Brazil Says Only UN Should Be In Haiti For Long-Term

first_img But a US general, Douglas Fraser, would not specify Saturday how long US soldiers would remain in Haiti, saying it would depend on needs in the impoverished Caribbean nation. Only about 13,000 US troops remain in Haiti, compared to the 20,000 or more initially sent after the January 12 quake, which left more than 217,000 people dead. The Brazil-led UN mission in Haiti should be the sole operator there once the earthquake-ravaged nation gets past crisis mode, Brazil’s top envoy said in remarks published Wednesday that appeared to rule out a long-term US role. “It would be a mistake to think that the United States are resolving the Haitian crisis,” Amorim told Spain’s El Pais newspaper. In January, Brazil approved dispatching 900 more troops to Haiti, to supplement the ranks of the 7,000-strong UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti. The new troops add to the 1,200-plus Brazilian soldiers who were already part of the mission. center_img “The American forces help during an emergency situation, like all the others,” he added. By Dialogo February 18, 2010 “Once emergency work is finished, it’s best that UN forces are the only ones remaining on the ground,” said Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, referring to the United Nations mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH. last_img read more

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Peru rebels recruit kids to fight

first_imgBy Dialogo August 24, 2010 Peru’s leftist Shining Path guerrillas recruit children into their ranks, training them in armed combat and drug trafficking, an army general said on August 22. “They recruit children by force to indoctrinate them in their Shining Path schools. And they call them pioneers,” counterinsurgency chief for the southern Apurimac Valley region, General Leonel Cabrera, told reporters. He said a child fighter named Alcides was rescued recently during a military raid on a rebel camp in the area. Cabrera said the Shining Path faction involved in child recruitment is headed by Victor Quispe Palomino and two of his brothers, who have turned the rebel unit into “a family clan that operates like an extension of drug trafficking” groups. Peruvian human rights groups have been reporting the rebels’ child recruitment tactics to the United Nations since August 2009. Blamed for more than 70,000 deaths between 1980-2000, the Shining Path was almost destroyed during former president Alberto Fujimori’s tenure (1990-2000). In addition to their decades-long anti-government struggle, Cabrera told the Andina news agency, the remnants of the rebel group are now heavily involved in drug trafficking and illegal logging, especially along the Apurimac Valley region.last_img read more

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It’s All In The Numbers For Military World Games

first_imgBy Dialogo July 25, 2011 The 5th Military World Games in Rio de Janeiro ended with great numbers, both in the events and in their organization. According to organizers, 4174 military athletes from 110 countries competed in the event, which also featured 281 referees from around the world. All who competed hoped to win at least one of the disputed 1421 medals: 459 gold, 459 silver, and 503 bronze (the combat sports award two bronze medals per category). To receive and house all these athletes, organizers of the Military World Games also had to prepare on a grand scale. Three villages were built with a total of 1,036 rooms. The cafeterias served 257,832 meals. Additionally, the buses that were used to transport the delegations and members of the organization, made 400 trips a day to Rio de Janeiro, the second most populated city in Brazil. Numbers aside, the athletes were very appreciative with the effort that the hosts put forth. “I felt very good and capable of competing in the best conditions. I liked the way we were treated, both in the training venues and the food,” said Cesar Reyes of Peru, who competed in judo. “Our country is very large and, with these Military World Games, demonstrated that we can receive any grand event type of competition. We showed a sense organization that must be repeated for all the events that are to follow,” said Sergeant Anderson Rodrigues, of the Brazilian Army, who competed in volleyball. From now until 2016, when the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be held, Brazil will host the FIFA Confederations Cup (2013), the FIFA World Cup (2014), and the Copa America (2015). Hosts dominate the medal count Brazil topped the medal count with a total of 114 Brazilian athletes grabbing medals (45 gold, 33 silver and 36 bronze). The hosts outscored China, which came in second with 37 gold medals, 28 silver and 34 bronze. Another South American country that stood out was Chile, which won two gold medals, all on horseback. On Sunday, July 24, the last day of competition, the Chileans were crowned champions in Eventing category of Equestrian. Suriname, the smallest country in South America, managed to returned home with one medal – a bronze – won by Corporal Ronnie Jackson in taekwondo. “It was a historic moment for taekwondo in Suriname and also for our sport,” said Kenneth Slijngard Surinamese. 1. Brazil: 45 gold, 33 silver and 36 bronze 14. Chile: 2 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze 22. Venezuela: 1 gold, 3 silver and 6 bronze 30. United States: 1 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze 37. Ecuador: 1 gold 42. Dominican Republic: 1 silver and 2 bronze 47. Uruguay: 2 bronze 51. Argentina: 1 bronze 51. Suriname: 1 bronzelast_img read more

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Main Cocaine Supplier for Los Zetas is Captured

first_img In September, Marines in San Luis Potosí captured Iván Velásquez Caballero, alias “El Talibán” and “Z-50.” The most important incident took place on October 7, when a team of Marines killed Los Zetas kingpin Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, alias “The Executioner,” during a gun battle in Progreso, Coahuila. Argentinean authorities recently captured an alleged drug trafficker who was reportedly a key cocaine supplier for Los Zetas in Buenos Aires. The alleged drug trafficker used multiple identities to move about in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Uruguay. Official sources reported he usually traveled with bodyguards. According to the Colombian news daily, Argentinean security forces followed “Mi Sangre” after planting a sophisticated tracking device in one of his cars. At least 10 Los Zetas leaders have been captured or killed since 2009, authorities said. By Dialogo November 23, 2012 Carlos Ramírez Acosta, a security analyst and head of Prisma Consulting firm, based in Mexico City, said that cooperation between countries battling transnational criminal organizations is increasing. This has resulted in “a significant exchange of information at the intelligence level,” which contributes to the arrests of drug traffickers, the analyst added. “Mi Sangre” is wanted in Colombia and in the United States for cocaine trafficking. On October 30, Argentinean security forces arrested Henry de Jesús López Londo?o, a Colombian national who is also known as “Mi Sangre,” “Salvador,” and “Carlos Mario,” in a Buenos Aires supermarket, when he was with his wife and 10 bodyguards, according to news reports. Though the capture of “Mi Sangre” will hurt the cocaine trafficking operations of Los Zetas, it will not cripple it, according to Ramírez Acosta. The capture of “Mi Sangre” is a “temporary limitation,” the security analyst reflected, because the transnational criminal organization will turn to other suppliers. From the 1990s through 2005, “Mi Sangre” was a lieutenant to Colombian drug kingpin Diego Fernando Murillo, alias “Don Berna,” who in turn led Colombian drug cartel Oficina de Envigado. In 2005, “Don Berna” surrendered to Colombian authorities, while in 2008 he was extradited to the United States, where he plead guilty to cocaine trafficking charges and was sentenced to 31 years in prison. The transnational criminal organization has “suffered serious blows in the last months: loss of territory, capture or death of (its) regional leaders and internal fighting for the control of the organization,” according to a Mexican Military report titled “National Strategy against Organized Crime and its Impact on National Security.” For more than a decade, “Mi Sangre,” was one of the leaders of Los Urabe?os, a Colombian paramilitary group which engages in drug trafficking, said authorities, adding that he had met with Los Zetas operatives the day before his arrest. In October, Marines in Coahuila captured Salvador Alfonso Martínez Escobedo, alias “The Squirrel,” who is suspected of ordering the massacre of 72 migrants in Tamaulipas in August 2010. The capture of “Mi Sangre” is the latest in a series of blows against Los Zetas. In addition to killing The Executioner, the Mexican Armed Forces and Federal Police have captured several key Los Zetas operatives in recent months: According to Colombian daily El Tiempo, cooperation between security forces from Colombia, Argentina and the United States led to the arrest of “Mi Sangre.” Before his capture, he was the “main cocaine supplier” for Los Zetas, said General José Roberto León, the chief of Colombia’s National Police. In July, Marines in the city of Puebla captured William de Jesús Torres Solórzano, a.k.a. “The Worm Eater” and “El W,” who is suspected of being a key financial operator for Los Zetas. The Worm Eater was allegedly responsible for trafficking drugs from Guatemala to the United States, according to authorities.last_img read more

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Haitian Government Recognizes Ecuadorean Support of Reconstruction Efforts

first_imgBy Dialogo February 14, 2013 During a UN hosted event, attended by ambassadors from several countries, and which was celebrated in the Republic of Haiti to evaluate actions in the peace and reconstruction process to be carried out in the Caribbean nation, Haitian President Michel Martelly referred to the international cooperation received during this period, and praised the support provided by Ecuador for their efficient efforts to reconstruct roads, schools, households, health centers, and public spaces. The head of state also emphasized that “in spite of the shortage of resources, the work carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers through the Support Mission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (MAHREC Missions) had positive results, including the creation of jobs in that country, since unqualified manpower for the execution of work is of Haitian origin,” he said on February 7. For this reason, the Haitian president said that he would be pleased if Ecuador’s National Defense Minister and other authorities attended the inauguration of reconstruction work that has been carried out so far by the MAHREC contingent, whose members are from the Ecuadorean Army Corps of Engineers battalion. This event will be celebrated in early March 2013 in the city of Artibonite, where the “Ecuador” square, as well as the bust of Ecuadorean General Eloy Alfaro Delgado, Liberal Revolution leader, will be inaugurated.last_img read more

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Largest Quantity of Drugs for the Year Burned in Panama

first_img So far this year, Panamanian authorities have destroyed over 24 tons of drugs. The United Nations estimates that the sale of cocaine in the North American country equals about $35 billion out of the $85 billion in sale of these illicit substances around the world. Panamanian authorities destroyed more than eleven tons of drugs on June 21, the largest amount seized so far this year, the police reported. In a joint operation on June 18 in the Darién area that borders Colombia, the Panamanian police and Colombian Military destroyed 4,495 coca plants and a cocaine lab. The authorities burned 11 tons of cocaine, 388 kilos of marihuana, 5 kilos of heroin, and over 23 kilos of precursor drugs, according to an official report. By Dialogo June 25, 2013center_img It is estimated that 80% of the cocaine that goes through Central America coming from South America enters the United States. The largest seizures occurred in 2009 and 2010, with 54 tons each year. In total, 11.4 tons of drugs were destroyed in Cerro Patacón, the main garbage dump in the Panamanian capital, located on the outskirts of the city. The Panamanian authorities consider that there has been a decrease of drug smuggling through their waters as a result of law enforcement presence and Operation Martillo, a multinational counter drug effort launched by the United States and Central America in January 2012.last_img read more

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Salvadoran forensic criminologist Israel Ticas identifies victims buried in clandestine graves

first_img Brutal killings Progress in fighting violence Ticas began his law enforcement career in 1989, when he began working for the National Police as a sketch artist. Ticas does exceptional work under difficult circumstances, said Chilean criminalist Rodolfo Sáez, founder of the Criminalistics Institute of Chile. “Mr. Ticas’ work as forensic criminologist is outstanding, he uses the working system of archeology, in which all evidence which might be developed into evidence is carefully preserved and in turn reduces the chances of contamination at a crime scene,” Sáez said. “In this work he adds his professional engineering knowledge, obtaining incredible results in his works that allow us to speak of a unique art.” Since 2000, forensic criminologist Israel Ticas has brought a measure of relief to the families of 725 victims of homicide in his native El Salvador. Ticas works for the Attorney’ General’s office. Working closely with security forces, Ticas finds clandestine graves, exhumes bodies, and identifies the remains, which are often a collection of bones. He often uses DNA to identify the remains of bodies which have been buried for years. About 80 percent of the victims were women; many of them were victims of domestic violence. Overall, about half of all the victims he has identified were killed by gang members, Ticas said. Many were killed by members of the two major gangs in the country, Mara Salvatrucha, which is also known as MS-13, and Barrio 18. The bodies of the 725 victims Ticas has identified were returned to their families. Many relatives of victims spent years wondering what happened to their loved ones. Ticas’ work allowed them to grieve their deaths, and to arrange for proper burials. Ticas is the only forensic criminologist working for the Attorney General’s office. Wide recognition Ticas, who is known as “The Engineer” because he has a university degree in systems engineering, received international recognition in recent months thanks to a documentary film about his work. The documentary, “The Engineer,” directed by Mathew Charles, was released throughout the world in 2013 by Guerrilla Films. The movie shows Ticas at work, going to dangerous regions, exhuming bodies, and carefully examining the remains. Many of the women victims were tortured before they were killed, indicating their attacker was fueled by rage, Ticas said . Many of the female victims had been raped and had knives, bottles, poles, sticks and other objects forced into their bodies. One female victim had suffered 200 stab wounds Ticas said. Treating the dead with dignity Security forces and groups which advocate for the rights of women are working cooperatively to protect women. In 2011, 647 women were killed and 412 were reported missing, according to the National Police. Most of the female victims he has found were young, age 15 or even younger, Ticas said. “The degree of violence inflicted upon them is way higher than men,” Ticas said. A public education campaign against violence against women has helped reduce the violence dramatically. The National Police and two women’s groups, Salvadoran Women Organization (ORMUSA) and the Institute of Women Studies (CEMUJER), are collaborating on the initiative. In 2012, there were 320 killings of women in the country, authorities said. That number dropped to 210 killings in 2013 Ima Guirola, a founder of CEMUJER, holds Ticas in high regard. “We have a great admiration for The Engineer,” Guirola said. Charles was not prepared for the gang culture of violence he saw in El Salvador. “I was truly shocked by what we saw in El Salvador,” Charles said. “I was most struck by the apparent lack of respect for human life, even one’s own life. So many children were simply prepared to die for their gang, for what they call ‘the cause’. This was so upsetting – that they felt they had no other purpose other than to fight and ultimately to die.” As upset as he was by gang violence, Charles was equally impressed by Ticas. “Israel Ticas is an amazing person. He is a true hero for the hundreds of mothers and other relatives searching for their loved ones,” Charles said. “It was an honor and a privilege to meet someone like him and to be able to document his good work.” An ‘outstanding’ criminologistcenter_img For Ticas, finding and identifying the remains of homicide victims is not just a job – it’s a mission. “It is an honor to serve my community through the Attorney General’s office,” he tweeted in October 2013. “I will always risk all, even my life, to complete my mission.” For each body he examines, Ticas said, he hopes to find each of the 206 bones in the human body. He wears a Tyvek suit and rubber gloves as he examines remains at clandestine graves, often in remote areas. Sometimes, the light from his cellphone provides the only illumination. He found some bodies buried nearly 200 feet below ground level. He found other bodies dumped inside water wells. Working to protect women Gang brutality Ticas takes great care with the remains he exhumes and examines. He even talks to the remains, providing words of comfort. Ticas believes the remains of the victims deserve dignity. He has placed photos of hundreds of homicide victims on the walls of his office. Some of the photos depict people who were tortured and mutilated beyond recognition. “Dead people do not scare me, they are my friends, they are part of my daily life,” Ticas said. Though he is always professional, Ticas at times is overcome by emotion as he confronts the remains of victims of violence. “On one occasion I broke down for several weeks when I found several young children decapitated.,” Ticas said. In recent weeks, Ticas walked through a forest on a mountain for more than an hour, carrying the body of a young man who had been cut into seven pieces. Ticas placed the remains in a labeled plastic bag and carried the remains on his shoulders for six miles. He eventually identified the remains and provided them to the family of the victim. “For me it was not sacrifice to bear the remains of this young man, I helped both to retrieve him and to bring him closer to his mother who will be able to give him a holy burial,” Ticas said. By Dialogo January 18, 2014 Many victims, both men and women, had been beheaded. A mission to help the families of homicide victims El Salvador has a population of about 6.3 million people. The country recorded 69 killings per 100,000 residents in 2012, the second-highest per capita rate of killing in the world, according to published reports. But thanks to the efforts of security forces, and a reported truce between MS-13 and Barrio 18, the rate of violence decreased dramatically in recent years. Security officials estimate that as many as 20,000 gang members operate in El Salvador. The number of killings in the country decreased by 41 percent in 2012 compared to 2011, according to the National Police. THE SAME THING HAPPENED IN MY COUNTRY, PERU, MANY YEARS AGO. BUT THESE CRIMES WERE COMMITTED BY TERRORISM, PEOPLE WOULDN’T LEAVE THEIR HOUSES AFTER 18:00 HOURS, FEARING AN ATTACK IF THEY TOOK THE BUS. THERE WERE SO MANY DAILY CASUALTIES THAT IT WAS ON THE NEWS EVERY DAY, TO THE POINT WHERE IT BECAME NORMAL TO ALWAYS SEE DEAD PEOPLE, AND WHEN THERE WEREN’T ANY, THEY WEREN’T NEWS. BUT THANK GOD THIS IS ALMOST OVER. In terms of politicians and violence, El Salvador is getting worse everyday.After the doubtful results of the recent elections, Salvador Sanchez Ceren came out as winner and he’s a former guerrilla member, self-proclaimed assassin even of his own fellow fighters.His predecessor and current president, due to his incapacity to contain crime, made a pact with the Gangs, granting privileges to each one of their incarcerated leaders, to the point of occasionally allowing them to get out. Current president Funes forced his government to make a pact with the gangs, by allowing them to have municipalities or cities as sanctuaries, where they would not be persecuted in exchange for not committing crimes.In view of the truce which is a political farce even to the public officials of Funes, the public crimes turned into disappearances. The gangs didn’t stop killing. They changed their modus operandi to kidnapping, dismemberment and death, for which they also had to find rural areas where to bury their victims. Often, they are found in clandestine cemeteries in communal graves, where “The Engineer” has a lot of work, since ironically he is the “only one” that can do that job. What an ugly picture This gentleman is a hero, may God protect him forever. Violence has certainly reached alarming numbers in El Salvador. During the political campaign, the opposition accused the government of lack of transparency while handling the agreed truce between the largest gangs in the country. They are possibly right about that, but they cannot deny that the results were positive since death rates decreased from 14 to 8 daily victims during 2012 and part of 2013, which is something that the opposition never managed to achieve in their 20 years of ruling.The work of Eng. Ticas as well as the guy in legal medicine is astonishing and, as the writer said, comforting for the families of the deceased victims. I HAVE GREAT ADMIRATION FOR ENGINEER TICAS. WE HAVE WORKED TOGETHER IN SOME CRIME SCENES AND THEIR KNOWLEDGE IS EXTENSIVE, I ESPECIALLY ADMIRE THEIR HUMILITY. Looking towards the future, two is more than one. A modernized team without sexual segregation paradigms would be honoring martyrs like my grandmother, my mother, my wife, my granddaughter and other anonymous ladies who will continue contributing.A strategic, unconditional leadership means getting ahead of the future. There should have never been a hunger for bread, inequality among the residents of the Andes and the forest, and also welfare (as a way of life) that only reaches to the capital and its miserable surroundings, and in that terror watch civilians and soldiers coming from the deep Peru. All the governor’s friends are full of with poorly distributed money (loot). Indeed it is happening as the commentator that preceded me said, but you need to notice that the moral and monetary exploitation has been legalized. One has to look at the protectionism of those who save, of those who contribute for retirement, and God save the poor guy with loans (banks with white money), the SBS insults the poor and even believes that everything is fine, but they market it wrongfully. Don’t you think that this is related to the new and ferocious form of terror, extortion, hired assassinations, drug trafficking, government embezzlement, and the execution of projects at their minimum expression? It’s better if people even don’t think, just applaud. Let’s see what happens within five years. Mr. Ticas is doing an excellent job. I like this report. I am yet another Salvadorian who left trying to escape the war in the 80’s. I have a missing sister in my dear country. I live in Guatemala. Ricas is doing an excellent job. I had the opportunity to meet him and he’s a kind and quiet person. I’m glad things are working out for him. Many blessings for my friend Ricas, may he keep going forward. Excellent work and very accurate for these times. May God continue providing them wisdom. This man is someone who deserves a lot of respect, because he looks out for the dignity of the human being even while dead, and kills the anguish of all those families that thought they’d never see their loved ones again. Even in heaven, he will be remembered by those souls that were one day forgotten. Excellent work, keep it up… Excellent His efforts are amazing. I give my respects to this Salvadorian brother who gives his all; providing comfort to the families of victims shows that fiscal medicine is still reliable, since some authorities do not comply with it, being human beings. This Mr. Tica is a Godsend. May he continue this way for the sake of many families who need his gift. Extraordinary, out of this world!!!! Excellent work of my Salvadorian countryman. He has done plenty in this area. Blessings to my Guatemalan brothers. I admire the work that Ticas has been doing. People like him are hard to find. Keep it up. It’s very important to rely on this person, Mr. Iran, not only as a professional criminalist but as a human being. For the many times he had to identify a body and gave some peace to the families! This man is so admirable and he’s so handsome I ask you, how many academic degrees do you have? It’s clear you know a lot.Congratulations A model of a man, that’s all I have to say. I would like you to give me the name of the documentary that was made about his work.last_img read more

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Colombian Navy, Air Force Work Together to Combat Drug Trafficking

first_imgBy Marian Romero/Diálogo August 09, 2016 Joint operations run by Colombia’s Navy and Air Force (FAC, for its Spanish acronym) have become an effective in shutting down drug trafficking routes. In just two operations in June, authorities seized more than a metric ton of cocaine hydrochloride in different areas of Colombia’s territorial waters in the Caribbean. Colombian Navy intelligence, together with information from U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) allowed Coast Guard stations in the cities of Santa Marta and Cartagena to interdict the vessels in one operation. However, in both instances, the FAC’s 3rd Combat Air Command guided the Navy’s rapid response units from the air. “Partnering with the FAC has been very beneficial because it provides intelligence from the air that would be slower and less precise from the water. The surveillance area that an aircraft can cover is 10 times larger than that of a ship. It also provides the exact coordinates of the suspicious vessel’s location, which makes for more efficient interdictions,” said Admiral Leonardo Santamaría, commander of the Colombian Navy. Adm. Santamaria explained that the armed forces of all affected countries have had to work together in the fight against international drug trafficking in order to comprehensively manage the situation and prevent the so-called balloon effect – in which the air within a latex balloon that is squeezed moves to a different area but never goes away – with crop eradication and drug trafficking suppression in Latin America. So far this year, the joint operations between the Navy and the FAC have resulted in the immobilization of nine vessels. This contributed to the Navy seizing a total of 72 metric tons of alkaloids to date in all of its operations, with and without the support of other institutions. FAC Support Because Colombia’s coasts front both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the immense maritime space under the responsibility of the Navy led to the need for the partnership. The Colombian Navy and the FAC first began working together on naval interdiction operations in 2007. Since then, the collaboration has grown stronger. Although the success of the joint collaboration is not evident in the number of detained vessels each year due to current data not yet showing a specific trend, the communication methodology and logistics make this partnership an important strategy to combat drug trafficking. “The illegal use of airspace to traffic drugs has dropped by 99 percent, so a decision was made to include missions against illegal maritime traffic as one of the points of the FAC’s doctrine,” explained Colonel Iván Darío Bocanegra, director of FAC Air Defense. “This change has optimized our airspace use and allowed us to increase our use of the means and resources available to carry out national defense operations.” The Air Bridge Denial Agreement between the FAC and the U.S. Government concerning illicit air trafficking interdiction took effect in 2003. Known as the ABD Agreement, it allowed authorities to track and analyze aerial targets, disable illegal airstrips used by drug traffickers, among other strategies, which, in turn, led to the almost 100 percent elimination of airborne drug trafficking. With this positive outcome, the agreement was expanded in 2007 to include FAC air resources in support of suppressing illegal maritime trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, known as SSIMT. Naval interdiction is the process of boarding, inspecting, and searching a vessel suspected of engaging in illegal activity. If the suspicion is confirmed, the people on board the vessel are arrested and the illegal cargo is seized. The Colombian Navy is responsible for this part of the operation. The intelligence work is carried out by the Navy, although it can also be performed by the police or U.S. Southern Command. Based on that information, the FAC flies over a specific section of the ocean to find the illegal vessel from the air, whether it is a go-fast boat or a semi-submersible. Once the target has been sighted, the pilot relays the exact coordinates and acts as a guide for a Navy vessel to perform the interdiction. “The operations are performed as discreetly as possible. We fly high enough that we generate no noise that could alert the criminals. Usually, when they feel cornered, they throw the merchandise overboard to reduce their sentence,” Col. Bocanegra explained. “The success of the SSIMT operations lies in the communication between all armed forces involved and in the coordination orchestrated by the Colombian Navy.” Patrolling Both Oceans “Historically, drugs have primarily been trafficked by sea. Outlaws have preferred to travel by sea, even though it takes much longer than an aircraft, because it allows them to carry more weight at less cost,” Adm. Santamaría said. “A go-fast boat can be loaded down with 1.5 metric tons and a semi-submersible with 6 metric tons, but an airplane can only carry a few kilograms. That is why most of the problems occur at sea.” The Colombian Air Force is not the only organization patrolling the vast maritime space. It also has the support of all Central American countries and of the United States. Defense accords focused on combating drug trafficking have made it possible to achieve more effective control. The challenge for these operations is to continue to standardize doctrine and provide training as needed to task forces to carry out increasingly precise interdictions as well as to reduce the amount of drugs trafficked by sea. “With the momentum of the accords we have been implementing for several years now, we’ve set up effective fronts for neutralizing the criminals’ vessels. We have created doctrinal unity and a network of resources has been set up to tactically detect enemies,” Adm. Santamaría said. “Each interdiction operation draws on the resources available along the illegal vessel’s route. It could be an aircraft from one country, a boat or ship from another and so on, until the final mission is completed.”last_img read more

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First Woman to Lead Chilean Army Demining Company

first_imgBy Guillermo Saavedra / Diálogo February 11, 2020 Perhaps Chilean Army Captain Gabriela Valdivia had an atypical military career path: she said she didn’t have any close relatives in the Armed Forces, and her first vocation was astronomy. But her interest in judo, a sport she chose during her studies at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, in Santiago, brought her each time closer to her military colleagues.“The professor invited me to train with the Army’s judo team. I began to get familiar with service members of different ranks and to train with them,” says Capt. Valdivia, 39. “I thought I could become a service member. So, without my family knowing, I submitted my application and they accepted me.”Her change of heart also had to do with the conditions in which most astronomers work: long hours confined inside an office, while Capt. Valdivia dreamed of working in the open air. She never imagined that after 15 years as an engineer in the military she would start working outdoors and become a pioneer in the Army as the first woman to lead a demining company.“Although there have been women in the company, it’s the first time a woman assumes the role of commander. I’m honored that they give me this mission,” said Capt. Valdivia, who leads the Humanitarian Demining Company 4th Motor Brigade Rancagua. Since May 2018, the officer serves as a commander in the Quebrada Escritos area of Arica city, among other areas, in northern Chile, 12 miles from the Peruvian border. Capt. Valdivia leads more than 100 service members and civilians in a demining effort that covers an area of more than 93,000 square-miles, where, according to the officer, about 4,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines remain.Her duties entail a great deal of responsibilities: updating and checking the minefields’ maps, as well as leading and verifying mine clearance, and making sure that members of her brigade are mentally and physically up to the task. Physical exhaustion and a lack of focus are dangers that might cause accidents, the officer says.“If one of your company members has an accident, if someone fails, it’s my responsibility. You need to know how to manage enormous pressure,” Capt. Valdivia says.“Planning and risk assessment, coupled with empathy and teamwork capabilities, are the main traits that make Capt. Valdivia one of the many leaders that we have in the Chilean Army,” Lieutenant Colonel Cristián Sarah, Chilean Army’s chief of Communications, told Diálogo.In the 1970s, the government of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) planted about 180,000 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines in Chilean territory, along the borders with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. In 2002, Chile signed the Ottawa Treaty, also known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.In early 2019, the Chilean government began to implement a system of reparations — financial and medical assistance and rehabilitation — for the victims of anti-personnel mines. According to the government, as of January 2020, about 150 people were severely injured, and 46 had died from explosions.As of mid-January 2020, 94 percent of the mines planted in Chilean territory have been removed, says Capt. Valdivia. The officer expects that the country will successfully honor its promise to conclude the demining process in March.last_img read more

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Ecuador’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

first_imgBy Yuri Hernandez March 31, 2020 The number of coronavirus cases in Ecuador continues to increase with nearly 2,000 cases as of late March and nearly 30 deaths.President Lenín Moreno decreed a state of emergency throughout the country on March 16, and established a curfew from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. to contain the expansion of the coronavirus. “I have decreed a state of emergency in the country, which is why public services are closed, except for health, safety, risk care, and those that the authorities decide to keep open due to emergencies,” Moreno said in a televised national message. “Stay at home, work from home,” urged Moreno.According to Moreno, humanity is facing “a war” and that in this fight, he will “do everything possible and even impossible” to protect Ecuadoreans. The president announced that “the mobility of people and vehicles will be limited to the following activities: buying food, basic needs, and pharmaceutical products; attending health centers; moving to the workplace and going back home and caring for the elderly or disabled.”A soldier stands guard at Carondelet Presidential Palace in Quito on March 25, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Rodrigo Buendia / AFP)In addition to these measures, passenger transport between the provinces will be suspended for 14 days, as well as the movement of private cars, except in the case of those vehicles that are authorized to do so.Military responseAccording to a March 25 article by Ecuadorean daily El Universo, “The Ecuadorean Armed Forces are reinforcing operations on the northern border with a ‘Hypo-Mobile’ team that travels through sectors of the border with Colombia.” The mission of this team on horseback, during this period of emergency due to the coronavirus, is to prevent human trafficking and contraband that flows through 37 unrecognized binational areas that were identified a few weeks ago by the armies of both countries.El Universo also reported that Army Colonel Franklin Pico, commander of the Andes Brigade, based in Tulcán, explained that these tasks are related to shielding the borders and blocking unauthorized crossings while the health emergency lasts. The regional commanders of the cantonized armies in Carchi and Nari?o in Colombia agree that they seek to mitigate the risk of contagion from the virus among the border population, which could be carried by foreigners who enter irregularly without complying with sanitary protocols, are asymptomatic, or have the virus.After President Moreno declared the province of Guayas as a “national security zone,” CNN en espa?ol reported on March 24 that the Governor of Guayas, Pedro Pablo Duart, and authorities of the Armed Forces and the Police have released details about a Joint Task Force that will operate in that province, which is the most affected by the coronavirus. The Joint Task Force foresees the presence on the streets of 3,300 uniformed personnel, comprised of the police force and military units, in about 300 vehicles. Controls will be more intense in four cantons: Guayaquil, Durán, Samborondón, and Daule.The chief of staff of the Navy, Vice Admiral Amílcar Villavicencio, said that “By reason or force, we will save people’s lives,” emphasizing that they must act in Guayas in the face of the accelerated expansion of the coronavirus. Vice Adm. Villavicencio added that the Joint Task Force involves the participation of all the security forces in Guayas to prevent the spread of the virus.last_img read more

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