Argentine Satellite Will Be Launched by NASA from U.S. Base on 9 June

first_imgBy Dialogo June 02, 2011 Argentina’s SAC-D Aquarius satellite, equipped to measure the salinity of the oceans, will be launched by the U.S. space agency NASA from a California base on 9 June, the project’s executive director announced in Buenos Aires. “On 9 June, Argentina’s SAC-D Aquarius satellite will be launched by NASA, our chief partner in the project, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California,” Conrado Baroto, executive director of the government agency responsible for the project, the National Space Activities Commission (CONAE), said at a press conference. Around two hundred people worked on the most active stage of the project, which began in 2009 and in which around 320 million dollars has been invested, of which NASA has contributed 260 million and Argentina the remaining 60 million, Baroto affirmed. Sandra Torrusio, the principal investigator for the initiative, indicated that the satellite, which will be in orbit for five years, at a distance of 657 kilometers from the earth, will have as its chief mission estimating the salinity of seawater using the latest generation of technological instruments. “This will make an unprecedented contribution to the scientific community for the development of long-range climate models,” Torrusio said. The development of the SAC-D Aquarius, defined as a space observatory for the ocean, the weather, and the environment, included contributions from the space agencies of Italy, France, Canada, and Brazil, although CONAE’s chief partner in the project is NASA, which will contribute the satellite launch vehicle. “The satellite is provided with eight instruments, among which NASA is contributing the Aquarius instrument to measure the salinity of seawater, in addition to the launch vehicle,” Argentine project leader Daniel Caruso said for his part, speaking by videoconference from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The orbital station will be capable of measuring atmospheric temperature, pressure, and humidity profiles, as well as having an infrared camera equipped with new technology to monitor fires and volcanoes, among other functions, the Argentine agency explained.last_img read more

Honduran Navy Raises Submarine That Carried 7.5 Tons of Cocaine

first_img Experts from the Honduran Navy have raised a submarine from which they extracted 7.5 tons of cocaine in August, after its crew sank it in the depths of the Caribbean, official sources confirmed. Armed Forces spokesperson Colonel Alcides Flores told AFP that “the submersible is now in Puerto Castilla (600 kilometers northeast of Tegucigalpa), thanks to the ingenuity of our divers, because there’s a lack of technology for an operation like this, the first of its kind that we’ve carried out.” The commandant of the Navy, Rear Admiral Rigoberto Espinal, told reporters that everything was “being done slowly; more than anything, it’s a training operation that our combat divers are carrying out.” The vessel was intercepted by U.S. and Honduran authorities on July 13, in Caribbean waters 25 km from the Honduran coast, that is, in international waters. Upon realizing the presence of the authorities, the crew, three Colombians and one Honduran who sailed the vessel from Colombia and were supposedly headed to the United States, sank it by opening an interior valve so that it would fill with water. On August 2, the authorities finished removing 7.5 tons of cocaine, a record amount for joint operations between the Honduran and U.S. authorities. By Dialogo October 12, 2011last_img read more

Brazil to Double Border Police Surveillance

first_img Brazil plans to double its border police presence by 2014 to control weapons and drug trafficking associated with the violence affecting most Brazilian states, Minister of Justice José Eduardo Cardozo said on December 4. “By 2014, we will double border personnel of both the Federal Police and State Troopers,” Cardozo added before the House of Representatives. The minister did not specify the number of troops that will patrol the 16,000 km border shared by Brazil with 10 countries. By the end of August, 3,500 police officers – 1,000 more than a year ago – cooperated in counterdrug border control and surveillance, according to the Federal Police. “It would be impossible to have an impregnable border, but we will have a more controlled border,” Cardozo indicated. Last year, Dilma Rousseff’s government launched a counterdrug trafficking plan on the borders, including joint action with Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay. The strategy, involving the permanent mobilization of Military troops, seeks to prevent the entry of drug smuggling from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, the main producers of cocaine worldwide. Due to drug and weapons smuggling activities, Brazil is facing an increase in violence linked to crack trafficking, a low-cost cocaine, of which consumption has peaked enormously in the past years. “No state falls within the acceptable standard of violence. All Brazilian states are over the line. The federal government has developed programs to address these problems,” Cardozo said. By Dialogo December 06, 2012last_img read more

SOUTHCOM Honors Chilean Marine Captain

first_imgBy Dialogo February 04, 2014 As his two-year tour as a Partner Nation Liaison Officer (PNLO) representing Chile at U.S. Southern Command comes to an end, Marine Captain Claudio Escalona was honored with a Joint Service Commendation Medal at an award ceremony on January 31. SOUTHCOM Commander, U.S. Marine General John F. Kelly, who presided over the ceremony and presented the award, recognized Cap. Escalona’s leadership and devotion to duty as “critical to advancing issues of major importance to the United States and Chile.” “Cap. Escalona distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious service,” said the General, including providing Chilean officials invaluable insights into mutual United States and Chilean Military issues, resulting in enhanced understanding, vital to strengthening the partnership between the two countries.” For his part, Cap. Escalona, thanked SOUTHCOM, Gen. Kelly, his PNLO counterparts from Peru, Colombia, Canada and Brazil, the Chilean Consulate and all the other civilian and military personnel who supported him in his mission. In addition to listing some of the important events he supported and took part in since his arrival in 2012, Cap. Escalona mentioned that he identified early on that his main duties were to “represent [his] culture and people, and send the message that we are part of this beautiful region, and we can contribute to the improvements of the living conditions of our nations.” Cap. Escalona made a special mention to the outstanding performance of Marine Forces South and Joint Special Forces South, as they supported the process of passing on experiences and lessons learned to the new Chilean Joint Staff in terms of command and control programs, information operations, Joint Special Forces training and participation in multinational exercises. In his conclusion, the Chilean Marine Captain mentioned that Chile is honored to have received the opportunity to host Partnership of the Americas 2014 and Unitas 2015. SOUTHCOM established the PNLO Program in 1998, with the focus of establishing links with U.S. partner nations in Central and South America and the Caribbean that would serve as a conduit to foster a better understanding of mission and tactics, facilitate the ability to integrate and synchronize operations, assist in the transfer of vital information, enhance mutual trust, and develop an increased level of teamwork. Many thanks, friends of U.S. Southcom. I will always be ready to assist you with whatever you think appropriate, and you’ll be on my mind. God bless you.Claudio Escalonalast_img read more

Brazilian and Paraguayan Air Forces Cooperate against Drug Trafficking

first_img“This provides greater security during Military actions,” said Maj. Mendes. The two air forces also at times conduct joint artillery training. Many Paraguayan air traffic controllers have trained with their Brazilian counterparts, too. The goals of the cooperative agreement include testing the instruments used by Paraguayan forces as they detect and stop airplanes carrying illegal loads, such as drugs and firearms, in Paraguayan airspace, according to FAB Colonel Airton Miguel Yasbeck, Jr., who commands the FAB group headquartered in Luque about 15 km from Asunción, Paraguay’s capital city. “We do not interfere in direct operations to combat illicit trafficking; instead, we indirectly assist the Paraguayan Air Force (FAP) and the National Civil Aeronautics Directorate (DINAC),” Col. Yasbeck said. “Support for drafting and publication of manuals and bilateral agreements on air space controls keeps us very busy. The focus is on air space security.” Following the agreement’s establishment, a Brazilian government decree created the Brazilian Aeronautical Mission (MTAB), which is comprised of technical advisors who contribute to the training, operations, and logistical operations of the Paraguayan Air Force (FAP) and the National Civil Aeronautics Directorate (DINAC). “There is mutual respect and admiration, and our classes are well received,” Col. Yasbeck said “We are trying to meet their needs and doing our best.” “We are fighting the scourge of drugs, a fight that is coordinated by the National Drug Enforcement Department,” the colonel added. “DINAC cannot act alone, and neither can the FAP.” The Air Forces of the two countries work well together to achieve mutual goals. FAB and FAP engage in joint training The goals of the cooperative agreement include testing the instruments used by Paraguayan forces as they detect and stop airplanes carrying illegal loads, such as drugs and firearms, in Paraguayan airspace, according to FAB Colonel Airton Miguel Yasbeck, Jr., who commands the FAB group headquartered in Luque about 15 km from Asunción, Paraguay’s capital city. Pilots often use the T-27 to intercept aircraft which fly at low altitudes, according to Brazilian Major Ricardo Bevilaqua Mendes. The joint training focuses on how to monitor the aircraft’s parts, such as the landing gear and ejection seats. “We do not interfere in direct operations to combat illicit trafficking; instead, we indirectly assist the Paraguayan Air Force (FAP) and the National Civil Aeronautics Directorate (DINAC),” Col. Yasbeck said. “Support for drafting and publication of manuals and bilateral agreements on air space controls keeps us very busy. The focus is on air space security.” Signed in 1982 following Paraguay’s acquisition of Brazilian-made Xavante aircraft and radar and communication systems in 1981, the bilateral agreement is the Brazilian Air Force’s (FAB) longest-standing agreement with another country. Maintaining the hydraulic, electronic, and pneumatic systems for T-27 Tucanos, which are made in Brazil and are the primary model in operation in the FAP fleet, was an important part of the cooperative training. The FAP often uses Tucanos for drug enforcement missions. The level of cooperation has grown over time and includes exchanges in joint training and common procedures to coordinate the flow of flights between the two countries. For example, the MTAB also provides assistance to the FAP by sharing Brazil’s knowledge on how to respond to illegal flights, Col. Pistilli said. The idea is to develop manuals with procedures for how to respond to such flights. “We are working on an in-flight operational security management program and we support that through the use of radar,” Maj. Nobre said. “Security in this area depends upon sharing information.” The joint operational agreement executed on December 11 between the DINAC and Brazil’s Air Space Control Department is an example of the type of work Col. Yasbeck described. The agreement establishes common procedures to coordinate the flow of flights between Pedro Juan Caballero Airport in Paraguay’s Department of Amambay, and Ponta Porã Airport in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso do Sul. The importance of sharing information Military officers from the two countries have built this mutual respect by training together and spending time with each other. “Most important is the training to update the pilots’ and mechanics’ knowledge, in addition to safety,” Col. Pistilli said. “Brazil has one of the most advanced air forces in the world.” “Most important is the training to update the pilots’ and mechanics’ knowledge, in addition to safety,” Col. Pistilli said. “Brazil has one of the most advanced air forces in the world.” The joint operational agreement executed on December 11 between the DINAC and Brazil’s Air Space Control Department is an example of the type of work Col. Yasbeck described. The agreement establishes common procedures to coordinate the flow of flights between Pedro Juan Caballero Airport in Paraguay’s Department of Amambay, and Ponta Porã Airport in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso do Sul. For example, from November 21 to December 12, nine FAP service members trained with a FAB unit in the Lagoa Santa Aeronautical Materials Park (PAMA-LS) in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais. Many Paraguayan air traffic controllers have trained with their Brazilian counterparts, too. A similar joint training session will be conducted in 2015 or 2016 to help both countries fight narco-flights, noted Pistilli. Military officers from the two countries have built this mutual respect by training together and spending time with each other. By Dialogo February 10, 2015 Following the agreement’s establishment, a Brazilian government decree created the Brazilian Aeronautical Mission (MTAB), which is comprised of technical advisors who contribute to the training, operations, and logistical operations of the Paraguayan Air Force (FAP) and the National Civil Aeronautics Directorate (DINAC). Colonel Carlos Pistilli, FAP’s Social Communication director, praised the joint training regarding the maintenance of the T-27 Tucanos. Mutual respect between the FAB and the FAP Nine members of the MTAB participated in a joint set of military exercises (PARBRA) with about 60 FAP service members and 100 from the FAB in May 2013. For example, MTAB members in Asunción interact with DINAC authorities on a daily basis. MTAB Major Santo Roberto Nobre and his assistant have seats at the Joint Control Center, which monitors all of Paraguay’s air space. Nine members of the MTAB participated in a joint set of military exercises (PARBRA) with about 60 FAP service members and 100 from the FAB in May 2013. “We are working on an in-flight operational security management program and we support that through the use of radar,” Maj. Nobre said. “Security in this area depends upon sharing information.” center_img “These two airports are very close to each other, they are on the border, and they operate over the radio. The agreement defines procedures, which will make the pilots and crew safer,” said Major Sandro Roberto Nobre, 41, an MTAB air space control advisor who was involved in drafting the guidelines. “The agreement had long been awaited by both sides.” Signed in 1982 following Paraguay’s acquisition of Brazilian-made Xavante aircraft and radar and communication systems in 1981, the bilateral agreement is the Brazilian Air Force’s (FAB) longest-standing agreement with another country. “There is mutual respect and admiration, and our classes are well received,” Col. Yasbeck said “We are trying to meet their needs and doing our best.” The Air Forces of the two countries work well together to achieve mutual goals. The importance of sharing information Fighting drug trafficking and other illegal enterprises A similar joint training session will be conducted in 2015 or 2016 to help both countries fight narco-flights, noted Pistilli. The FAB and the FAP work cooperatively on various aspects of the joint training. For example, the MTAB develops curricula and classroom content. The FAP Commander’s office requested Portuguese language classes, and the first of these courses began in 2014. The number of these classes will increase in 2015. FAB and FAP engage in joint training For example, MTAB members in Asunción interact with DINAC authorities on a daily basis. MTAB Major Santo Roberto Nobre and his assistant have seats at the Joint Control Center, which monitors all of Paraguay’s air space. “This provides greater security during Military actions,” said Maj. Mendes. The two air forces also at times conduct joint artillery training. “These two airports are very close to each other, they are on the border, and they operate over the radio. The agreement defines procedures, which will make the pilots and crew safer,” said Major Sandro Roberto Nobre, 41, an MTAB air space control advisor who was involved in drafting the guidelines. “The agreement had long been awaited by both sides.” Pilots often use the T-27 to intercept aircraft which fly at low altitudes, according to Brazilian Major Ricardo Bevilaqua Mendes. The joint training focuses on how to monitor the aircraft’s parts, such as the landing gear and ejection seats. “We are fighting the scourge of drugs, a fight that is coordinated by the National Drug Enforcement Department,” the colonel added. “DINAC cannot act alone, and neither can the FAP.” For more than 30 years, the Air Forces of Brazil and Paraguay have cooperated in the fight against international drug trafficking and other illegal enterprises. Mutual respect between the FAB and the FAP Sharing information is an important component of the ongoing cooperative mission. The FAB and the FAP work cooperatively on various aspects of the joint training. For example, the MTAB develops curricula and classroom content. The FAP Commander’s office requested Portuguese language classes, and the first of these courses began in 2014. The number of these classes will increase in 2015. “A well-equipped and well-trained Air Force gets more results in combating illegal flights,” he concluded. The level of cooperation has grown over time and includes exchanges in joint training and common procedures to coordinate the flow of flights between the two countries. Joint training is an important aspect of the ongoing cooperation between the Brazilian and Paraguayan Air Forces. Colonel Carlos Pistilli, FAP’s Social Communication director, praised the joint training regarding the maintenance of the T-27 Tucanos. For more than 30 years, the Air Forces of Brazil and Paraguay have cooperated in the fight against international drug trafficking and other illegal enterprises. Air traffic controllers from the two countries share training and work on security programs together. Fighting drug trafficking and other illegal enterprises Joint training is an important aspect of the ongoing cooperation between the Brazilian and Paraguayan Air Forces. Sharing information is an important component of the ongoing cooperative mission. For example, the MTAB also provides assistance to the FAP by sharing Brazil’s knowledge on how to respond to illegal flights, Col. Pistilli said. The idea is to develop manuals with procedures for how to respond to such flights. Maintaining the hydraulic, electronic, and pneumatic systems for T-27 Tucanos, which are made in Brazil and are the primary model in operation in the FAP fleet, was an important part of the cooperative training. The FAP often uses Tucanos for drug enforcement missions. Air traffic controllers from the two countries share training and work on security programs together. For example, from November 21 to December 12, nine FAP service members trained with a FAB unit in the Lagoa Santa Aeronautical Materials Park (PAMA-LS) in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais. “A well-equipped and well-trained Air Force gets more results in combating illegal flights,” he concluded. It’s very complete and interesting I really enjoyed the news. They are complete; the main points stand out well, etc.last_img read more

Sports Help Wounded Soldiers and Police Officers Recover

first_img“There’s an energy that comes with riding a horse and you become transformed,” said former Colombian National Police Officer Leonardo Fuentes, who lost his left leg after stepping on a landmine during an operation against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) terrorist group in the Department of Antioquia in 2009. Equine therapy can have a positive impact on an injured person in just a few weeks, Rosas explained. Engaging in athletics is one of the ways injured Troops and police officers participate in their own rehabilitation. The government has spent $35 million dollars to purchase new equipment, such as body armor, to help Troops and police officers avoid injuries from landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Cooperation goes a long way in supporting the injured But they are also making progress in better protecting the members of the security forces. Encouraging the wounded to help themselves through athletics “In my case, I ride without prosthetics, but when I’m on the horse, I don’t feel like anything is missing,” Fuentes said. “It’s as if the horse’s legs were a part of me, as if they were my legs and we have become one. It’s a full synchronization. We are one being.” Playing sports helps wounded Soldiers and police officers regain strength in their bodies and confidence in their physical abilities. Playing sports helps wounded Soldiers and police officers regain strength in their bodies and confidence in their physical abilities. “They are no longer the same people who arrived with a disability. There are many disabled people who stayed locked in their homes. What we see is that sports provide them with a better quality of life,” she said. “There’s an energy that comes with riding a horse and you become transformed,” said former Colombian National Police Officer Leonardo Fuentes, who lost his left leg after stepping on a landmine during an operation against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) terrorist group in the Department of Antioquia in 2009. International cooperation is an important component of Colombia’s fight against terrorists and organized crime groups; it is also a key part of the government’s efforts to provide rehabilitation services for its wounded. Fuentes, 27, now competes as a jockey and is training to represent Colombia in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Riding in competitive races has renewed his self-confidence. “It’s not enough to merely understand the problem, recognize their heroism, or fill ourselves with emotion and possibly tears,” Pinzón said. “We have an obligation to act, to mobilize resources, pass laws, find ways to ensure that these people are not left behind, not even for a second.” “I had never ridden a horse and I don’t know if I would have. Who knows what my life would be like today if I wasn’t disabled,” Fuentes said. “What would I be doing? I don’t think I would be riding a horse. God works in mysterious ways.” For example, the use of technologically-advanced protective gear, like body armor, helped Colombian law enforcement and Military authorities reduce the number of uniformed security officers wounded in combat by 46 percent in 2014, compared to 2013. NGOs such as the Corpoalegría Foundation have joined the effort to provide rehabilitation services to injured Soldiers and police officers via equine therapy, for example, which allows people with injuries to ride horses as part of their recovery. Sports is an effective tool in helping injured people rehabilitate themselves, according to Corpoalegría president Jeannette Rosas. There were 431 uniformed security officers wounded in 2014, a significantly lower number than the 798 who were injured in combat or in terrorist attacks the previous year. There were 431 uniformed security officers wounded in 2014, a significantly lower number than the 798 who were injured in combat or in terrorist attacks the previous year. “I had never ridden a horse and I don’t know if I would have. Who knows what my life would be like today if I wasn’t disabled,” Fuentes said. “What would I be doing? I don’t think I would be riding a horse. God works in mysterious ways.” Engaging in athletics is one of the ways injured Troops and police officers participate in their own rehabilitation. The goal of the Disability Policy for the Defense and Security Sector is to provide wounded Troops and police officers rehabilitation services that allow them to recover from their injuries and succeed in civilian society. The government has spent $35 million dollars to purchase new equipment, such as body armor, to help Troops and police officers avoid injuries from landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Equine therapy can have a positive impact on an injured person in just a few weeks, Rosas explained. Fuentes, 27, now competes as a jockey and is training to represent Colombia in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Riding in competitive races has renewed his self-confidence. Colombian Soldiers and police officers that were wounded by landmines or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are helping themselves recover from their injuries by engaging in athletics. For example, the use of technologically-advanced protective gear, like body armor, helped Colombian law enforcement and Military authorities reduce the number of uniformed security officers wounded in combat by 46 percent in 2014, compared to 2013. The support of the Colombian government has renewed his faith in the world and helped him redirect his life, according to Fuentes. SOUTHCOM’s Science and Technology Division began working with JIEDDO experts and Colombia’s Vice-Minister of Defense’s Office, Joint Directorate for Explosives and Demining, and the Army’s Counter IED and Mines National Center to plan collaboratively against the weapon that insurgents and criminal organizations use so frequently in Colombia. International cooperation is key Together with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the Colombian government is providing a broad rehabilitative approach that includes sports to help wounded Troops and police officers. These services allow injured service members return to civilian life in a productive manner. But they are also making progress in better protecting the members of the security forces. During the launch of the policy, on September 2, 2014, Minister Pinzón spoke of the need to provide the best care available to injured Troops and police officers, who are considered “national heroes.” Encouraging the wounded to help themselves through athletics In July 2014, the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) joined efforts to collaborate with the Colombian Military and police in search of innovative ways to mitigate IED threats, according to SOUTHCOM information. The idea is to use the painful lessons learned by both countries, the investments made during years in research and development, and the collaborative minds of Colombian and U.S. experts committed to this fight, according to SOUTHCOM’s Public Affairs Office. The goal of the Disability Policy for the Defense and Security Sector is to provide wounded Troops and police officers rehabilitation services that allow them to recover from their injuries and succeed in civilian society. Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón is spearheading the establishment of the Disability Policy for the Defense and Security Sector, which provides funding for the rehabilitation of wounded service members. The policy also provides psychological services. In July 2014, the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) joined efforts to collaborate with the Colombian Military and police in search of innovative ways to mitigate IED threats, according to SOUTHCOM information. The idea is to use the painful lessons learned by both countries, the investments made during years in research and development, and the collaborative minds of Colombian and U.S. experts committed to this fight, according to SOUTHCOM’s Public Affairs Office. Colombia’s sitting volleyball team, which includes Soldiers who lost all or parts of their legs to landmines or IEDS, will also compete in the 2016 Rio Paralympics. In recent years, the Colombian government has allocated approximately $41 million dollars to provide rehabilitation services to wounded Soldiers, according to the Ministry of Defense. “In my case, I ride without prosthetics, but when I’m on the horse, I don’t feel like anything is missing,” Fuentes said. “It’s as if the horse’s legs were a part of me, as if they were my legs and we have become one. It’s a full synchronization. We are one being.” Cooperation goes a long way in supporting the injured Colombian Soldiers and police officers that were wounded by landmines or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are helping themselves recover from their injuries by engaging in athletics. “They are no longer the same people who arrived with a disability. There are many disabled people who stayed locked in their homes. What we see is that sports provide them with a better quality of life,” she said. Together with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the Colombian government is providing a broad rehabilitative approach that includes sports to help wounded Troops and police officers. These services allow injured service members return to civilian life in a productive manner. In recent years, the Colombian government has allocated approximately $41 million dollars to provide rehabilitation services to wounded Soldiers, according to the Ministry of Defense. By Dialogo February 18, 2015 NGOs such as the Corpoalegría Foundation have joined the effort to provide rehabilitation services to injured Soldiers and police officers via equine therapy, for example, which allows people with injuries to ride horses as part of their recovery. International cooperation is an important component of Colombia’s fight against terrorists and organized crime groups; it is also a key part of the government’s efforts to provide rehabilitation services for its wounded. The government is assisting the wounded with policies that will facilitate their recovery, but also encouraging them to help themselves and become active agents in their rehabilitation. Sports is an effective tool in helping injured people rehabilitate themselves, according to Corpoalegría president Jeannette Rosas. The support of the Colombian government has renewed his faith in the world and helped him redirect his life, according to Fuentes. Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón is spearheading the establishment of the Disability Policy for the Defense and Security Sector, which provides funding for the rehabilitation of wounded service members. The policy also provides psychological services. The government is assisting the wounded with policies that will facilitate their recovery, but also encouraging them to help themselves and become active agents in their rehabilitation. Colombia’s sitting volleyball team, which includes Soldiers who lost all or parts of their legs to landmines or IEDS, will also compete in the 2016 Rio Paralympics. International cooperation is key “It’s not enough to merely understand the problem, recognize their heroism, or fill ourselves with emotion and possibly tears,” Pinzón said. “We have an obligation to act, to mobilize resources, pass laws, find ways to ensure that these people are not left behind, not even for a second.” During the launch of the policy, on September 2, 2014, Minister Pinzón spoke of the need to provide the best care available to injured Troops and police officers, who are considered “national heroes.” SOUTHCOM’s Science and Technology Division began working with JIEDDO experts and Colombia’s Vice-Minister of Defense’s Office, Joint Directorate for Explosives and Demining, and the Army’s Counter IED and Mines National Center to plan collaboratively against the weapon that insurgents and criminal organizations use so frequently in Colombia.last_img read more

Colombian Navy Delivers Aid to Indigenous Communities

first_imgBy Myriam Ortega/Diálogo July 27, 2017 Life is not easy on Colombia’s Guajira Peninsula. Particularly in its highland area, where the climate is hot and fresh water is scarce. It is getting increasingly difficult to plant crops in the desert because rainfall patterns have changed, affecting the already few rainy periods. The ancestral seeds, which are more resilient in those climate conditions, are gradually disappearing. The scarcity of food is a fact of life, and the local residents, especially children, are very vulnerable. In addition, the people have difficulties accessing health services. Long distances and cultural differences present barriers to preventive health care and to the timely treatment of illnesses. That is why, faced with the urgency of providing the local population access to services, the Colombian Navy frequently holds “Development Assistance Days.” “After studying the needs of this population, the source of those needs, and the difficulties in maintaining a government presence there, we can act as coordinators and facilitators so that government services reach every last Colombian,” Chief Warrant Officer Harvee Jonnattan Barreto Garzón, a management adviser for the Colombian Navy’s Comprehensive Action program, told Diálogo. That is why the 15th Development Assistance Days were held the second and third weeks of June. The logistics support vessel ARC Golfo de Morrosquillo was deployed for mobilizing 100 people from 16 government agencies and private institutions who provided health services and humanitarian aid to the indigenous Wayuu, Arawak, and Wiwa communities. “Through these activities, we have been able to serve 2,500 people from these communities, on average, with services such as general medicine, pediatrics, dentistry, clinical labs, and vaccinations. Taking advantage of the resources available through the Colombian Navy, we provide humanitarian aid — [food], water, blankets, and gifts,” Captain Cesar Augusto Saavedra Díaz, the director of the Colombian Navy’s Comprehensive Action program, told Diálogo. “We’re also contributing to the sustainability of infrastructure projects through sudden-impact activities that allow us to improve their healthcare facilities, classrooms, and sports fields.” In the case of Guajira, the Navy’s intervention complements the Colombian president’s “Alliance for Water and Life in Guajira,” which has focused its efforts on this region. “The Colombian Navy is committed to the 13 communities that are permanently and especially supported in the highest part of Guajira,” Capt. Saavedra said. “Naval units are sent there every 40 days in an ongoing operation to serve these 13 communities.” The plan of work for these interventions in Guajira began in June 2015. The first development assistance days were held in September of that year, meaning that in less than two years, this mission has benefited 4,000 people in the communities of Punta Espada, Puerto López, Castilletes, Puerto Inglés, and Puerto Francés, among others. In this region, children die from malnutrition. The most important measure of success is undoubtedly to stop these types of situations from recurring in the communities served. Eight hundred twenty-one boxes of nutritional supplements, 5,000 food pantries, and 11 tons of “bienestarina,” a nutritious powder and liquid foodstuff produced by the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare have been delivered. Bienestarina contains a mix of cereals that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins. In addition, 1.5 million liters of water have been delivered, and 19 infrastructure projects, such as health centers, schools, and sports fields, have been enhanced. Continuing Promise Another big push by the Colombian Navy took place in March through “Continuing Promise,” a bilateral development mission performed under U.S. Southern Command’s Humanitarian Aid Program, with U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command. Out of that program, an infirmary was built at the Laachon Mayapo Rural Ethno-Educational Institute, which has two satellite classrooms and one infirmary that continually serve more than 1,200 students at the school. The materials were provided by the U.S. Embassy and labor by the Colombian Army and Navy. These projects are yet another way in which the Colombian Navy has established ties with these communities. “The Colombian Navy’s capabilities have been placed at the disposal of the Colombian people. We are at a moment when the people are seeing their military in a protective light, not in armed engagement. They are protecting families and taking people’s basic needs and feelings into account,” Chief Technician Barreto said. The leaders and beneficiaries of the development assistance days are grateful for these types of events since many have seen their lives improved because of them. Such is the case of Doña Justina, who was able to open one of her eyes for the first time in 28 years thanks to surgery on her eyelid affected by a tumor. Or Don Pedro, who after receiving various medical services expressed his gratitude by saying that not even his own father had ever done so much for him.last_img read more

Beyond the Pale: Iranian Regime’s Pattern of Depravity

first_imgBy ShareAmerica February 14, 2020 Ever since Islamic fundamentalists overthrew Iran’s government in 1979, the world has witnessed acts of aggression against other nations and peoples — and against the Iranian people themselves. From attacks on embassies — the very symbol of diplomacy and peaceful relations between nations — to hostage-taking, the murder of exiles and flat-out terrorism, the mullahs have flouted international law and left a trail of bloodshed in their wake.“Iran has a long history of unprovoked aggression, 40 years now, against its own people, against its neighbors, and indeed against civilization itself,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says. “From murdering and torturing their own people, to killing Americans from Lebanon to Iraq, to harboring al-Qaida even today, Iran has rampaged for four decades, and sadly with too few consequences.”Here are just a few examples.Storming embassiesInternational law recognizes embassies as inviolable. That means a host nation may not enter them without permission and, under the Vienna Convention, must protect them “against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.”Soon after the 1979 revolution, Iranian radicals stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. The clerical regime countenanced this, and even today, hostage-takers retain positions of responsibility in Iran’s government.Iran’s regime similarly was behind the December 31, 2019 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. General Qassem Soleimani was the chief architect. His henchmen, the leaders of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, rallied crowds outside the embassy, encouraging the attack.Taking hostagesThe Iranian regime’s hostage-taking extends beyond embassies. Ever since the 1979 hostage crisis, the regime has used people as bargaining chips to extract money or policy concessions from other governments. Foreigners who work, study or visit family in Iran are frequent hostage-taking targets.Dual nationals like American-Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi and British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe are special targets of the regime’s wrath. Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson has been missing in Iran for more than 12 years. The Rewards for Justice program is offering up to $20 million for information leading to Levinson’s safe return.Killing exilesThe Iranian regime kills its own citizens abroad in a crime spree that spans the globe.Sometimes the targets are former political figures like exiled former Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar, killed August 6, 1991, at his home in the Paris suburbs; or the Iranian Kurdish dissident dispatched in Vienna on July 13, 1989; or the opposition figure murdered in Istanbul on February 20, 1996. The killings have not been limited to political opponents. Writers and other intellectuals are among the regime’s favorite targets.Sponsoring terrorIran’s clerical regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, even if it hides behind the proxy forces that do its dirty work. Hezbollah is notable here. In June 1985, it hijacked TWA flight 847 in Athens. Hezbollah bombings in Paris, between December 1985 and June 1986, killed 12 people and wounded 200 others.On July 18, 1994, Iran’s regime supported a Hezbollah suicide bomber who drove a van packed with explosives into the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Society building in Buenos Aires. The bombing killed 85 people, including a 5-year-old boy, and injured 300 others.Authorities arrested an Iranian operative in July 2012, who was conducting surveillance on a synagogue in Sofia, Bulgaria. When Pompeo says the U.S. seeks “to convince the Iranian regime to behave like a normal nation,” he means Iran should stop actions like these.last_img read more

Peruvian National Police Rescues More than 500 Victims of Human Trafficking

first_imgBy Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo September 17, 2020 During the first half of 2020, law enforcement forces carried out 31 operations to combat human trafficking in Peru, rescuing 437 peruvian victims (including 68 minors) and 71 foreigners (including eight minors).The Peruvian Police Directorate for the Investigation of Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants published this information on July 30, on the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.In 2019, the figures were even higher, as there was no coronavirus emergency. Authorities carried out 161 operations and rescued 1,054 victims (907 women and 147 men), 25 percent of whom were children and teenagers.Nearly half of the 454 victims rescued in 2019 were foreigners. “This is due to the migratory influx of more than 1 million Venezuelans during the last two years,” Juan Antonio Fernández Jeri, general director for Democratic Security at the Ministry of the Interior, told TV Peru.“More than 300 Venezuelan women were victims of this scourge in 2019, in addition to 96 Ecuadorean and 54 Colombian nationals,” he said.One of the trafficking hot spots is the Peruvian Amazon, where traffickers bring teenagers from Colombia and Brazil to force them into prostitution in places known as “prostibares,” the news portal El País Brasil reported.According to the Blue Heart Campaign, a United Nations’ initiative against human trafficking, seven out of 10 victims in Peru are recruited through fake job offers.“Trafficking begins with the person’s recruitment, transfer, reception, and finally their exploitation,” Fernández Jeri said. “During this process, the potential victim is deceived several times to generate confusion.”The official explained that international networks do not operate in Peru; rather, family groups join forces to commit the crime. “In the case of labor exploitation, they mainly go to areas with extractive industries, such as illegal mining sites in departments like Madre de Dios,” he said.The military presence has deterred trafficking in certain regions of the country. “In La Pampa, since February, there has been a permanent presence of armed and police forces, which has minimized this type of criminal action,” Fernández Jeri said.last_img read more

Judges say politics are interfering with independence

first_imgJudges say politics are interfering with independence October 15, 2001 Assistant Editor Regular News Judges say politics are interfering with independence Amy K. Brown Assistant EditorA League of Women Voters of Tallahassee survey recently revealed that many judges in Florida believe politics are increasingly infringing on their ability to do their jobs.Florida’s 833 judges at all levels of the state judicial system were polled about their feelings on judicial independence, with 74 responding — about a 10 percent response rate. The responses were almost entirely anonymous, with judges only noting their years on the bench and the level of court they serve on.“This is a rare window into some of their thoughts and opinions about recent happenings that will affect the judiciary,” said Lynda Russell, president of the League’s Tallahassee chapter.Bar President Terry Russell said the survey was “a great opportunity to see how judges feel about judicial independence, which of course translates to their ability to be impartial, unbiased, fair, and unpolitical.”Russell said there is now a greater need than ever before to ensure the ability of the courts to protect and maintain their independence.“Judicial independence, of course, is the cornerstone of our democracy,” he said. “The fact that judges predictably believe they have to be free and independent to do their jobs is of extraordinary importance to a free and civil society.” A lmost 60 percent of respondents preferred appointing judges, according to the survey, and less than 28 percent liked the election of judges. The statistics also show that the longer a judge has served on the bench, the more strongly he or she supports appointment rather than election. For those judges with greater than 10 years experience on the bench, nearly 68 percent endorsed the appointment process, while for judges with less than 10 years experience, nearly 44 percent endorsed appointment, and another 22 percent had no preference.An overwhelming majority of the judges agreed that voters are generally uninformed regarding judicial candidates’ qualifications, and that there is no simple way to make them informed. Only two percent of respondents endorsed partisan elections for judges, and one commented, “[A]t least party labels would give voters some rough indication of the type of individual for whom they were voting.”The remaining 98 percent agreed that, if judicial elections were to continue, they should remain nonpartisan. The judges included comments such as, “Politics has no place in the judicial branch of government” and “Partisan elections would further undermine the public’s waning confidence in the judiciary.”Some of the judges expressed concern that elections of judges tend to be “popularity contests,” rather than merit-based races, and that the best way to guarantee quality judges is through the merit selection and retention process.Almost 77 percent of the judges believed the judicial appointment process has been fair, but more than 94 percent believed the new system — which gives the governor increased power over the appointment of judicial nominating commission members — will weaken the nomination process.While some respondents commented that the JNC system is biased “against the appointment of blacks and women,” many of the judges agreed the process has great potential for reducing the influence of politics in selecting judges. A weakness in the system, one judge noted, is the “public perception of the process being fixed.” Several judges called for more involvement from attorneys and the Bar, saying “the unfairness enters the system through the governor’s office,” and “the governor has too much control over the nomination process.”Others worry the new process will only increase the governor’s power. One judge commented, “[G]iving the governor a virtual veto power over commission members will ensure that nominees who share the governor’s political persuasion are chosen.” Some added, “Politics getting involved is never good for perception or reality,” and “merit has now dropped to fourth place, after race, gender, and now political ideology.”The judges’ recommendations for improving the appointment process were varied, but many noted problems arise when the Bar’s power is removed or lessened. Others noted “the removal of civics from our secondary education curriculum has eroded the public’s understanding of the courts,” and still others suggested a return to the former system. Legislative Involvement Nearly 96 percent of the judges believed the legislature should not be involved with judicial rulemaking. “How can judicial decisions be independent and unbiased if mandated by another and separate branch of government?” one judge asked.Almost 45 percent of the judges found that restrictions on hearing cases have limited their ability to render justice, but almost 81 percent said limits on judicial discretion have limited their ability to render justice. Many respondents cite sentencing restrictions and guidelines, and minimum mandatory sentences as having “taken discretion from judges.”“The legislature seems to want to. . . micromanage our sentencing process,” one judge commented. “[T]his can result in many forms of injustice,” another added. One judge even went as far as to comment that the legislature’s guidelines result “in the truly evil avoiding punishment and the technically guilty being senselessly incarcerated more often than should be tolerated in a free society.” Public Perception The Judicial Qualifications Commission system for disciplining judges effectively protects the public, according to 85 percent of the judges. Some offered suggestions for improvement, including “speed up the process,” and that it “should be more public,” but the majority believed the JQC disciplines effectively. Some, however, argued “there is a bias against conservative and elected judges,” and several others were not familiar with the JQC process or track record.The judges’ biggest concerns related to judicial independence seem evenly spread among the public perception that judges should be more responsive to the current mood of the public, attacks on the judiciary by other branches of government or special interest groups, and the failure of the public and the legislature to realize the need for a fully independent judiciary. The judges’ solutions to those concerns are fairly equally divided between education of the public and the other branches of government, and institution of merit selection and retention across the board.One of the most revealing statistics shows that nearly 95 percent of respondents admitted they are conscious of the ramifications of making an unpopular ruling, and 25 percent said this happens often. Although no respondents admitted this affects their rulings, almost 83 percent believed other judges are affected. Many of the judges commented that, “it’s part of the job”; however, some agreed it’s inevitable to worry about the possible ramifications of a case, given recent attacks on the courts and the increased likelihood for a judge not to be reelected. Others said they often spend extra time drafting an order or judgment that is likely to be met with negative public response, if only to “appear as neutral as possible.”“It’s not a popularity contest, and I expect I make decisions all the time that others don’t like,” one judge commented. “If I were concerned about making everyone happy, I certainly wouldn’t have chosen this profession.”Many respondents offered lifetime appointment as a solution to this increased pressure, and some suggested public financing of campaigns. However, the majority of comments recommended increased judicial independence and merit selection to prevent rulings from being influenced by public opinion. Several judges called on the Bar and other groups to educate the public, especially in response to the type of public outcry which resulted from the presidential election cases.“Although [the judges’] political parties and alleged biases were widely reported, when their decisions were impartially rendered,. . . nothing was said to correct the matter publicly,” one judge said. “It was a very, very unfair situation and very unfair to some highly intelligent, dedicated judges.”In his closing statements, Russell noted the league’s survey is important to all Florida lawyers, especially in light of requests by the responding judges for help from the Bar.“The Florida Bar stands firmly with the League of Women Voters with respect to judicial independence,” he said. The survey “is well, well worth review by the public, the media, and us.”The “Judicial Independence Project” survey was funded by grants from the League of Women Voters Education Fund, the Open Society Institute, and voluntary contributions from Florida lawyers.last_img read more