Pvt. Kléber da Silva Santos, 1987 - 2010
Third Sergeant Kléber da Silva Santos, a national of Brazil, served with the Brazilian Army and was deployed to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). At the time of the earthquake, he was patrolling the Presidential Palace with another colleague.
Kléber had joined the 2nd Battalion Light Infantry Martin Afonso, São Vicente, at the age of 18.
A friend said he hoped Kléber’s courage would serve as an example to those who are working in Haiti. His friends described him as a warrior who dedicated his work and his life to peace, adding that working for the Army and participating in the mission to Haiti were his dream.
“It is very difficult to lose a comrade like this,” said a former colleague.
A ceremony was held on 22 January at the Brasilia Air Base to honour Kléber and his fallen colleagues, which was attended by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and First Lady Marisa Letícia. President Lula called their work with MINUSTAH “the noblest humanitarian mission ever carried out by the Brazilian Armed Forces.”
Kléber and his colleagues posthumously received a promotion and the Peacemaker Medal from their country for outstanding acts of courage and bravery under lifethreatening circumstances.
Prior to his funeral at the Cathedral of Santos, the funeral procession passed in front of the headquarters of the battalion in which he had served. More than 200 people were present to honour him, and dozens wore a shirt with a picture of Kléber and the phrase: “Haiti: More than a mission, an act of solidarity.”
He had been scheduled to return to Litoral Paulista on 24 January 2010 where, a friend said, “He planned to go back, get married and have a family.”
Kléber is survived by his parents Joseph Bispo and Salvadora Aparecida.