A Region Responds to a Nation in Need

first_img Latin America and the Caribbean reacted immediately to the crisis in Haiti with an outpouring of aid to Haitian and foreign victims of the quake, many of whom were from the Americas. The region is sadly too familiar with the devastating effects of earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. These natural disasters, which span national boundaries to affect neighboring countries, destroy the lives and the livelihoods of thousands of people each year and hamper the future development of an entire region. The shared commitment to save lives and provide disaster relief to the poorest country in the Americas brought together the nations of the Caribbean, Central America, South America and the United States. Sending aid to the earthquake victims in Haiti became a common cause, a mission of unity that spanned continents in a large-scale humanitarian assistance operation of unprecedented proportions. In addition to the current disaster relief efforts to assist Haiti, several countries in the Western Hemisphere have made longstanding commitments to the beleaguered Caribbean nation. The United States had been an active partner with Haiti long before the tragic quake, responding to the country’s needs through the U.S. Agency for International Development. The U.S. military supported disaster relief missions in 2008 after a series of storms hit Haiti, and U.S. forces are once again providing humanitarian assistance to Haiti through Operation Unified Response. Several Latin American countries are also involved in the development and security of Haiti, working alongside the Haitian government and the United Nations mission in the country, MINUSTAH, established in 2004 and with staff from 47 nations. MINUSTAH includes forces from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Brazil leads the military command of the mission with a contingent of more than 1,900 troops. Venezuela and Cuba have also made contributions to the Haitian earthquake relief effort. The following is a summary of relief contributions to Haiti from the Caribbean, Central America, South America and the United States, with personal accounts of losses suffered, aid provided and efforts undertaken to restore hope for the Haitian people. By Dialogo April 01, 2010last_img read more

Panama Connected To Colombian Intelligence In Order To Fight Crime: Martinelli

first_imgBy Dialogo May 14, 2010 Panamanian police forces have obtained access to the database of the Colombian intelligence service DAS in order to monitor the entry of Colombians into Panama and control crime, Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli declared. “We’re now connected to the DAS (secret service) database in Colombia. I told the (Colombian) ambassador (in Panama, Gina Benedetti), ‘Look, ma’am, either you let us connect, or I’m going to have to impose visa requirements on Colombians,’ and now they’ve given it to us,” Martinelli declared in an interview with the Telemetro television network. The connection will provide “access to the database of everyone who has committed a crime in Colombia” and will enable immigration agents to detect them when they try to enter Panama, Martinelli said. In recent weeks three corpses cut into pieces have been found in Panama, which the authorities attribute to a struggle for control of the drug routes from Colombia to North America, leading Martinelli to announce a new “war without quarter” against organized crime. In Panama there are “whole families dedicated to laundering money,” and the police are “infiltrated by drug-trafficking elements,” Martinelli affirmed. He also said that he hoped that “the democratic forces in Colombia are not dismantled and the forces of evil do not start to prosper” as a result of the upcoming Colombian elections, in an apparent allusion to his desire that the next president maintain incumbent Álvaro Uribe’s actions against organized crime.last_img read more

Colombia’s Santos Comes To Power Very Popular Poll

first_imgBy Dialogo August 06, 2010 Colombia’s President-elect Juan Manuel Santos will take over the Andean nation’s highest office more popular than the incumbent leader credited with a dramatic fall in violence, an opinion poll showed on Friday. Colombia is much safer than when outgoing leader Alvaro Uribe took power in 2002, thanks to his U.S.-backed offensive against leftist guerrillas. His success against rebels and drug lords kept him popular and brought an uptick in investment. Santos — who takes office on August 7 and heads Uribe’s ‘U’ Party — will become president with 76 percent of Colombians rating him as favorable — one percentage point above his predecessor and Colombia’s most popular leader in history. “We’re in the honeymoon phase because when there’s a change of government and a well-received government ends, that generates a lot of optimism in people,” said Jorge Londono, head of Gallup, which published its poll in local media. Former Defense Minister Santos — who won the most votes in Colombia’s history in June — has broadly pledged to keep up the security and pro-business policies of Uribe and has benefited from the president’s strong rural support. When Uribe came to power for the first of his two terms, Marxist guerrillas controlled large swathes of territory and could carry out attacks in major cities — including a strike on the presidential palace in 2002. But eight years later, the rebels are hemmed in to remote, rural areas of Latin America’s No. 4 oil producer — and that has opened up new parts of the country to increased economic activity, improved Colombia’s image and kept Uribe popular. The Gallup poll — which interviewed 1,200 people across five big cities from July 16-24 — found 52 percent said the country was getting better, versus 41 percent who said the same in February this year. As Uribe prepares to step down, 80 percent of Colombians approve of the job he is doing. Speculation is rife about his political future post-presidency. Half of Colombians said the country would continue getting better at the start of Santos’ administration. Santos will inherit a feud with Caracas — which has hurt trade worth billions of dollars a year — over accusations by Uribe’s government that Venezuela harbors Colombian guerrillas — charges that saw President Hugo Chavez break ties.last_img read more

Brazil, UK Sign Cooperation Agreement

first_imgBy Dialogo September 22, 2010 Very interesting and predictable, since Brazil has always been a client of British naval war material. but for the current situation is too little; because for the Brazilian navy to do its mission it needs to quadruple the above mentioned resources. Following Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva’s attempts at consolidating the country’s defense system through his National Defense Strategy started in 2008, the South American giant has now signed a cooperation agreement with the United Kingdom’s largest defense contractor, BAE Systems. Known as the BAE deal, the multi-billion dollar contract will supply vessels to the Brazilian Navy, opening the gateway to Brazil’s further strengthening of its defense technology and equipment, said Infodefensa.com, a news source covering defense and security topics. The agreement, according to Reuters, will include six patrol boats – costing between 93 and 120 million dollars each – and five or six Type-26 frigates. The patrol boats will more likely be used in general maritime security and search-and-rescue operations, as well as for surveillance and deterrence around the Brazilian offshore oil fields. In addition, BAE Systems, was also adjudicated a contract to maintain and upgrade the vessels over the next 20 to 30 years. Part of President Lula’s Defense Strategy included an objective to protect its enormous territory and the rich oil reserves off the Brazilian coasts, said Infodefensa.com. Another objective of the Strategy included generating jobs through the creation of local factories for military equipment. Brazil has already purchased four Scorpène-class diesel-electric attack submarines from France and is building a shipyard in Rio de Janeiro to develop and market its own similar models.last_img read more

Brazil Donates Three Tucano Advanced Trainers to Paraguay

first_imgBy Dialogo January 04, 2011 The aircraft’s name is T-27 and not Tucano 727, and the picture shows an A-29B Super Tucano, which is an improved version of the T-27 Tucano aircraft. Brazil has turned over three Tucano 727 planes for advanced pilot training to the Paraguayan Air Force and has received in exchange four Xavantes planes out of service since 2007 and an old Boeing 707. The country’s president, Fernando Lugo, participated in the ceremony. “The Tucanos aren’t new, they’re refurbished, but they’ll serve for combat practice by our pilots,” Brig. Gen. Miguel Christ Jacbos, commandant of the Air Force, explained at a press conference. The planes, he affirmed, are unarmed for that reason and can carry two people, the pilot and the student. The Paraguayan officer explained that “legally, the Tucanos are a donation from the Brazilian government, by means of a law approved by the Congress, but in exchange, the Paraguayan state formally donated the 1967-model Boeing 707 to Brazil.” The aircraft’s empty weight is 1810 kg, and its maximum weight is 3175 kg. The wingspan is 11.14 m. The military cooperation includes technical advice and logistics, among other things, according to information provided by the Armed Forces Communication Directorate. The Boeing 707 made its last flight in 2005, carrying the Paraguayan soccer team to Quito to compete in a match in the elimination rounds for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. It was the last survivor of the fleet of the extinct Paraguayan airline Líneas Aéreas Paraguayas (LAP), sold to the Ecuadorean airline Cielos de América for thirty million dollars in 1991. The Paraguayan president received the three military planes during an event held at the “Silvio Pettirossi” Base of the First Air Brigade, better known as the Air Tactical Group, located in the city of Luque. The head of state viewed the planes and climbed up on a wing, where he received technical explanations from one of the Paraguayan pilots. Other participants in the ceremony were the Brazilian ambassador, Eduardo Dos Santos, and the head of the Brazilian Air Force General Staff, Manuel Sandín de Rezende.last_img read more

President-elect Michel Martelly Promises “A New Era” in Haiti

first_img On 5 April, Michel Martelly promised the arrival of “a new era” in Haiti, the day after his victory in the presidential election, but his rival, Mirlande Manigat, said that she was “indignant” about the result of the balloting. “People of Haiti, a new era has begun,” the 50-year-old former pop singer declared during his first press conference as president-elect. “I’m proud of having been called to serve my country. I, the bad boy, have received your trust.” “You’ve decided to entrust me with the country, in order to bring it to a safe harbor, to leave aside the old demons and the old quarrels of Haitian politics in order to lead the country in a different way. I want to work with everyone; I’m the president of all Haitians, without exceptions,” he insisted. Michel Martelly, much better known until recently by his stage name of “Sweet Micky,” won the presidential election with 67.57% of the vote, compared to 31.74% for his rival, academic Mirlande Manigat, according to preliminary results from the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), announced on the evening of 4 April. “I love my country, I love Haiti, but I’m legitimately indignant,” Manigat affirmed from her campaign office, although she did not clearly say whether she is going to contest the results. “I will keep fighting,” promised the former first lady, who complained of electoral paralysis. The CEP announced last week that the voting on 20 March was tarnished by fraud and that hundreds of returns submitted by various polling places had been annulled. Definitive results will be announced only on 16 April, following a period during which both candidates may submit appeals, as Martelly did after the first round on 28 November. In a historical irony, the singer had been relegated to third place, behind the ruling-party candidate, Jude Célestin. His supporters held violent demonstrations throughout the country before the Electoral Council approved him to go on to the second round. The international community expressed its satisfaction with the conduct of the second round, which contrasted with the chaos of the first. The United States greeted “the people of Haiti” as they “move forward to rebuild their country,” while France paid homage to “the patience and maturity of the Haitian people, who clearly showed their respect for the electoral process.” The European Union also welcomed the results: “This is an important step (…) and should lead to greater political stability,” said the chief EU diplomat, Catherine Ashton, who is from Great Britain. “The European Union will continue to support Haiti in its endeavors to promote democracy and the rule of law and further the process of reconstruction,” she added. As René Preval’s successor, Martelly will head a government reduced in size following the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010, without a majority in Parliament, and threatened by instability because of the return of exiled former presidents Jean Bertrand Aristide and Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier. “The fact that there’s no majority in Parliament could give Martelly the possibility of maneuvering as he likes,” AFP was told by Robert Fatton, a professor of political science at the University of Virginia (in the eastern United States) and a specialist in Haiti. “The problem is that we don’t have any idea of his capacity to confront this kind of political challenge,” he added. “We don’t have any precedents. This guy is totally new, and his party is almost non-existent in terms of representation in Parliament.” “His first priority is forming a government. After that, he will need to manage all Haiti’s problems: reconstruction, displaced populations, security.” The current president, René Preval, will turn over power to Martelly on 14 May, since his presidential term, which was to end in February, was extended by Parliament because of the electoral uncertainty. By Dialogo April 11, 2011last_img read more

USS Nicholas, Coast Guard Team Intercept Drug Shipment Worth More Than $6 Million

first_img Guided-missile frigate USS Nicholas (FFG 47) with an embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment Team (LEDET) employed airborne use of force (AUF) to stop a vessel suspected of transporting illegal drugs, June 19, in support of Operation Martillo. The interdiction operation recovered 275 pounds of marijuana and 500 pounds of cocaine, a combined wholesale value of more than $6 million. “This interdiction is a clear example of our commitment to produce a safer and more secure region where criminal organizations no longer wield the power to destabilize governments,” said Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F). “These organizations threaten national and regional security and public safety, so we need to prevent the entry and spread of illicit drugs, violence, and transnational threats to countries throughout the region and to the United States.” A U.S. Navy P-3 Orion initially detected the speedboat. The drug traffickers then began to jettison the contraband when the P-3 turned over tracking of the speedboat to Nicholas while USCG District Eleven assumed control of the interdiction effort. An embarked SH-60 helicopter was launched with an AUF gunner on board to intercept the speedboat and mark the debris field with a smoke float. In an attempt to get the vessel to stop, the gunner fired warning shots across the bow and aft of the speedboat. When the vessel did not stop, the gunner fired disabling rounds, bringing the speedboat to a stop. Nicholas then launched a rigid-hull inflatable boat with Coast Guardsmen from the LEDET and seized the speedboat. “More than 80 percent of the narcotics entering Central America and largely transiting through Mexico on their way to U.S. markets enter via maritime littoral routes, with the main conveyance being “go-fast” boats,” said Harris. “By teaming up with our partner nations and allied forces to scrutinize the littorals, we will deny transnational organized crime networks these routes.” Operation Martillo (Spanish for ‘hammer’) is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. This joint service, interagency, and multinational operation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a National Task Force charged with detection, monitoring, and supporting the interdiction of illicit trafficking in a 42 million square mile area primarily in the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of operations. Operation Martillo is a component of the U.S. government’s coordinated interagency regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative. COMUSNAVSO/C4F supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions. By Dialogo July 05, 2012 Good feature story, but unfortunately it does not specify the area off the coast of what country. They only mention Central America. The naval forces of some countries of Central America have boats donated by the United States, with the exception of Guatemala which still has old patrol boats, that usually are kept in repair. What is the problem against Guatemala? The internal armed conflict is over, so?last_img read more

Information Operations Part III: The Colombian Case

first_imgBy Dialogo July 24, 2012 (Continued from Part II) The Colombian Military, taking the U.S. Military’s Information Operations doctrine as a point of reference, along with its extensive experience in using these capabilities in combating internal threats, developed a document of its own, known as the “Doctrine of Integrated Action,” in which the objectives and strategic lines of Integrated Action in Colombia are established. Accordingly, Integrated Action “seeks to support the effort to consolidate territorial control and the legitimacy of the state and strengthen interagency and interinstitutional coordination in order to attain security and peace as a common good, in a scenario of victory as an irreversible process,” in the words of the “General Instructions on the Doctrine of Integrated Action” issued by the Armed Forces General Command. In the same way, the doctrine of Integrated Action establishes three strategic lines under which the different operations are carried out: General Integrated Action: has a general objective to support Military operations and assist “in strengthening legitimacy, by armoring and strengthening the Military’s institutional image, collaborating in breaking the Irregular Armed Groups’ will to fight, and facilitating their demobilization.” Coordinated Integrated Action: assists in the social recovery of territory, well-being, and the sustainable peace that the nation needs, through the use of Civil Affairs, Government Affairs, Indigenous Affairs, and the Professional Reserve Officers Command by the Military commander and other legal representatives of the state and organized civil society. Resolutory Integrated Action: “seeks the development and the ongoing and simultaneous coordination of political, economic, social, and Military actions directed toward strengthening the state’s basic structures by guaranteeing the defense and protection of human rights, the observance of international humanitarian law, and social freedoms.” Resolutory Integrated Action is intimately connected to the National Policy of Territorial Consolidation, especially during the phases of recovery and transition of territory, during which the presence of the Military and the National Police is fundamental to the entry of other state institutions, with the interagency process as its fundamental axis. Along these lines, the Information Operations Planning Directorate (DIPOI), assigned to the Joint Integrated Action Bureau of the Colombian Armed Forces General Command, has the objective to obtain the population’s trust by assisting in the defeat of Irregular Armed Groups (GAML) and promoting their demobilization. Considering this fact, the Army’s Integrated Action Directorate recently created an Information Operations Section, made up of a multi-disciplinary team, the purpose of which is to plan, design, and execute strategies to neutralize actions against institutional legitimacy by the GAML. The section seeks to support the Army’s efforts throughout the country, by developing information strategies specifically directed at combating 4th Generation Warfare, which encompasses the fields of ideology, politics, cybernetics, mass mobilization, intelligence, and the legal system, among others. These multi-dimensional characteristics are transforming the Military’s instruction and training, in order to have better tools to confront an enemy who, in the majority of cases, is intangible, and who manages information as he pleases, with the aim of obtaining the support of the masses. In addition to the media, multimedia, audiovisual, broadcast tools and press releases, among others, are also relevant. The coordination and unification of clear and specific messages by means of these different channels is what makes it possible to counteract the impact of the GAML on the Colombian population. Along these lines, the neutralization of 21st-century threats outlines a future full of challenges for IO, and their evolution goes hand in hand with the projection of scenarios, the construction of long-term strategies, and the development of cooperation opportunities in order to defeat the enemy and consolidate the country as a regional pioneer in this area. To the extent that these operations consolidate their position as a strategic pillar in the fight against the irregular armed groups, it will become increasingly easy to understand their modus operandi and capacity for infiltrating society; in addition, it will make it possible to strengthen the protocols for managing and appropriately interpreting information, in order to be able to design efficient strategies that can neutralize the GAML. The importance of Integrated Action and Information Operations is rooted in empowering the community through coordination and interaction with national, departmental, and local government entities. An empowered community is a community that collaborates with the authorities, that reports cases of human-rights violations, and most importantly, that armors itself on its own against illegal armed actors, by strengthening itself as a whole and shaping itself into a strong and effective actor for social change.last_img read more

WHINSEC Cadets Visit Habitat for Humanity Global Village

first_imgBy Dialogo March 21, 2013 Sixty-four Colombian Cadets of the General José Maria Cordova Military Academy, in Bogotá, Colombia, toured the Habitat for Humanity Global Village and Information Center, before visiting Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) on March 9. An international friendly soccer match between a team of Cadets and the university team brought the trip to an exciting conclusion, with GSW’s varsity winning 6-0. At Habitat for Humanity, cadets learned how non-governmental organizations contribute to our society, exhibiting the self-interest that leads citizens to support charitable activities. GSW welcomed the Cadets to the university campus with an orientation briefing, in which they talked about the types of universities the U.S. has, followed by a discussion on the university’s student body, emphasizing on the number and origin of the international student body, the cost to attend, what the HOPE scholarship program is and how it works, housing and meal options, and other aspects of college life the cadets wanted to know. A walking tour of campus facilities (academic, athletic, housing) led up to a noon lunch at a GSW dining hall with Cadets and university students getting to know each other. The Cadets were at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation for a four-week Leadership Development Course that places them in leadership roles while participating in an intense orientation on the U.S. Military using the training opportunities available at the Maneuver Center of Excellence.last_img read more

Ecuadorean Navy rescues Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos

first_img The Ecuadorian Navy has an active duty force of more than 7,000 personnel and operates 21 vessels, including two guided missile frigates, two diesel-electric submarines, and three fast-attack boats. The Coast Guard, which operates under the command of the Navy, has 250 personnel and 30 patrol boats. Although the Navy’s primary mission is maritime defense, in recent years the Navy and the Coast Guard have played an important role in fighting drug trafficking. Ecuador is not a major cocaine producing country but it has increasingly been used as a transshipment point for illegal drugs. Recent maritime seizures of drugs include: • In October 2013, the Ecuadorian Navy and police forces collaborated to seize 799 kilos of cocaine in the country’s territorial waters, drugs which were destined for Central America and ultimately north to the United States, authorities reported. . • In April 2013, Ecuadorean police alerted the Coast Guard that a yacht, the “Green Onion,” was transporting a large quantity of cocaine. The coast guard pursued the boat, which escaped into international waters. The Ecuadorian Navy alerted the U.S. Coast Guard, which captured the boat in waters near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. When they realized they were about to be captured, the crew burned about four tons of cocaine. Julieta Pelcastre contributed to this article. Safeguarding human life A few hours before the Navy rescued Bezos, a Navy pilot used the same Bell 430 helicopter to rescue a woman who had gone into premature labor on Isabela Island, according to the Coast Guard’s website. On Jan. 4, 2014, the Bell 430 was called in to evacuate a man on San Cristobal Island who was suffering from acute appendicitis, the website reported. The Bell 430 is a twin-engine, single main rotor utility helicopter that can carry up to eight passengers or two emergency medical stretchers and attending medical personnel. The Ecuadorian Navy has two Bell 430s as well as one Bell 230, three Bell 206 Jet Rangers and three Bell TH-57 Sea Rangers. The Navy also has a force of 14 fixed wing patrol and training aircraft as well as six unmanned aerial vehicles for patrol and surveillance. Bezos had a “good outcome” from the kidney stone attack and no surgery was required, an Amazon.com spokesman said, according to published reports. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index recently ranked Bezos, 49, as the world’s 13th wealthiest person, with a net worth of $36 billion. Through an Amazon.com spokesman, Bezos released a brief statement: “Galapagos: five stars. Kidney stones: zero stars.” The “stars” are a reference was to Amazon.com’s system of customer ratings for products sold by the on-line retailing giant. Five stars is the highest rating for products sold on Amazon. The Ecuadorian Navy and Coast Guard officials rescued billionaire businessman and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos from a medical emergency in the Galapagos Islands on New Year’s Day. Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, was on vacation near Santa Cruz Island, in the Galapagos archipelago, about 600 miles west of continental Ecuador when he suffered a kidney stone attack. The ship took Bezos to nearby Santa Cruz Island. A Navy pilot landed a Bell 430 helicopter landed on the island and transported Bezos to nearby Baltra Island, where the businessman boarded a private jet, which took him to the United States for medical treatment. Ecuadorian Navy Captain Daniel Ginez Villacis, regional director of Ecuador’s Coast Guard command in the Galapagos, ordered the Navy helicopter air evacuation after Bezos sought medical treatment on Santa Cruz Island. Members of the Bezos family and some of his business associates sent messages of thanks to the Ecuadorean Navy and Coast Guard for their “timely action” and “professionalism, Ginez said, according to published reports. Medical air evacuations are routine in the remote Galapagos Islands region, according to Navy and Coast Guard officials. About 25,000 people live in the Galapagos Island province. In addition to the permanent residents, tens of thousands of tourists visit the region annually to see the natural beauty and unusual wildlife on the Galapagos Islands. Another rescue by the Navy center_img Five stars for the Galapagos Quick action by the Navy The fact that Bezos is a wealthy businessman made no difference to the Navy, which protects the lives of people no matter their station in life, said Carlos Mendoza Mora, the director of Strategic Projects Consulting, a private security firm in Mexico City. “All human lives are important,” Mendoza Mora said. “All state capacities have to be applied in appropriate scale. When civil or police forces that protect the different levels of government security and integrity of the people do not have the opportunity to meet this emergency, then you have to climb to the next level and often in certain territories that means reliance on the Armed Forces. Therefore, there must be no restrictions on the state to use these resources.” “It is natural that the Ecuadorean Navy would provide help to Bezos, the Navy is responsible for covering the territorial waters, not civilian forces,” the security analyst said. By Dialogo January 14, 2014 Providing maritime defense and fighting drug traffickers last_img read more