Colombia Confiscates Almost Two Tons of Cocaine

first_imgBy Dialogo September 23, 2010 The Colombian Navy confiscated 1,887 kilograms of cocaine being transported on a speedboat near a Caribbean beach, while the police expropriated from three fugitive drug traffickers assets valued at more than 110 million dollars, the authorities announced on 21 September. Initially, a Navy patrol intercepted a speedboat carrying the cargo of cocaine in the Gulf of Urabá, near the border with Panama, and arrested the five crew members who tried to evade pursuit by the military authorities. Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said that the confiscated drugs had an estimated cost of 38 million dollars on the international market. “This seizure represents a serious blow to the finances of the Los Urabeños criminal gang, which has done so much damage in the country’s northwest,” the minister affirmed. The illegal armed group to which Rivera referred is a drug-trafficking organization made up of former extreme-right-wing paramilitaries who failed to fulfill the terms of a peace agreement with the government and returned to illicit activities. At the same time, the National Police and the Attorney-General’s Office expropriated 203 assets, including houses, apartments, farms, and vehicles, belonging to the fugitive drug traffickers Daniel Barrera, alias “El Loco Barrera,” and the brothers Javier Antonio and Luis Enrique Calle Serna, better known as the “Comba.” The properties have an estimated value of over 110 million dollars. Colombia is the world’s leading producer of cocaine with around four hundred metric tons a year, despite the efforts of Bogotá and the United States to reduce coca cultivation. The price in Colombia for one kilo of cocaine is around 1,000 dollars, while in international markets one kilo can bring in up to 30,000 dollars, according to security sources. In addition, Colombia’s geographic position, with two oceans on its shores, makes it a strategic location for trafficking drugs and arms. According to the government, the drug business is currently controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group, groups of former paramilitaries, and cartels with ties to the Mexican cartels. In 2009, the Colombian authorities confiscated more than 203 tons of cocaine, and the figure so far this year exceeds 90 tons.last_img read more

Coast Guard Officers from the Americas Train in Cartagena

first_imgBy Dialogo April 19, 2011 The Fifth International Maritime Interdiction Course, offered by the Caribbean Coast Guard Command with the objective of implementing joint strategies and tools for combatting drug trafficking at sea, has opened in Cartagena with the participation of twenty naval officers from thirteen countries. On this occasion, students from the navies of the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia are participating. This fifth edition of the course offers another opportunity to share Colombia’s experience in the fight against drug trafficking and strengthen international cooperation. The modules to be covered include human rights, coast guard operational doctrine, security at sea, and legislation applicable to maritime interdiction operations. The National Navy will continue to hold training courses of this kind, which strengthen international cooperation and make it possible to improve the techniques used in operations against illicit activities at sea.last_img read more

Colombian and Honduran Air Forces Conduct Honcol-1 Interdiction Exercise

first_img The Colombian and Honduran Air Forces are successfully carrying out the Honcol-1 interdiction exercise, with the objective of combating situations and activities derived from illegal narcotics trafficking by air and sea. In 2010, the combined forces of the two countries succeeded in detecting, destroying, and immobilizing at least 15 aircraft, and 8 so far this year. For this reason, and with the aim of invigorating both their air and maritime interdiction systems, simulations of real air operations are being conducted during the current exercise. Colombia is participating with the Caribbean Air Group, deploying two OV-10 Bronco planes on the island of San Andrés, while the Honduran aircraft will be deployed from Soto Cano Base in Comayagua. The Honduran aircraft will simulate illegal flights, while the Colombians will try to locate, intercept, and force them to land, immobilizing them. This last action will include the participation of the Colombian police, through the Air Special Forces Group (ACOEA) and the judicial technical police. The exercise will also have the objective of increasing both forces’ capabilities to combat terrorism and illegal arms and ammunition trafficking in the Caribbean, taking advantage of the two countries’ infrastructure and experience for that purpose. Honcol-1 will be conducted in observance of existing air-safety regulations, in order to ensure not only the fulfillment of the planned objectives, but also normal commercial and civilian air traffic. The agreement governing the exercise was signed at the beginning of July by the Air Force commanders of Colombia, Gen. Julio González Ruiz, and Honduras, Col. Ruis Landa Dubón, during the Fifth Aeronautical Fair recently held in Colombia. By Dialogo August 02, 2011last_img read more

Chilean Armed Forces Celebrate Amidst Debate on Future Military Investment

first_img The Chilean Armed Forces celebrated on September 19 with a massive parade of over 9,000 personnel and warfare exhibition in Santiago, while Congress is debating the future of a law intended to guarantee weapons investment. The Military Parade was held in the enormous central O’Higgins Park, to commemorate the 202 years of existence of the Chilean Army with a parade featuring Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel, as well as Carabineros (Militarized Police.) Representatives of the Armed Forces from Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and France also participated this year, as well as the Argentine-Chilean Joint Peacekeeping Force ‘‘Cruz del Sur’‘, created in 2011 to support UN peacekeeping missions in different countries. This year, the military parade, officially celebrated since 1915, did not include heavy artillery equipment, since it was centered on ‘‘the human factor’‘ with the deployment of over 9,000 personnel, assured Defense Minister Andrés Allamand. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera led the parade and was accompanied by the Military High Command, officials and foreign guests, such as the Chief of Staff of the French Army, General Bertrand Ract-Madoux, and the Chief of Staff of the Argentine Army, General Luis Alberto Pozzi. Thousands of people came to the event and enjoyed the uniformed parade, mainly the deployment of three F-16 fighter jet squads escorted by Puma and Cougar Assault helicopters, as well as other aircrafts from the Chilean Air Force. The Chilean Armed Forces are considered one of the better equipped in the region, after the Chilean government started an armament renovation in 1998, buying F-16 fighter jets, leopard tanks, helicopters, frigates, and Scorpene submarines, considered the most modern in Latin America. By Dialogo September 21, 2012last_img read more

Uruguayan Congress Increases Penalties for Cocaine Dealers

first_imgBy Dialogo November 08, 2012 The Uruguayan Congress, which is debating the legalization of marihuana, passed a bill on November 6, to increase prison sentences for the crimes of cocaine trafficking and its derivatives, as well as cases of police and military corruption. Congress passed the bill – previously approved by the Senate – with the support of all political parties (57 votes of 57 attendees); therefore, it will be advanced to the Executive branch for its final sanction. The new legislation dictates that those found guilty of cocaine trafficking-related crimes will be charged with a minimum of two to three years of imprisonment. Despite an increase in the sentence, the bill considers mitigation when the amount seized is not significant and depending on whether the drug dealer did not sell drugs to minors. In these cases, judges will be able to apply alternative sentences. If the offenders are police members, soldiers, legislators, or members of the Executive and Judiciary powers, the penalties will increase by one-third the sentence. The bill is part of a package of measures submitted by President José Mujica in June, and it also includes the project for the “controlled legalization” of marihuana, which will be decided by Congress before the end of the year and then be submitted to the Senate for consideration.last_img read more

Panamá de Arauca: an interagency consolidation project

first_imgThe new closeness with the community in addition to the Defense Ministry’s faithful commitment to safety, have achieved strategic results from the production and transport of crude oil. Incidents and attacks on convoys have been reduced by 65%, and the community began to report attacks. Such reports in the past were minimal to non-existent. The government and companies were acting independently to address their separate concerns over maintaining state institutions and concerns over the defense of corporate resources. This has cost both valuable time, which in turn has benefited the criminal groups. Thanks to the willingness of the community and the organizations involved, the consolidation project gradually began to bear fruit, and the objectives were fully realized within months. The government and companies were acting independently to address their separate concerns over maintaining state institutions and concerns over the defense of corporate resources. This has cost both valuable time, which in turn has benefited the criminal groups. Phase 1 began immediately thereafter. The community would be the main beneficiary of this phase’s main goals of school improvements, health brigades, and free school supplies, in addition to new studies on the feasibility of community-based foundations and enterprises. In 2012 and 2013, the Panamá de Arauca region faced kidnappings, extortion, and attacks on vehicles and employees in the public and private sectors. The criminal alliances worked to turn this area into a strategic corridor in their plan to weaken the Colombian government. Although only half of the project has been completed, the most important part has been getting started and engaging institutions, which is already a reality. As shown by the steady results from the initial phases, the success of the consolidation plan is guaranteed. Thanks to the willingness of the community and the organizations involved, the consolidation project gradually began to bear fruit, and the objectives were fully realized within months. The National Police have begun to take better control of registering people and vehicles. They have also initiated a communications strategy for the project. The four phases, still in development, aim to improve community life and mobility in the area, as well as increase the visibility of projects and activities in the region to promote the institutions involved in the consolidation plan. Similarly, and no less importantly, the goal is for the community ultimately to assume responsibility for peaceful communities as the engine of social and economic progress. Phase 0 and/or the preliminary phase – one of the most difficult – required pairing institutions to work together, and engaging them in the economy and in society. This phase started in 2013. They created an action plan to build a stronger police presence and enact a permanent budget for development in the area. This town has traditionally been a vital economic center for Orinoco regional development (as this area of the country is known) because its vast plains hide large oil fields that have contributed significantly to Colombia’s economy. As a region consisting primarily of plains, Panamá de Arauca boasts livestock and dairy activities. This provided the participants with an opportunity for community support by providing equipment and improving livestock facilities, an important source of income for thousands of people in Arauquita. The logo promoting the consolidation plan has butterfly wings in the colors of the institutions involved, and represents the butterfly effect that a small town in Colombia is beginning to have on the world. Phase 1 began immediately thereafter. The community would be the main beneficiary of this phase’s main goals of school improvements, health brigades, and free school supplies, in addition to new studies on the feasibility of community-based foundations and enterprises. Although only half of the project has been completed, the most important part has been getting started and engaging institutions, which is already a reality. As shown by the steady results from the initial phases, the success of the consolidation plan is guaranteed. The Plan consists of four phases to integrate entities of the Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol, the National Defense Ministry’s Advisory Campaign Group (GAC), the Armed Forces General Command, the National Army, the Office of the Prosecutor General, the Administrative Unit for Territorial Consolidation (UACT), the municipal government of Arauca, the municipal government of Arauquita, and private enterprises. The participants realized that an interagency commitment would be essential to resolve the crisis. Panamá de Arauca is a town in the municipality of Arauquita, in the department of Arauca in eastern Colombia, on the border with neighboring Venezuela. Currently, the two final phases to consolidate the state’s presence and operations in Panamá de Arauca are being implemented. The National Learning Service (SENA), the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF) and the Colombian Institute of Sports (Coldeportes) have joined the institutions already involved. The four phases, still in development, aim to improve community life and mobility in the area, as well as increase the visibility of projects and activities in the region to promote the institutions involved in the consolidation plan. Similarly, and no less importantly, the goal is for the community ultimately to assume responsibility for peaceful communities as the engine of social and economic progress. Unfortunately, it is not only the government and major national and international companies that have established a presence in this strategically and economically important area of Colombia. In addition, the underground riches have attracted guerrillas and terrorist groups, who intend to stem the growth of the region, one way or another. The logo promoting the consolidation plan has butterfly wings in the colors of the institutions involved, and represents the butterfly effect that a small town in Colombia is beginning to have on the world. The National Police have begun to take better control of registering people and vehicles. They have also initiated a communications strategy for the project. One of the most urgent needs in the region is a dairy processing center. An analysis was conducted in this phase to determine what was required to make the center viable and affordable for the community. However, after looking at how the growing problem has not only caused economic losses but the deaths of dozens of farmers, employees, soldiers and police, government institutions decided to take action on the issue and draft the Strategic Recovery and Consolidation Plan for Panamá de Arauca. One of the most urgent needs in the region is a dairy processing center. An analysis was conducted in this phase to determine what was required to make the center viable and affordable for the community. Panamá de Arauca is a town in the municipality of Arauquita, in the department of Arauca in eastern Colombia, on the border with neighboring Venezuela. This town has traditionally been a vital economic center for Orinoco regional development (as this area of the country is known) because its vast plains hide large oil fields that have contributed significantly to Colombia’s economy. Unfortunately, it is not only the government and major national and international companies that have established a presence in this strategically and economically important area of Colombia. In addition, the underground riches have attracted guerrillas and terrorist groups, who intend to stem the growth of the region, one way or another. However, after looking at how the growing problem has not only caused economic losses but the deaths of dozens of farmers, employees, soldiers and police, government institutions decided to take action on the issue and draft the Strategic Recovery and Consolidation Plan for Panamá de Arauca. Once the goals of these last two phases have been fully met, the families of Panamá de Arauca should notice an evident increase in their resources, and incidents against the economy will surely be reduced nearly to zero. Interestingly, the riches of this area have led outlaw groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) to establish criminal alliances in order to intimidate civilians and companies interested in developing the region. This threatens to jeopardize the government’s institutions and absolute control over the area. The new closeness with the community in addition to the Defense Ministry’s faithful commitment to safety, have achieved strategic results from the production and transport of crude oil. Incidents and attacks on convoys have been reduced by 65%, and the community began to report attacks. Such reports in the past were minimal to non-existent. By Dialogo November 12, 2014 Phase 0 and/or the preliminary phase – one of the most difficult – required pairing institutions to work together, and engaging them in the economy and in society. This phase started in 2013. They created an action plan to build a stronger police presence and enact a permanent budget for development in the area. This was an important step because the community began to recognize the project and participants. They also began to feel the benefits from the program. For example, the Pedro Nel Jiménez school was remodeled to serve not only the students, but the community as well. The school will be used to hold meetings and healthcare-related activities. As a region consisting primarily of plains, Panamá de Arauca boasts livestock and dairy activities. This provided the participants with an opportunity for community support by providing equipment and improving livestock facilities, an important source of income for thousands of people in Arauquita. In 2012 and 2013, the Panamá de Arauca region faced kidnappings, extortion, and attacks on vehicles and employees in the public and private sectors. The criminal alliances worked to turn this area into a strategic corridor in their plan to weaken the Colombian government. This was an important step because the community began to recognize the project and participants. They also began to feel the benefits from the program. For example, the Pedro Nel Jiménez school was remodeled to serve not only the students, but the community as well. The school will be used to hold meetings and healthcare-related activities. In short, this consolidation plan is a great example of how a well-led project allows the government, law enforcement, private enterprise and the community to reclaim their legitimacy in a territory that should never have been at the mercy of criminals. Interestingly, the riches of this area have led outlaw groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) to establish criminal alliances in order to intimidate civilians and companies interested in developing the region. This threatens to jeopardize the government’s institutions and absolute control over the area. In short, this consolidation plan is a great example of how a well-led project allows the government, law enforcement, private enterprise and the community to reclaim their legitimacy in a territory that should never have been at the mercy of criminals. Too bad the author of this article, General (retired) Gonzales Villamil does not remember the famous Eduardo of the ELN with whom he communicated and other things… Currently, the two final phases to consolidate the state’s presence and operations in Panamá de Arauca are being implemented. The National Learning Service (SENA), the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF) and the Colombian Institute of Sports (Coldeportes) have joined the institutions already involved. Once the goals of these last two phases have been fully met, the families of Panamá de Arauca should notice an evident increase in their resources, and incidents against the economy will surely be reduced nearly to zero. The Plan consists of four phases to integrate entities of the Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol, the National Defense Ministry’s Advisory Campaign Group (GAC), the Armed Forces General Command, the National Army, the Office of the Prosecutor General, the Administrative Unit for Territorial Consolidation (UACT), the municipal government of Arauca, the municipal government of Arauquita, and private enterprises. The participants realized that an interagency commitment would be essential to resolve the crisis. last_img read more

Colombian Military Museum Honors Fallen Soldiers

first_img“This is more important than any combat victory or hundreds of kills,” said Colonel Rafael Ávila Salas, a member of the Army’s Inspection General who was visiting the room for the first time late in October. “This is our history.” “I want this place to be a permanent space for memory, one that shows Colombia the way forward so as not to repeat this 50-year tragedy… and one where society’s consensus revolves around peace,” Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said during the opening ceremony on October 8. The interactive exhibition, which honors Colombia’s fallen Soldiers and police officers, is named after an Army Sergeant who was killed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) after being held captive for more than 14 years. It features an interactive timeline with videos, newsreels, and detailed information about incidents in which illegal armed groups violated the Geneva Conventions or the human rights of Soldiers. Constant threats “This is an opportunity to tell the world and the new generations about all the atrocities that the Public Force has also had to undergo during our internal conflict,” Sgt. Maj. Beltrán said standing in front of a screen with information about his capture in the Room of Memory and Dignity one morning in late October. “We are also victims.” By Dialogo November 20, 2015 The Armed Forces of Colombia are a good example for their Latin American counterparts when it comes to the fight against narco-terrorism. We have a lot to learn from this tough and expensive experience. On December 23, I’m going to get to know Bogotá. I would like to visit the museum and need to know the address. I really liked the Diálogo website. And I give homage to all those military personnel who died in the campaign against the FARCs. They gave their lives to free Latin America from this cancer called communism, which is in cahoots with drug trafficking. The exhibition also tells the story of Sergeant Major Amaón Pantoja Flórez, who was captured by the FARC on August 3, 1998, in Miraflores in the department of Meta, following a 24-hour attack on an Army base. Colombia’s National Army recently inaugurated the Sergeant Libio José Martínez Estrada Room of Memory and Dignity at the Military Museum in Bogotá. Colombian Armed Forces freed Betancourt, Sgt. Maj. Pantoja, and 13 other hostages in July 2008 after infiltrating the illegal armed group. Soldiers tricked the FARC into placing all of the hostages aboard a helicopter so they could meet with one of their commanders, Alfonso Cano. But when the helicopter took off from a remote patch of jungle about 200 miles southeast of Bogotá, Armed Forces commandos subdued the two FARC operatives who had escorted the hostages onto the helicopter, which belonged to the Military. “It’s an abominable situation for any human being,” Sgt. Maj. Pantoja said shortly before visiting the Sergeant Libio José Martínez Estrada Room of Memory and Dignity in October. A dramatic rescue by the Colombian Armed Forces Sgt. Maj. Pantoja was a FARC prisoner for almost 10 years, during which time he was held alongside former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three American contractors who taught him English. He still recalls the powerlessness, constant humiliations, the weight of the 106-link chain around his neck, and being locked inside barbed wire enclosures in the jungle. The room depicts 22 events, including attacks on police stations, the use of minefields, and the numerous kidnappings of Troops like Sergeant Major Luis Alfonso Beltrán, who the FARC captured in the department of Caquetá in March 1998 after his Army unit clashed with more than 1,300 guerrillas over nine days. Along with nine other soldiers, Sgt. Maj. Beltrán, who was 28 years old at the time, surrendered once their food and ammo was depleted. A chain was placed around his neck and connected to a fellow captive, and he spent 14 years in the jungle, always attached to a comrade until the FARC released him in March 2012. Military personnel, the families of kidnapped victims, and a few civilians visit the exhibition daily, and it’s common for guides to lead groups of officers in full uniform. After capturing Sgt. Maj. Beltrán, FARC guerillas constantly threatened him throughout his captivity. At one point, he was denied food for 21 days after the terrorist group’s supply was destroyed by an Army strike. During that time, he kept what he called his “assault bag,” in which he carried a Bible, messages from his family, a toothbrush, a cup, and a pair of socks. This bag and the belongings of other kidnapped Soldiers and police officers are on display in the Room of Memory and Dignity. last_img read more

Argentine Armed Forces Support Summer Antarctic Campaign

first_imgBy Dialogo March 09, 2016 Diálogo: How many Troops are involved in the campaign? Diálogo: Has any particular base caught your attention during this campaign? Navy Commodore Tarapow: This year we are employing five ships for different tasks, four of which belong to the Argentine Navy and the fifth was leased through international competitive bidding. These are the Canal Beagle transport ship, the Puerto Deseado oceanographic vessel (operating under the Naval Hydrographic Service, conducting hydrographic and bathymetric tasks), the Suboficial Castillo dispatch ship (operating under the Southern Naval Area, conducting the Joint Naval Antarctic Patrol with Chile) and the Islas Malvinas dispatch ship, all of which belong to the Argentine Navy. As for the aircraft, we have two Hercules C-130, a Twin Otter, an MI17 helicopter, and a Bell 212 helicopter, all of which belong to our Air Force. More than 1,000 Military officials and scientists are participating in the Summer Antarctic Campaign 2015-2016, an annual mission to resupply the 13 Argentine research bases on the white continent and support their scientific programs. The effort is being led by Navy Commodore Marcelo Tarapow, Argentina’s Naval Antarctic Commander and Joint Antarctic Commander. Diálogo: What vehicles and materials are being used in the Summer Antarctic Campaign 2015-2016? Navy Commodore Marcelo Tarapow: Leading and conducting naval, land, and air operations to support personnel and supply the permanent Antarctic bases so that they can fulfill their summer or winter missions. We also need to deploy, sustain, and subsequently dismantle the transitional summer bases and science camps. We conduct surveys and repair Argentina’s Antarctic shelters and beacons. We also provide support for foreign programs, such as those from Bulgaria, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru, and the Czech Republic. Diálogo: Argentina has 13 bases in Antarctica, including both permanent and temporary bases. Could you tell us a little about them? Navy Commodore Tarapow: I was able to appreciate the true potential that the Petrel Base has to be developed into a logistics hub in combination with Ushuaia. Built by the Argentine Navy in 1967, Petrel has a natural plateau where Navy aircraft have operated. Recent studies allowed for the development of a runway capable of handling Boeing commercial aircraft, as well as a pier. This base is now a joint operation with the other Armed Forces, and I hope that science will also find its place there. I have no doubt that we should pay special attention to the development of the Petrel base, as it holds great geostrategic value. Our future in Antarctica will depend, in large part, on the effort we focus on Petrel. Navy Commodore Tarapow: The triangular section between the 25th West and 74th West meridians and the 60th South parallel, reaching to the South Pole, delimits Argentine Antarctica. And different tasks – scientific, beaconing, mapping, meteorological, and glaciological, just to name a few – are the added value necessary for the consolidation of our rights. In addition, the Antarctic programs carried out by the different nations allow for a better understanding of the world in which we live. Knowledge of ocean currents, glaciology, meteorology, climate, biology, botany, and the thinning of the ozone layer, for example, is necessary not only for understanding Antarctica’s past and present but also to understand its balance and probable future. Navy Commodore Tarapow: The tasks include the logistical resupply of the six permanent bases that Argentina has in Antarctica, which operate all year round (Orcadas, San Martín, Carlini, Esperanza, Belgrano II and Marambio) and seven temporary bases, which are only used during the Antarctic summer months (Matienzo, Petrel, Brown, Primavera, Cámara, Decepción and Melchior). We are carrying a little more than 7,000 drums of Antarctic gas oil, JP1 fuel for aircraft, premium gasoline and oil, 800 cubic meters of Antarctic gas oil in bulk, 1,010 gas pipes, 215 cubic meters of refrigerated cargo, 168 cubic meters of dry goods, 90 cubic meters [of] antechamber, and about 2,073 cubic meters of general cargo, which includes building materials, paints, wood, clothing, cleaning supplies, medicines, vehicles, electronic equipment, and furniture. In addition, we will remove 2,554 cubic meters of waste of various types that is produced as a result of the work and accommodations on the white continent. Diálogo: When does this Summer Antarctic Campaign end? Diálogo: What tasks are currently being performed? Navy Commodore Tarapow: In total 1,000 people are participating, if we count the crews of the five ships, helicopters and aircraft that are being deployed in Antarctica and the personnel at the bases. The team of scientists and technicians includes around 400 people. On board the Golovnin, we are 90 in total. This ship carries the largest amount of the cargo being shipped to the Antarctic bases. Diálogo: What studies are conducted at the Argentine bases that are made possible by the Military’s support? Diálogo: What are the responsibilities of the Joint Antarctic Command? Navy Commodore Tarapow: The Orcadas Base, which is supported by the Argentine Navy, is the oldest permanent human settlement in all of Antarctica. Since Argentina took over on February 22, 1904, it has always been inhabited and waved our flag. Hence, that date has become National Antarctica Day for Argentina. We have families living at the Esperanza Base and a school operates there throughout the entire year. The first Antarctic Argentines were also born there. “Every year, there are Argentines living in Antarctica who await our arrival,” said Commodore Tarapow in an email interview with Dialógo from aboard the polar vessel Vasily Golovnin. “They trust that (we) will bring them supplies and replacements. That is a trust we can never betray.” Navy Commodore Tarapow: On the bases, programs are conducted in accordance with the geographical characteristics and associated ecosystems. There are projects studying different types of flying birds and penguins, sea lions, seals, elephant seals, whales, fish, algae, lichens, plankton and phytoplankton. There are also studies into the changes in human behavior and physiology in high-insolation conditions, circadian cycles, changing conditions, and duration of days with light and polar nights. Also important is the research into meteorology, the upper atmosphere, the ozone, ionization, glaciology, and the environment. Argentina has a rich background and tradition in most of these fields of study. Diálogo: How does the Antarctic Campaign benefit Argentina and other countries? Navy Commodore Tarapow: The campaign will end on March 26th with the arrival of Canal Beagle transport ship at its home port in Buenos Aires, where it will unload all the material and garbage removed from Antarctica.last_img read more

El Salvador Increases Its Participation in MINUSMA

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo December 15, 2017 A new contingent of Salvadoran military personnel is scheduled to join the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA, in French) in December. As such, El Salvador shows its commitment to the United Nation’s (UN) peacekeeping, security, and stabilization efforts in the region. “This deployment will not replace the air unit. To the contrary, it increases our presence in that part of the world,” Colonel Jorge Alberto Miranda, chief of the 3rd Operations Group of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of El Salvador, said to Diálogo. “This will be an airport ground services unit made up of 70 soldiers. Our presence in Mali will grow to 160 personnel.” The mission of the new contingent, made up of men and women, is to improve and maintain operational conditions at one of Mali’s airports. The unit also has search and rescue and firefighting duties in the terminal area. Service members brought the technology and equipment needed to manage the airport. These duties come in addition to day and night patrols on the ground and in the air; maintenance of transportation and communication equipment; training and education; and other duties the Salvadoran service members perform from the moment they deploy. El Salvador has been part of MINUSMA since May 2015, operating independently with the Torogoz (El Salvador’s national bird) Armed Helicopter Unit (AHU), which consists of 90 military personnel under the UN mandate. The newly deployed AHU trained in El Salvador with personnel who manage Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero and Galdámez International Airport in the department of La Paz and already received praise from the UN. “To expand the unit’s training and capacities, El Salvador received support from the Global Peace Operations Initiative [GPOI],” Col. Miranda said. “Likewise, it received support from U.S. Southern Command to complete all required training and certifications our personnel needed to participate in peacekeeping missions.” GPOI is a U.S. Department of State funded program, executed in coordination with the U.S. Department of Defense, to build partner nation capacity to conduct UN Peacekeeping Operations. GPOI also heavily assisted the deployment of the Torogoz unit, with pre-deployment training, base operations sustainment equipment, in-mission training, and helicopter spare parts. Challenges met “El Salvador rose to the challenge of meeting the very high standards that UN requires to deploy, both in material resources and competencies the personnel in the contingent must meet,” Col. Miranda said. “Communication was another challenge. Spanish is widely used in the world, but it’s unknown in the places we’ve been to. We were able to overcome that by learning and practicing English. “The logistics’ matter in our deployments to Mali was also an important issue for the Armed Forces of El Salvador. They have to prepare all the cargo, place it in containers, load it onto ships, ship it, and receive it in Africa,” Col. Miranda said. “The deployed military personnel meet the training requirements to carry out their duties in the assigned area, with competencies in human rights and first aid,” added Salvadoran Air Force Captain Alfredo Alexander García, head of the 6th Information Systems Department and MINUSMA member. Operational readiness Peacekeeping operations help military institutions keep up with ongoing training. “Each deployment shows the level of operational readiness of its armed forces, which are able to operate abroad wherever the UN needs them,” Col. Miranda said. “Teamwork is also key for operational readiness because we are a coordinated structure. If one part of the contingent doesn’t work, operations can come to a standstill,” Capt. García added. The efficiency of missions rests on mutual trust and the high degree of training and professionalism the military and police contingents execute in their duties. The Armed Forces of El Salvador plans to send the fourth rotation of its Torogoz helicopter unit to Mali 2018. “As officers and members of the Armed Forces, we are morally committed to boost the reputation of our nation and our glorious Armed Forces at all times,” Capt. García concluded.last_img read more

Colombia: A Global NATO Partner

first_img“The doctrine is a historical and revolutionary event that will provide more operational tools to commanders at all levels; it reinforces our counterinsurgency capabilities,” Gen. Mejía told Diálogo. “Damascus is the necessary and timely process of doctrinal revision, update, and prioritization for the Colombian Army, [with] a new vocabulary to achieve higher interoperability levels, because Colombia lacked a military doctrine with the necessary international standards to combat potential external threats.” The new international status strengthens the Military Forces of Colombia. Commanders know that their units will take part in valuable training and acquire important skills. “Being in NATO is a recognition of the level of our institution’s capabilities, conditions, and commitments, which we reached over many years of conflict,” General Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas, commander of the Colombian Air Force, told Diálogo. “Air forces from several countries want to conduct exercises with us. We know how to do things, and they want to know how we do it.” Becoming a partner To be a NATO global partner meant the Colombian military had to take on a myriad tasks in the process of updating, aligning, and building the joint doctrine of the military. Changes in organizational structures were necessary to improve internal procedures. Standards used to classify and label material and equipment also needed revisions, as did advanced training and educational programs for officers, noncommissioned officers, and soldiers. The forces participated in exchange programs about doctrinal knowledge, military training, and education in the best centers of excellence and military training of the U.S. and Germany, among others. Since 2015, about 130 Colombian military members traveled to several countries to take part in conferences, workshops, seminars, and training exercises on transparency, resiliency, and leadership. Colombia plans to modernize the military educational and training system with an academic program tailored to offer their skills and allow for interaction with other armed forces. The objective is also to engage in science and technology to improve administration, risk management procedures, and logistics support protocols. Colombia also works on modernizing cyberdefense capabilities. “There are new threats against security and international stability, such as terrorism, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking and its derivative issues, and corruption—challenges we learned to confront,” Gen. Mejía said. “The experience of our armed forces, that particular DNA, stands out in the eyes of the world and is part of the knowledge we will exchange with NATO.” Higher interoperability levels Joining the organization fell in line with the country’s new post-conflict reality. Colombian Army General Alberto José Mejía Ferrero, commander of the Military Forces of Colombia, led the design of the Damascus doctrine, on par with the need for more modern and competitive forces. Without the Damascus doctrine, a stronger relationship with NATO wouldn’t have been possible. By Yolima Dussán/Diálogo August 08, 2018 On May 31, 2018, Colombia became the first Latin American country to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and gain global partnership status like that of Australia, South Korea, and New Zealand. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, Belgium, where the organization is headquartered, and signed a partnership agreement. “We are global partners, not members. This condition only allows the country to participate in training operations, not in military operations,” President Santos said upon signing the agreement. “It means we’ll participate in modernization protocols to standardize processes, which will grant the Armed Forces access to a wide variety of NATO training in areas in which Colombia should improve.” Scope of the agreement The agreement formalizes the close relationship between Colombia and NATO. The Colombian forces will have access to exchanges and forums on issues such as cyberdefense, the importance of women in peace and security, and demining. “I welcome the opportunity to learn from Colombia’s very exclusive knowledge of explosives,” Stoltenberg said. “This knowledge can be applied in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.” Lessons on countering corruption and best practices against it are also on the agenda. Since 2013, the Military Forces of Colombia carry out a program that considers transparency, anti-bribery, and ethics as fundamental for transformation. NATO has an integrity building program in line with the policies of transparency the country strives for. The program will pave the way for the adoption of transparency norms to strengthen procedures such as military sales—the internal mechanisms also obey standardization and international supervision. last_img read more