas: the Washington Consensus Redux?

Abstract. Human security has become a component of the international foreign policy coherence consensus, together with political liberalization and neoliberal economic policy. Although the human security paradigm, concerned as it is with fragile states and internal conflict, has had little currency for Latin America as compared to Africa, it is being applied to Haiti. The alternative paradigm for understanding Latin America since the end of the Cold War has been that of democratic transition, but the distance between the two may not be as great as often assumed: both paradigms see increasing social exclusion as signalling an alarm in the region. In the context of the "war on terror," human security is increasingly redefined in practice as part of a broader hard security agenda; this is illustrated by Canada's international policy toward Haiti, which is exemplary of international policy coherence. Although Haiti is currently the only country in the hemisphere treated according to a human security policy lens, the global "borderlands" that constitute the objects of human security interventions are all cases where democratic transition has failed and social conflict is acute. Does this signal a possible future for the stalled or conflictive "transitions" of Latin America?

Resume. La securite humaine est devenue une composante du consensus international sur la coherence de la politique exterieure, avec entre autres composantes la liberalisation politique et les reformes economiques neoliberales. Bien que le paradigme de la securite humaine, dont les preoccupations majeures sont les Etats fragiles et les conflits internes, soit d'usage peu courant en Amerique latine, contrairement a l'Afrique, on l'applique actuellement a Haiti. Le paradigme dominant pour interpreter la realite latino-americaine depuis la fin de la Guerre froide est plutot celui de la transition democratique ; cependant, le fosse entre ces deux paradigmes n'est peut-etre pas aussi large qu'il n'apparait, car les deux signalent l'exclusion sociale croissante dans la region comme indicateur de risque. Dans le contexte de la 'guerre contre la terreur', la securite humaine est progressivement redefinie dans le cadre d'une approche securitaire 'dure' plus large : ceci est illustre par la politique canadienne envers Haiti comme partie prenante de l'agenda international de coherence. Malgre le fait qu'Haiti soit actuellement le seul cas declare de securite humaine dans l'hemisphere, les << zones frontieres >> de la globalisation que sont les lieux d'intervention au nom de la securite humaine sont toutes des transitions democratiques manquees connaissant une tension sociale aigue. Ceci signale-t-il un scenario d'avenir possible pour les Etats latino-americains de transition inachevee ou conflictuelle?


Human security, as a paradigm for international policy and development assistance by Northern states toward the least developed countries (LDCs) of the South, is generally perceived in the academic and practice-oriented literature as a departure from state-centred security discourses, but also from key tenets of neoliberalism in international development policy. This article will explore human security as operative discourse (as opposed to practice per se) in the Americas, based on Foucault's concepts of governmentality and biopower, illustrated with reference to Haiti. The first section will situate the concept of human security as a biopolitical technology, and will trace the evolution of the concept in the context of the twin pressures of international policy coherence and international security obsession since the events of 9/11. The article will then consider the status of human security as a policy lens for international donors involved in Latin America and how it complements or contradicts the "democratic transition" lens popular with those donors. The third and final section will attempt to understand Canadian development and foreign policy in Haiti as an illustration of this securitized human security approach in action. On the basis of this analysis, the conclusion argues that human security as presently deployed represents not a return to traditional liberal approaches in foreign policy, but rather a new phase of neoliberal interventionism best understood using a biopolitical theoretical framework.

Human Security and Foreign Policy Coherence

The major proponents of the concept of human security frequently claim that it constitutes a significant paradigm shift with respect to earlier approaches to state sovereignty and international development concerns, first in that it questions, as do other post-Westphalian approaches, the exclusive sovereignty of the state, and second in that it focuses on the individual rather than the state as the seat of security (MacFarlane and Khong 2006). In addition, it is becoming increasingly clear that human security represents a departure from the dominant conception of development as a collective and somewhat linear, but nevertheless social, endeavour. It is crucial in this sense to understand its consistency with other "people-centred" approaches that have been gradually emerging since as early as the 1970s (MacFarlane and Khong 2006; Duffield 2005a, 152-153)--approaches such as "basic human needs," gender and development, and human rights. These currents in development thinking cast the individual as the basic unit of moral justification, development strategy, and policy-making.

The first of these approaches was sustainable development, which, Mark Duffield (2005a, 152) argues, "shifts the responsibility for self-reproduction from states to people reconfigured as social entrepreneurs operating at the level of the household and community" (1) The second, according to the same author (2005a, 153), is the post-Cold War discovery of internal conflict: it is probably unnecessary to reiterate here the classic refrain of the ideologues of human security that it is centred on the individual. (2) Both these developments are strikingly coherent with the rise of neoliberal economic ideology, with its critique of the role of the State and its accent on private initiative, and perhaps more to the point, with the translation of neoliberal economic theory into development policy by influential bilateral and multilateral institutions (Stiglitz 2002; Comeliau 2000; Hibou 1998). (3)

The field of development studies and practice has suffered for some time from a lack of theory. Many argue that development itself has disappeared from theoretical and policy discourse in the wake of the realization that 50 years of development cooperation had not produced any clear success stories: the discourse of the international financial institutions (IFIs) justifies market-oriented adjustment policies on this basis. The enthusiasm with which practitioners and analysts greeted the human security concept is also in large part due to the search for ideas that could constitute a breakthrough regarding the festering problems of underdevelopment and internal conflict. In this context, the search for new tools for understanding the failure of development and persistent domination of northern countries over southern ones has led some authors to experiment with the application to this issue of concepts not originally developed for its analysis. Critical constructivism and post-modernism, amongst other approaches, have been creatively solicited in these explorations, and have given rise to critical security studies (e.g., Buzan, Weaver, and de Wilde 1998; Bigo 1995; Macleod 2004), on the one hand, and post-development approaches on the other (e.g. Rist 1997; Latouche 2006), both of which are relevant to a critique of human security. In addition, there is a small but growing body of literature that uses Foucault's concepts of governmentality and biopower to analyze the relations specific to the phenomenon of development and, within it, human security. This is the approach that informs my analysis here.

In regard to human security, Duffield (2001, 1) argues that its shift of emphasis to individuals (as explained above), as distinct from states, has signified a progressive broadening of the scope of development intervention and has underpinned the "internationalization of public policy" in the form of external actors determining the nature and extent of measures, formerly considered to be within the purview of the sovereign state, that are implemented in a given territory. Certain aspects of public policy are indeed the favourite terrain of human security programs, particularly those having to do with public health and physical security--or "freedom from fear and freedom from want," as the original advocates of human security declared (see UNDP 1994). This central focus of human security leads several authors (e.g., Duffield 2001, 2002, 2005a, 2005b; Merlingen 2003; Bell 2006) to see it as a biopolitical (4) technology of governance. (5) From this perspective, human security has become a major component of the strategy deployed by developed countries to control the risks to international stability that fragile states imply.

The concept of biopolitics applied to issues of development problematizes the processes that constitute in general the very basis of the well-being (6) of societies: health, education, sanitation, nutrition, and so on, and refers to the techniques of governance associated with modernity. These focus on aggregate populations and rely on statistical measures and analysis to establish massified programs to ensure the biological survival, management, and control of a society. (7) The major distinction between developed and underdeveloped societies, when seen from this perspective, is thus the presence or absence of such state-instituted programs as universal forms of access to health care, education, unemployment, disability compensation, affordable housing, old-age pension, and so on. These programs are planned and implemented through systems that rely on methods of aggregate forecasting and monitoring to ensure the stability of the population and of the system of production and governance over time, despite inevitable risk and uncertainty. This biopolitical technology attempts to "control for" risk and disruption and re-establish equilibrium when it occurs.

So-called traditional societies in developing countries, on the other hand, are considered by development programmers to be largely self-reproducing (i.e., to ensure their own survival and well-being in the absence of such government stabilization apparatus). But development itself (i.e., the transformation of social relations within southern countries through the introduction of capitalist production) disrupts this system of self-reproduction and creates conditions that endanger survival. The challenge thus became to reinforce and consolidate those areas of self-reproduction in LDCs that are weakest: "From this perspective, development is a set of compensatory and ameliorative technologies concerned with maintaining equilibrium among populations understood as self-reproducing" (Duffield 2005a, 146). Seen in this manner, human security is biopolitical development adapted to the conditions of internal conflict and ineffective states that characterize the post-Cold War phase.

Human security does not simply focus on people as groups or individuals: it creates new categories as subjects for development actions. Two of these new categories--which human security increasingly shares with a "hard security" approach--are fundamental to its restructuring of the field of development. These are risk and fragile, weak or failed states. These new categories define differently not only the subjects and objects of the aid relation, but also the power relations between them.

The pervasive notion of risk infuses the entire discourse and logic of (human) security, rendering the world a place that calls out for security. Although human security might conceivably be imagined in positive terms (good health, strong communities, etc.), in fact it is consistently presented as risk and threat. A typical formulation of human security is this one, found in a UNESCO document:
 The individual is no longer endangered only by weapons but
 also by hunger, when her daily life is endangered.... human
 security can be set out as follows: political security (violation
 of human rights and democratic principles); individual
 and personal security (conflicts, poverty, drug-related crime,
 violence against women and children, terrorism); environmental
 security (damage to the air, water, land and forests);
 food security (in terms of the quantity and quality of available
 food; product traceability); health security (illnesses, epidemics;
 respiratory ailments due to air pollution); economic
 security (unemployment, job security, income and resource
 inequality, poverty and homelessness). (Unesco 2005, 1; my

The discursive construction of risk in human security frames the multiple aspects of an individual's life (in society, although this essential reference is most often eluded in the human security discourse) and (re)defines them as risk and danger: the world is no longer the site of the potential flourishing of societies, but rather a place of founded mistrust and relentless competition.

"Fragile, weak, and failed states" are the other central category constituted in the human security discourse: such entities are territories subject to chaos, where no order reigns, and where the population as a result is subject to multiple threats to its existence, even to survival. Although there is no clear and generally accepted definition of fragile, weak, or failed states, and thus no clear criteria for determining which countries fall into the category, the use of the phrase conjures up images of generalized malfunction and disorder. The constitution of this radical distinction between an ordered centre and a chaotic periphery enables the deployment of an integrated strategy that, in the name of human security (among other things), intervenes to reorganize such "borderlands," creating order (security) out of chaos (danger). "The borderlands are thus imagined spaces of breakdown, excess and wont that exist in and through a reforming urge to govern, that is, to reorder the relationship between people and things, including ourselves, to achieve desired outcomes" (Duffield 2002, 1053). (8)

The creation of such new categories does political work, in the sense that it discursively justifies the intervention of powerful (northern) states within the territory of weak (southern) states, hence redefining the power relations between them and the limits to the exercise of power by the respective parties. More and more scholars, particularly from the South, question the scientific status of such categories. Bendana (2007, 85) considers that "fragile state" is a politically determined category invented in order to enable new forms of international domination.

The borderlands are not objects of concern and intervention solely on their own terms, but principally as potential threats to the order of our own (developed) societies. The Human Security program is framed by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) as follows:
 As Canadians, we are committed to building a world where
 people can live in freedom from fear of threats such as terrorism,
 drug trafficking and the illicit trade of small arms. This
 new generation of threats shows no respect for national borders
 and inevitably becomes the source of our own insecurity.
 (<>, accessed
 31 August 2006) (9)

A similar message is conveyed by Canada's International Policy Statement (Canada 2005, 9): "In addition, many countries today threaten us--and their own citizens--not because of their strength, but because of their fragility."

The dangerous borderlands must therefore be brought under control and--because their states are unable or unwilling to ensure order, hence freedom from fear, for their populations--states that do have that will and capacity are justified (morally obliged) in doing so through (human) security intervention.

Despite the fact that human security is presented as a universal principle and an obligation of states with a status similar to that of international human rights, in policy and practice it is clearly an asymmetrical relation, with powerful (central) states exercising human security prerogatives toward weak states. (It would be difficult to imagine Burkina Faso, for example, sending a security force to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, despite the objective conditions of chaos, fear, and threat to survival that existed there.) "The proposition that human security prioritises people rather than states is more accurately understood in terms of effective states prioritising populations living within ineffective ones" (Duffield 2005b, 9). Indeed, Latin American scholars Bendana (2007) and de Rivero (2001) claim that the incapacitation of fragile states is a legacy of radical structural adjustment programs in the 1980s and 1990s that in effect dismembered the little basic protection provided by the state (primary education, public health, etc.) and thereby created the conditions of what de Rivero terms "ungovernable chaotic entities."

The instrument of human security interventions is based on an emerging strategic alliance that has been consolidating itself gradually over the past three decades, and involves not only the governments of developed countries, but increasingly both NGOs and private enterprise. Since the Balkan interventions in the 1990s and particularly after 9/11, a clear "civilian-military interface" (Duffield 2002, 1062) has evolved, with the military executing humanitarian tasks and civilian organizations (NGOs (10) and private companies) acting as subcontractors when not participating in military operations. (11) Canada's 2005 International Policy Statement is explicit on this point: "Recent conflicts and emergencies have taught us that we need to develop an integrated approach in responding to international crises when they occur, so that military operations and civilian assistance form part of a coherent operational plan."

The radical change in the international policy environment since 9/11 has altered the role and signification of human security. Without having been completely redefined as such, human security is altered by being increasingly subsumed within the logic of "hard" security in the context of the "war on terror." Some argue that human security is simply the international face of increasingly controlling national security policies domestically (Bell 2006, 154). This shift is evidenced in Canadian policy on human security by the fact that the definition of the concept has narrowed in recent years. While it was framed in the Axworthy era (Lloyd Axworthy, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1996-2000) as "freedom from fear and freedom from want," it is now labelled exclusively as "freedom from fear." (12) The elimination of the latter part of the phrase significantly alters the content of the concept, and brings it more clearly in line with hard security approaches.

This movement is not confined to Canadian policy: it is part of a concerted effort from multilateral policy spheres--notably the World Bank and the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)--to "harmonize" policies in the interests of aid effectiveness. The pressing calls for foreign policy coherence (and, within this, aid policy coherence) underpin interventions in the borderlands in that development aid is cast as a key component of interventions to mitigate threats in fragile states. Each of the major international and regional aid organizations has now formulated objectives and programs that render explicit the perceived link between underdevelopment, disorder, and threat. (13) Forces are marshalled to ensure unity and complementarity amongst donors and compliance from beneficiaries whether in terms of the security agenda or its economic bedfellow, the market economy. Human security is one part of this multidimensional agenda for securing the borderlands.

Democracy in the Americas: Paradigm Lost?

Human security has not been a major policy lens for the development agenda in the Americas on the part of bilateral or multilateral donors, and the main policy documents on human security and fragile states make little mention of the Americas. Britain's Department for International Development (DfID) (2005, 27-28) established a list of 46 fragile states that includes only three from the Americas (Haiti, Guyana, and Dominica) and the DAC (OECD/DAC 2006, 2) used essentially the same criteria to establish its list. (14) Human security as now incarnated in the concept of fragile states has, however, become a key paradigm for Africa (26 of the 46 countries on DfID's list are African), where states are now overwhelmingly seen as fragile and prey to internal conflict and disorder.

In the Americas, in contrast, increasing importance has instead been given since the end of the Cold War to the paradigm of democratic transition, or political liberalization, (15) in the context of the ill-fated initiatives toward hemispheric integration. Latin American countries are seen as economic partners who have "achieved" development (Brazil, Mexico, Chile ...) or who are almost there. Although most remain eligible for official development assistance (ODA), only Haiti remains within the Least Developed Countries (LDC) category (United Nations 2007), and only Bolivia, Guyana, Nicaragua, and Honduras were designated for ODA concentration following Canada's decision as shown in its 2005 International Policy Statement to restrict the number of ODA partners to 25. (16)

While the human security discourse tends to fold democratic governance into itself, (17) framing democracy as one aspect of human security, the de facto distinction in the application of the two policy paradigms illustrates that the fit is not as flush as human security advocates presume. The difference resides to a large extent in this act of subordination of democratic governance, which reduces it to instrumental status within the agenda of stabilizing fragile states. In this sense, human security advocates tend to see democracy as necessary for containing social conflict or facilitating conflict resolution by peaceful means. This is arguably a reductive notion of democracy, which as a system depends on the expression of social dissent, debate, and competition in order to maintain its vitality.

If we explore the trajectories of democratic transition in the Americas, though, it appears that liberalization of the political sphere and the institutionalization of political rights have not led to the levels of social and economic well-being that citizens expected (United Nations Development Program [UNDP] 2004; Latinobarometro 2005). Critics of transitions in the Americas have highlighted their incomplete nature through such notions as "uncivil" democracy (Holston 1998), "low-intensity" democracy (O'Donnell 2000), "illiberal" democracy (Zakaria 2003), and "truncated" democracy (Thede 2002), all thus underlining the perpetuation and renewal under conditions of political competition of the forms of social exclusion that have traditionally been the by-product of undemocratic Latin American regimes. This provides another way of seeing the link between the human security and democratic transition paradigms, in that human security identifies social exclusion as a source of threat and conflict. In other words, the limits of democratic transition in the Americas may be pointing to a "human securitized" future in the region. Rather than democracy as the logical outcome of human security, as liberal discourse would lead us to expect, deployment of the human security agenda may be the future of uncivil democracy in the Americas.

The status of social conflict in the human security paradigm raises central questions concerning its compatibility with democracy. Indeed, the human security logic tends to delegitimize social dissent in general, not only violent social conflict. This bias is accentuated by the integration of human security into the hard security agenda in the context of the "war on terror." As the recent violations of civil liberties in Canada and the United States illustrate (International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group 2005), guarantees of those freedoms essential to the exercise of democracy have been significantly eroded under the pressure of national security policies. The emphasis on homeland security since 9/11, and its subordination of human security to its agenda of securing the borderlands in order to secure domestic stability, undermines fundamental processes necessary for democratic societies.
 For proponents of human security, the broadening of national
 security to focus on the vital life of the Canadian population
 may, at first glance, appear laudable. However, the alignment
 of security with the life of a population detonates an arsenal
 of surveillance strategies that are inconsistent with substantive
 democratic principles of equality and freedom. (Bell 2006,

The ideology of pervasive threat in which human security participates constitutes the justification for curtailment of liberties and circumscribes the realm of legitimate debate on the issues involved. In so doing, the security agenda redefines the realm and reach of "freedom." Rather than being subject to public debate, security defines the space available to such deliberation (Bell 2006, 161). The notions of danger and threat that, as we have seen, form the very basis of the human security concept, are the antithesis of democracy. Rather than creating the foundations of democracy, human security's insistence on stability, social consensus, and the elimination of risk weaken those very aspects of political process without which no democracy can exist, namely: civil liberties and a vibrant and diverse public sphere.

Human Security in the Borderlands of the Americas

Despite the existence of three officially declared fragile states in the hemisphere, the only operative human security "case" in the Americas to date is Haiti, with its weak or nonexistent governance, devastated economy, conflict-ridden civil society, thriving drug trafficking and corruption, seeping emigration, environmental degradation, urban crime, and insecurity--in short, many of the characteristics that "call for" human security. Haiti has become an important target for international aid programs using this lens, not least of which is Canada's program, and this section will explore the discursive and policy dimensions of the application of the paradigm using Haiti as an illustration of its political consequences.

That Canada has taken a lead role in the international alliance to aid Haiti is not surprising, given the linguistic bond between the two countries and the sizeable Haitian expatriate community in Quebec. The focus on Haiti for Canada's foreign policy has survived the change in government from Liberals to Conservatives, and the Haiti aid program remains Canada's largest in the hemisphere. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti are the three major beneficiaries of Canadian ODA, reflecting the growing importance of security concerns in ODA allocation (Tomlinson 2007). "Haiti is now Canada's most important long-term development assistance beneficiary in the Americas, and the second largest in the world (after Afghanistan)," the DFAIT web page proclaims. Canada is the second largest bilateral donor to Haiti, after the United States.

DFAIT frames its approach to Haiti in the following terms: "Since the departure of President Aristide on February 29, 2004, Canada has played an important role in international efforts to re-establish security and stability in Haiti and to assist in longer-term reform and reconstruction efforts" (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, 2008). Of the three main needs to be addressed in Haiti, DFAIT puts security and rule of law first on its list. (18) The second priority aims largely at enhancing private sector economic development, and the third at reforming the electoral and legislative institutions. While on the face of it these goals appear standard fare for policy toward LDCs, it is important to note what is not said, for example concerning the "departure" of President Aristide. In fact, Aristide did not depart, he "was departed" by a U.S.-led military operation. By all accounts his government was corrupt and increasingly repressive, and was strongly contested by armed rebellion and--more importantly--the coalescence of civil society opposition. Haitian activists contend that the international "solution" to the crisis, backed by Security Council resolution 1529, did not "save" democracy in the island, but rather nipped in the bud a home-grown resolution of the crisis (Pierre-Charles 2004). What, then, is being "stabilized" in Haiti since 2004?

For its part, the Canadian International Development Agency ([CIDA], 2006) designated its priorities for Haiti as being "to strengthen good governance and democracy" and "to make the country more secure." (19) Its diagnosis of the problems to be addressed is informed by a human security lens:

The recent political crisis and insecurity are having a disastrous economic impact on Haiti. The consequences of the crisis in Haiti entail dangerous risks. These risks include:

* a massive exodus of people;

* risks relating to public health and regional health, including the risk of HIV/AIDS;

* an increase in crime and regional insecurity; and

* vulnerability and ecological/environmental risks. (CIDA, 2006)

The major initiatives by Canada and the other countries and organizations participating in stabilizing Haiti fall into the two major categories for securing the borderlands outlined by Duffield (2005a): hard security and biopolitical restructuring. The two are meshed in the "whole-of-government approach" favoured by the DAC in order to ensure policy coherence, and expressed in Canadian policy terms as the "3D" approach (referring to diplomacy, defence, and development). Canada's Ambassador to Haiti, Claude Boucher, described the "whole of government" approach to Haiti:
 What Canada intends to do here is to rebuild the country so
 that Haitians can live under the rule of law, in a state that can
 provide security and justice, protect human rights, and provide
 its people with services in health and education so that future
 generations can enjoy a level of development comparable to
 that of other countries in the region. (Boucher, n.d.)

The dangerous borderland, depicted as a threat to international and Canadian security, will thus be stabilized through international intervention to "rebuild" it.

As concerns the first aspect (hard security), United Nations Security Council Resolution 1542 of April 2004 created the United Nations Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH) with a civilian component of 1,622 police officers and a military component of 6,700 troops. Canada contributed some 500 troops to the interim force under U.S. command and continues to provide 100 Canadian police officers to MINUSTAH. The "hard" security component of Canadian involvement in Haiti is epitomized by its training projects with the Haitian National Police Force and its reinforcing of the policing capacities of MINUSTAH. The Department of National Defence provides little information about its part in Canada's 3D program for Haiti, but an article in the Canadian Military Journal (Ward 2006) provides some insight into the debate concerning the nature and limits of the stabilization operation from a military perspective. The author, a military officer who participated in the operation in Haiti, maintains that stabilization can only succeed if the mandate of the mission is transformed to put in place an international trusteeship that will set up effective state institutions prior to introducing democracy to Haiti. He admits that Haitian sovereignty would constitute a stumbling block to his strategy and signals that a way must be found to convince Haitians of the legitimacy of the operation and of their ownership over it.

On the second count (biopolitical restructuring), an international donor consensus has emerged on both the conceptual and the operational levels. First, Haiti is conceptually categorized as a fragile state and a "difficult partnership" (CIDA 2004). "Indicators of Haiti's social, economic and political development over the past decade clearly situate it as a fragile state. Haiti has been in an ongoing, low intensity crisis with periods of violent outbursts throughout much of its history, which has undermined virtually all efforts towards sustainable development" (CIDA 2004, 3). The designation "difficult partnership" refers to situations where the LDC involved in an aid relationship with a donor is both politically and technically incapable of upholding its end of the agreement (CIDA 2004, 4): this characterization is applied to Haiti. Second, in operational terms, DAC members coincide in the view that the goals of their involvement in fragile states are stabilization (security and political) to reduce risk and uncertainty, and addressing basic social and economic welfare needs as a basis for developing an effective market economy. The Interim Cooperation Framework for Haiti (ICF) channels donor contributions and is presented as the prelude to the preparation of a poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) by Haiti.

In July 2006, international donors met in Port-au-Prince to renew and extend the ICF negotiated in 2004. Canada is the only country to commit to the ICF for as long as five years (2006-11) and will contribute half of the total monies involved ($555 million of a total of almost $1.1 billion). The four priority areas concern political governance, economic governance, economic recovery, and basic services. Canadian commitments are directed principally through CIDA to basic needs and economic recovery, through DFAIT to political and economic governance, and through the Department of National Defence to MINUSTAH, police, and security sector reform.

Linked to the biopolitical restructuring effort are a series of interventions to "strengthen good governance and democracy." These involve bilateral, multilateral (through UNDP and the Organization of American States [OAS]), and NGO support to human rights monitoring, organization of the presidential and legislative elections, and judicial reform. Significantly, one of the OAS-led initiatives is to mount a national electoral roster that will constitute the basis for the creation of a "citizenship card" for the entire population. This latter example illustrates the interface with the biopolitical project by the fact that it constitutes for the first time in this country the basis for a system of statistical monitoring of the entire adult population, essential for biopolitical governance.

The combination of hard security and soft security elements in the international reconstruction program for Haiti illustrates the application of policy coherence that has become a key principle of multilateral and bilateral donor action, particularly since the mid-1990s, but with growing momentum since the adoption of the Millennium Development goals in 2000. The concept of coherence designates the mesh among the objectives of the diverse official actors involved in international policy and operates simultaneously on several levels: within the donor government ("whole-of-government" approach, 3D, etc.), amongst the various donor governments bilaterally and multilaterally, and between the donor governments and the receiving government (OECD 2005). Coherence is predicated on the proclaimed benefits for LDCs of the market economy, trade liberalization, and globalization. In addition, coherence requires security, equated with stability: "No development without peace and political stability: a whole-of-government approach to security is needed, with developmental objectives an integral part" (Lahnalampi n.d., 11). Development, security, and the market economy are all rolled into a single policy option for LDCs. Donors themselves have an increasingly unequivocal position, and attempt to coordinate policies and agree on a division of labour within the concerted policy menu. Key to maintaining the joint agenda is the continued legitimacy of the IFIs, and the continued willingness of LDCs to maintain their relationship with them. This may explain why donors have taken on the burden of paying the debts to the development banks on behalf of certain "difficult partners." Canada has shouldered this responsibility for Haiti, and has paid a large part of the country's debts to the World Bank and regional banks.

On this basis, it would appear that instead of representing an alternative development program for fragile states, human security is meshed with neoliberal growth in a single, graduated approach. Political and economic stabilization have the same goals and participate in the same "coherent" agenda.

Canada is obviously not alone in its concern for and involvement in Haiti. A novel aspect of the international mobilization around the security and development crisis in this country has been the delegation of important aspects of programming and responsibilities to Latin American countries. According to Jean-Louis Roy, former president of the Canadian para-governmental institute, International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy), other countries in the Americas see Haiti as a stepping stone to future involvement in transition in Cuba: (20)
 For the first time the most significant Latin American countries
 like Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela are
 extremely active in Haiti. The UN forces are headed by a Brazilian
 and the civil part of it is headed by a Chilean man. When
 you ask them "Why, for the first time, are you with Canada
 and others as part of the international teams and regional
 teams that are working in Haiti?" the answer is extraordinarily
 interesting. They are there for Haiti of course, but also for
 Cuba. They want to have a precedent. When things happen
 in Cuba--whether it be 2 days or 2-3 years or in 200 years,
 who knows--because Cuba is very important for them, and
 symbolic, they will have a precedent. (Roy, n.d.)

The Latin-Americanization of security and stabilization operations in the region might have been foretold by the growing regionalization and harmonization of policy-making within the Organization of American States, as exemplified by recent initiatives such as the Inter-American Democratic Charter (OAS 2001) and the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism (OAS 2002). However, Haiti represents the first operational involvement by the OAS in such issues. Despite the speculation that the leftward political trend in Latin America evidenced by electoral results in the region since late 2005 (Mexico excepted) has opened a "post Washington-consensus" era, regional enthusiasm for the stabilization and security operations underway in Haiti seems to point rather to an easing of some of the original aspects of the Consensus as applied by the IFIs (their insistence on State retreat from the economy, for example), (21) enabling a broadening of its base and the integration of both hard security and human security concerns. We may thus be entering not so much a post-Consensus era as its phase three (22) or, otherwise put, the Washington Consensus Redux.

Conclusion: A Human Securitized Future in the Americas?

It may be too early to fully substantiate such a claim, but the broadening involvement of regional powers in (human) security operations in Haiti puts the issue of human security in the Americas in a new light. It raises the crucial question of whether Haiti is really the only borderland territory in the Americas. Looking from the perspective that Latin American countries involved in the stabilization of Haiti are poised to intervene in Cuba, it becomes plausible that this country may also become a target, categorized as a risk for regional security. Borderlands--or fragile states--seem to have become so as a result of their failure to successfully complete--or perhaps even engage--a democratic transition. This has clearly been the case in Haiti. The die is not cast for Cuba, but already the regional actors appear to be set to jump in to obviate the possibility of failure and stabilize the transition.

The question might also be posed regarding Bolivia: is it another potential candidate for the category of dangerous borderlands? The idea has been floated recently in policy debates and documents (Guevara 2004), and the justification proposed is the high level of social conflict in the country. This appears surprising in view of the fact that the present government has strong popular backing and has put in place a process involving all the country's political actors for constitutional reform. The example demonstrates that, rather than a category reflecting "objective" assessments based on criteria of levels of risk, violence, and need, fragile states needing human security are an operational political category: a category that does political work by subjecting certain states as a matter of definition to external bio-political intervention in order to stabilize them.

This article has used a biopolitical interpretation of human security to examine the evolution and application of the concept in the Americas. It began by explaining how human security operates as a biopolitical technology of governmentality, in particular through the construction of categories such as "risk," "threat," and "fragile state." It then examines how human security has become subordinated to and progressively integrated into a "hard security" perspective in the context of the "war on terror." The article then explains human security and democratic transition as alternative or competing paradigms for foreign policy by Northern countries toward Latin American ones, and underlines aspects of a fundamental antithesis between the two. Finally, it explores international policy coherence articulated around the concepts of security, stabilization, and development as applied to Haiti since 2004, by Canada in particular and OECD donors in general. This exploration indicates the importance accorded stabilization as a prelude to restructuring the country ("rebuilding") in a manner consistent with the international policy agenda. In this light, human security and neoliberal economic policy reveal themselves to be mutually reinforcing, rather than competing, policy paradigms.

The overdetermination of human security by hard security concerns that we have seen since 9/11 fundamentally changes the significance of human security. Whereas the original human security agenda was principally biopolitical in intent, and could be considered a key part of a liberal script for neoliberal globalization, the growing securitization of human security and development issues portends a counter scenario: fear and loathing in the borderlands that justify a discipline and control scenario of neoliberalism. For the uncivil democracies of Latin America--Bolivia is a case in point--the potential implications are enormous: to the extent that they prove themselves unable to control the continued, even deepening, social tensions within their borders, they may also expose themselves to being redefined as security threats to their (Northern) neighbours in our increasingly integrated hemisphere.

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Universite du Quebec a Montreal


(1) This is not to say that sustainable development is not a contested notion, in which other, more community-centred, approaches exist as well.

(2) For example, this quote from a UNESCO pamphlet: "Security is no longer considered an affair between states, it places the human being at the centre of its concerns" (Unesco 2005, 1, my translation).

(3) Hibou extensively explores the gap between the economic theories on which the IFIs claim their adjustment policies are based and the actual reinterpretation of theory encapsulated in those policies.

(4) Space does not permit me to go into the details of this highly suggestive discussion here, but suffice it to say that biopolitics is a concept developed by Michel Foucault in the late 1970s to designate the specifically modern form of power based on "disciplines of normalization and subjectification" (Norris 2000, 39)

(5) Or, more appropriately, governmentality, another Foucauldian concept designating "the political rationalities and techniques of the organization and exercise of power" (Merlingen 2003, 361).

(6) The kinship with the notion of human development, based on well-being of individuals in their societies, as framed by the UNDP, is clear here.

(7) "Biopolitics is a security mechanism that works through regulatory interventions that seek to establish equilibrium, maintain an average or compensate for variations at the level of population" (Duffield 2005a, 146-147).

(8) Borderlands is a concept used not by the proponents of human security, but by analysts in various fields of social sciences, from literary criticism to postmodern sociology and political science, and the term is thus somewhat polysemic. Employed by political scientists, it refers to the blurring of boundaries and the territorial limits of sovereignty and to the exercise of state power in an era of globalization. Borderlands in this sense are spaces where the rule of law is inexistent or defective.

(9) As of this writing (November 2007), this quotation no longer appears on the DFAIT web page dedicated to human security, which now offers no definition of the concept.

(10) It is important to note that many NGOs are very uneasy with this proximity and are demanding respect for "humanitarian space."

(11) See Pandolfi(2002) for an account of these types of relationships in the case of Albania and Kosovo.

(12) <>, accessed 13 September 2006.

(13) For example, at the Organization of American States: The Third Summit of the Americas called for a thorough review of security issues, a process that led to the Special Conference on Security, held in 2003 in Mexico City. At that conference, the member states defined a "multidimensional" approach that recognizes both traditional and new security threats, and "incorporates the priorities of each state, contributes to the consolidation of peace, integral development, and social justice, and is based on democratic values, respect for and promotion and defense of human rights, solidarity, cooperation, and respect for national sovereignty." < key_issues/eng/KeyIssue_Detail.asp?kis_sec=9>, accessed 13 September 2006.

(14) Both lists are based on the World Bank's Country Policy and Institutions Assessment (CPIA) index.

(15) Accompanied by its twin, economic liberalization, which is generally assumed by policy-makers to have been substantially achieved in the 1980s. Some scholars label this the "double transitions" in Latin America.

(16) Haiti remained eligible for ODA, but as a fragile state along with Iraq and Afghanistan.

(17) The Canadian Human Security Program has several thematic foci: protection of civilians, peace operations, conflict prevention, governance and accountability, and public safety. "Democracy" is presented as a sub-theme under governance and accountability. < psh-en.asp>, accessed 1 September 2006.

(18) The other two priorities identified by DFAIT (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, 2008) are social and economic reconstruction and national reconciliation, and democratic development.

(19) This wording is no longer used on the CIDA site, but the priorities themselves remain the same.

(20) Although it cannot be taken for granted that the other Latin American countries involved necessarily see it in this light.

(21) Although debate continues to rage between John Williamson and other originators of the market reform policies that came to be known as the "Washington Consensus" and their critics (Stiglitz, for example) over what precisely those policies represent and whether they are justified or not, it is now widely admitted that their early implementation severely neglected or even misunderstood the role of the state: this is at least tacitly admitted by the World Bank in its 1997 World Development Report, The State in a Changing World.

(22) The first phase consisted of structural adjustment in its fundamentalist economic incarnation; the second phase was that of the expansion to political adjustment (good governance, democracy, human rights); and the third, perhaps, the integration of neoliberal economics with (human) security.
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Author:Thede, Nancy
Publication:Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:0LATI
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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