Brazil Will Assist in Liberation of FARC Hostages if Objective is Humanitarian

first_imgBy Dialogo June 24, 2009 The government of Brazil is prepared to facilitate the liberation of hostages held by the Colombian FARC guerillas so long as the purpose is humanitarian and not political, the Brazilian chancellor, Celso Amorim, indicated in an interview published in Bogotá on Tuesday. “If the opportunity arises without any political intentions, in a purely humanitarian operation, we would do it, as we have before,” the chancellor – who recently visited Colombia – told the daily El Tiempo. Amorim indicated that at the moment there is no process of facilitation ongoing, and he emphasized that any Brazilian cooperation would need the the blessing of the Colombian government and exclude “the taking on of any roles that are not immediately useful.” In February, Brazil granted the use of its helicopters and pilots to receive two politicians, three members of the police, and a soldier who were in the FARC’s power in the Colombian jungle, after a request made by President Álvaro Uribe’s government. On April 16, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced the unilateral release of Army Cpl. Pablo Emilio Moncayo, kidnapped 11 years ago, but his release has not taken place due to Uribe’s refusal to allow opposition senator Piedad Córdoba to attend the handover, as demanded by the rebel group. Besides Moncayo, the Marxist guerrilla group holds another twenty-one police and military personnel and demands for their release a humanitarian agreement envisioning an exchange for captured members of the group. Brazil has offered its territory for carrying out this process, Amorim recalled.last_img read more

Neruda’s Editor Says That The Poet Is A Classic Like Shakespeare Or Cervantes

first_imgBy Dialogo August 13, 2009 An expert on Pablo Neruda’s poetry and the editor of his complete works, Hernán Loyola, believes that the continuing vigor of the Chilean poet’s legacy makes him a classic “on a level with Cervantes, Shakespeare, or Dante.” Loyola appraised Neruda’s work at Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP) in Santander (in northern Spain), where he is offering a course on “Pablo Neruda: From Modernity to Postmodernity in the Twentieth Century,” in which he defends the poet’s continuing significance “despite the fact that his ideology, communism, is dead.” With regard to the Chilean poet’s political side, he explained that “he fought his last ideological battle after having died,” when Augusto Pinochet’s recently-installed dictatorial regime “gave in to the followers who attended the poet’s funeral.” Loyola considers Neruda an “absolute bestseller of twentieth-century poetry,” who despite the passage of years, is still being published, sold, “and copied by people in love, now using text messages.” In his opinion, Neruda is “an all-encompassing poet” because his work “embodies love, the political, the historical, the public, and the private,” enabling him “to define the human condition and transcend any particular era.” Hernán Loyola explained that Neruda’s work is “shamelessly egocentric,” but that, like other universal classics, “he was able to journey through himself to reach others and the world” and sum up “how they interact and how the relationship between the individual and what surrounds him is constructed.”last_img read more

Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Seeks to Expand in Latin America

first_imgBy Dialogo December 02, 2010 The situation of those Men and Women of Faith who profess the religion of Islam is a very difficult one, and they are a minority. To equate them with terrorists would be to play into the came of the actual offenders. On the other hand, in our country there has never existed bloody confrontations, what’s more, in the towns there are no differences, and the majorities are immigrants, always putting first the solidarity between different migratory currents. Reflection and tact, respect and consideration for the differences, will take us to a HUMAN co-existence – not stigmatize, is a way to resist the violent offenders. The Ahmadiyya group are considered to be non-Muslims by the majority of Muslim scholars in Islam. May the true and peaceful Islam reign supreme over all those seeking to spread violence and discord. Very good news. I can find hardly any information from the community. There is no webpage for Latin America in Colombia, is there? The Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community announced in the Guatemalan capital that it is seeking to expand in Latin America by sending missionaries to Colombia and Chile and with the possible construction of a mosque in El Salvador. “The objective is to start over in those countries and reestablish Islamic missions,” after failures in South America in 1992 and in Central America in 1988, the Community’s spokesperson in the United States, Waseem Sayed, said at a press conference while visiting Guatemala. Sayed explained that he headed a 1988 delegation to establish missions in the countries of Central America, except for Nicaragua, “but it wasn’t possible.” Nevertheless, he said that there are members of the Community in El Salvador, for which reason they are studying the possibility of buying a piece of land and building a mosque in 2011. The vice-president of the Community in the United States, Daud A. Hanif, specified that the religious group was able to enter Guatemala in 1989, when they founded their first mosque, while this year they inaugurated another in Quetzaltenango, the country’s second most important city, 206 km west of the capital. The religious leader also dismissed the possibility that true Muslims could be behind terrorist attacks, like those that took place in the United States on 11 September 2001. According to the leader, the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is made up of around 200 million people in 197 countries and is recognized by the international community and the United Nations as peaceful.last_img read more

Abandoned Aircraft in Ecuador Allegedly Linked to Mexican Drug Traffickers

first_imgBy Dialogo January 30, 2013 A light airplane allegedly linked to Mexican drug traffickers was abandoned on a coastal area in Ecuador, where last year three other aircrafts linked to drug trafficking were found, Ecuadorean authorities informed on January 28. The aircraft “was presumably slated to be used for transporting drugs,” Minister of Interior José Serrano stated in his Twitter account. The Ministry said that “evidence coming from Mexico, specifically from Sinaloa, was found inside the plane,” such as egg boxes from a company out of Mexico. “The aircraft’s license plate is altered, so that it appears to be an Ecuadorean plane. However, technicians are verifying its origin,” Manuel Espinoza, prosecutor in charge, told the press. On November 19, 2012, the Ecuadorean Police had seized 576.6 kg of cocaine and an aircraft in the coastal town of Santa Elena (southwest). Meanwhile, on May 13, 2012, a similar aircraft with Mexican registration crashed against a hill in the town of Pedernales, province of Manabí (west), killing its two Mexican occupants. Inside the plane, $1.3 million was found, which would be aimed at drug trafficking operations, according to Serrano. Similarly, the Ecuadorean Air Force detected another Mexican-flagged private light aircraft in early June last year.last_img read more

Honduran Man Linked to Colombian and Mexican Narcotics Operations

first_img On April 9, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the designation of Honduran national Jose Miguel Handal Perez (a.k.a. “Chepe Handal”), as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker (SDNT) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. Handal’s wife, Ena Elizabeth Hernandez Amaya; his father, Jose Miguel Handal Larach; and several of Handal’s companies located in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, were also designated SDNTs on the same date. The companies include Corporación Handal, which is comprised of various business ventures including a general merchandise and auto parts store; Supertiendas & Autopartes Handal; JM Troya, a motorcycle brand; and Cleopatra’s, a clothing store. The designation under the Kingpin Act generally prohibit U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with the individuals involved, and also freeze any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction. Chepe Handal is the head of a Honduran-based drug trafficking organization (DTO) responsible for the coordination and distribution of multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombian supply sources into Honduras. The supplies are distributed to Mexican DTOs, including the Sinaloa and Los Zetas cartels, led by Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman Loera and Miguel Trevino Morales, respectively. Handal invests in and coordinates the receipt of drug-laden aircraft departing from Apure, Venezuela into Honduras via clandestine airstrips. He also facilities the movement of these drug shipments out of Honduras by land to Guatemala, where members of the Los Zetas and Sinaloa cartels take possession. “Chepe Handal plays a critical role in the transportation and distribution of drug shipments between South America and the Sinaloa and Los Zetas cartels,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. “Today’s action underscores OFAC’s commitment to targeting and disrupting key facilitators of the drug trade wherever they may be.” On March 3, 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida indicted Chepe Handal with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine with knowledge that it will be unlawfully imported into the United States. OFAC has identified 97 drug kingpins and designated more than 1,200 businesses and individuals. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals face up to 10 years in prison and fines for criminal violation of the Kingpin Act pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code. By Dialogo April 11, 2013last_img read more

Bolivia Seizes 7.7 Tons of Cocaine This Year

first_imgBy Dialogo May 22, 2013 From January to date, the Bolivian police seized 7.7 tons of cocaine – paste and hydrochloride – of which 50% came from Peru, Counter Drug Chief Col. Gonzalo Quezada reported on May 20, in La Paz. According to the United Nations, Bolivia is the third largest producer of coca crops and cocaine after Peru and Colombia, and it seized 38 tons of coca paste and cocaine hydrochloride in 2012, while making efforts for three decades to reduce coca crops, which now total an area of 29,200 hectares. “We are going to conduct two important operations in border areas,” Col. Quezada stated, and added that actions will start “in the next 60 days.” The chief of police also reported that Peru has requested to conduct trinational counter drug operations with Brazil, since the cocaine departing Peru towards Bolivia, as well as the cocaine produced by Bolivia, is mainly shipped to Brazil, and then to Europe. “From January to date, we have seized 7.7 tons of cocaine,” Bolivian Director of Counter Narcotics Special Force (FELCN) Quezada told the press, adding that “a great deal of the drug, about 50%, came from Peru.” Bolivia, located in the heart of South America, shares a 1,131-kilometer border with Peru, and a 3,133-km one with Brazil.last_img read more

The Importance of Mine Warfare for Brazil

first_imgBy Dialogo March 21, 2014 Mine warfare is the knowledge and skill necessary to use sea mines and annul their effects when employed as an instrument of aggression. Its operation is divided into undermining (launch of the mines) and mining countermeasures (destruction of launched mines or of those pending launch). A submarine mine is an explosive device with the purpose of breaking the surface of naval assets or submarines, or disrupting maritime traffic in a given area. There are contact mines, which are activated when the ship comes in contact with it, and influence mines, which are activated by a variation of acoustic, magnetic and environmental pressure that surrounds them. These different types of mines can be launched off ships, submarines and aircrafts. The Brazilian Navy launches the majority of its mines from ships and submarines. The first mines were used in the American Civil War, but it was during World War II that they were used on a large scale. The best example was Operation Starvation, undertaken by the Americans against the Japanese, when planes launched 12,000 mines that destroyed three-quarters of Japan’s Merchant Navy. The result, in addition to the immeasurable losses, was a substantial war effort made by the Japanese to clean these mines, for which 349 sweeper vessels were used. The result could not have been more significant: 670 Japanese ships were sunk while the United States lost only 15 aircraft in the operation. During the entire conflict 500,000 mines were launched, sinking 1,500 ships and damaging another 500. Another example is the Korean War, where the landing of 50,000 soldiers, who were onboard 250 ships, was delayed for eight days so that the sweeper ships could clean the area, and due to the postponed landing, U.S. forces lost the surprise effect for the military action. During this operation, the U.S. Naval Force commander said that they had, “lost control of the sea for reed boats,” used by the North Koreans to launch mines. However, in the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein ordered the release of obsolete mines in 10 maritime areas within the Persian Gulf, close to Kuwait, causing the coalition forces to take 40 days to undertake mining countermeasure operations, and the USS Princeton and USS Liberty destroyers were seriously damaged. The effectiveness of mines was proven in numerous conflicts and they continue to be potential agents of destruction against naval assets From an economic perspective, the value of a mine is relatively low, between $1,500 and $100,000. In the case of the USS Samuel Roberts, a mine costing only $1,500 caused a 96 million dollar loss to the United States. The same type of mine created a three million dollar cost in repairs to the USS Tripoli. The mine may be referred to as, “the weapon for the weaker against the stronger.” Any country has the capacity to carry on this kind of war, where any type of vessel can be used, such as fishing vessels or tugs. Also, it is a cleaner war, because it usually gives the enemy the opportunity to decide whether or not to enter the mined areas, assuming the risk of possible losses. For Brazil, the mine is an excellent weapon to defend their territory, given the different social and economic demands still pending, and it was proven to be a priority investment for the country’s government. Considering the strategic significance of the mine war, the sea is essential to Brazil and its use should be ensured by an appropriate and capable military force. About 95% of Brazil’s foreign trade is done by sea, and 85% of the nation’s oil is extracted from the so-called Blue Amazon area. Virtually, the entire Brazilian coast can be undermined and the simple announcement of the existence of mines in the vicinity of a port already creates enough apprehension to disrupt the maritime traffic. The fact that Brazil demonstrates the ability to undermine and to neutralize mines that are thrown in its waters is a factor of great importance for its national defense. In the face of new demands that arise in the coming years, as, for example, the construction of a nuclear submarine and its own naval base, the Brazilian Naval Operations Command deemed necessary to restructure mine warfare within the Brazilian Navy. The Equipment and Articulation Plan of the Brazilian Navy provides for the inclusion of minesweeper ships into the Brazilian Navy’s inventory and, as is now well known within Brazil, this is now an indispensable resource for naval operations’ mining countermeasures. The restructure proposes to divide the ships into strategically positioned squadrons in order to provide clean canals, ensuring the exit and entrance of nuclear submarines into the base and meeting the mine-hunting needs in other points of the Brazilian coast. Besides, it involves the creation of a military organization for the overall coordination of mine warfare affairs to identify and prioritize its needs, thus achieving a greater degree of efficiency and resource conservation. This will be a Mine Warfare Center with specific tasks regarding the development of doctrines and tactics in this area, the maintenance of an interest database, the implementation and operational analysis of the resources and systems of mine warfare, orientation and courses, and the concentration of the existing information. Additionally, a training plan will be created to address the needs for specialists, undergraduate and graduate education for military personnel (officers and soldiers) and civilian students who are performing mine warfare activities, which require well-trained teams to be executed, state-of-the-art equipment and compatible logistical support, because the mines always become treacherous and difficult enemies to neutralize, representing serious threats to those who are transiting mined areas. Excellent comment regarding the War Against Mines in the country. I work at GAAGueM (War Against Mines Assessment and Training Group – MB/2DN), and I live this routine daily. I would like to read other articles related to landmines in Brazil. Nilson Campos de Sousa | 2015-05-10Excellent comment about the landmines in the country. I work for the GAAGueM (Mine Warfare Training and Evaluation Group – MB/2DN), and that is my daily routine.last_img read more

Honduran Campaign to Counter Drug Crime Includes Help of Civilians

first_img Diálogo: The spokesperson for the National Police, Deputy Commissioner Leonel Sauceda, told Diálogo that most of the violent deaths in this country are drug related. Do you share that conclusion, and what will you do to reverse the situation? Col. Santos: In the first three months since this campaign was launched (from May 11 to August 14, 2015), the campaign yielded some results in spite of the fact that the process for investigating reports includes steps that require defined periods of time, particularly with regard to small-scale drug dealing, but the main effect has been the opening of more investigation files aimed at disbanding gangs that distribute and traffic drugs. So in the same period of 2014, we seized 102.5 kg of cocaine hydrochloride, but in 2015 we seized 308 kg. With regard to crack, there was a decrease, because we seized 70 rocks in 2015, while 167 in 2014. As for the reports we received during the same time period, in 2014 we received 32 cases, but in 2015 we have received 112 reports. In an interview with Diálogo, DLCN’s chief, Infantry Colonel Isaac Santos, discusses the success of the campaign, which was launched in May 2015 by the Honduran Prosecutor’s Office (MP). Col. Santos: We want to engage with the populace to provide anonymous tips and help in the fight against illegal drug trafficking, money laundering, and related crimes, thereby reducing and, in the mid-term, eliminating the sale of drugs to vulnerable sectors of the population. We also aim to arrest those who are committing this crime. Citizens can report people, criminal organizations, and criminal activities related to the illegal drug market, chemical precursors and any activity involved in the commissions of money laundering and related offenses. To summarize, our goals for this year are: to break the ties between drug traffickers and the population; reduce by at least 20% the incidence of drug-related crimes, particularly the high rates of violence; to educate the population on the culture of reporting crimes as a means to improve their own welfare; expand our database on people involved in drug trafficking, including mapping the occurrence of drug sales and what drugs are sold in order to involve our detectives in the process of managing this information; and spread the report system throughout the region to generate immediate responses. Col. Santos: It is an invaluable contribution of information to identify the groups or gangs of criminals involved in drug trafficking and street-level or small-scale drug dealing, including the areas where they operate, identifying the leaders, the money laundering networks, about shipments of precursor chemicals, and other related offenses. In addition, citizen contributions represent how tired and angry people are over seeing their children suffer from drug addiction and fall victim to the violence spurred on by the drug scourge. It is basic to the continuity of this campaign to gather more domestic and international resources for greater dissemination through the results and achievements we’ve seen, and to create a process for prevention education targeting children and adolescents who live in the most at-risk areas. Diálogo: What are the main goals of the “Únete a Nuestra Lucha” campaign? The “Únete a Nuestra Lucha” [Join Our Fight] campaign gives Honduras’ civilian population the opportunity to cooperate with the Drug Enforcement Bureau (DLCN) to reduce and eliminate the sale of narcotics and to disband drug-trafficking gangs. Diálogo: What does including citizens through this campaign mean for your work? By Dialogo August 25, 2015 I CONGRATULATE YOU FOR YOUR IMPORTANT ARTICLES AND WE BROADCAST THEM ON LOS ANDES RADIO STATION IN CHOTA, PERU Nothing more fair than to take these measures. Drugs have to be fought YOUR NEWS ARTICLES ARE VERY GOOD. FROM VENEZUELA, I CONGRATULATE YOU Fighting drug trafficking should reduce violence. That’s good. Let’s assume the USA is 100% successful and the country is free of drugs. I imagine that millions of drug addicts will protest and revolt: consequence — deaths and property damage? good news Diálogo: What are some of the first results you’ve achieved in the short time the campaign has run, compared with the same period last year? Diálogo: How can Hondurans participate, and what sort of response have you had so far? Col. Santos: We have started telephone lines, pages on social networks, websites, e-mail addresses, advertisements on radio, TV, and in newspapers, as well as signs in shopping centers, airports, high-traffic areas, and government offices. Any citizen who wishes to cooperate with the DLNC can call (800) 2221-8263 in Tegucigalpa, 2252-4109 in San Pedro Sula or from cellphones (00504) 9940-2222 or 3140-2222. In addition, they can find us on Facebook as, we are on Twitter as, our e-mail is and our website is According to surveys conducted by our personnel, citizens approve of our reporting and awareness campaign. It is worth pointing out that the participation levels at the beginning were very high, particularly for reports coming from neighborhoods and outlying areas of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula; they exceeded 100 reports a day. After the first month, the number of reports decreased until they stabilized at an average of 20 reports a day. The decrease occurred because, more than anything else, people were reporting a variety of crimes, not just drug trafficking or money laundering, but also extortion, domestic violence, traffic in children, death threats, and environmental offenses, among others. Col. Santos: I agree with you completely, since according to studies conducted by the Bureau of Forensic Medicine under the Prosecutor’s Office, the increase in violent deaths over the last four years has been directly influenced by two basic factors. First is the violence generated by the increase in drug use, such as crack cocaine, in the neighborhoods on the outskirts of large and medium-sized cities. And second, probably as a consequence of the first, is the violence caused by the fight for drug distribution and sales markets and control over that territory by drug dealing gangs and transnational gangs like Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 (MS-18), as well as local gangs like “Los Chirizos,” “El Combo que no se Deja,” “Los Benjamines,” and “Los Grillos,” among others. To solve this violent situation, we need to bring back the integrity of the family, the basic values of behavior and coexistence, and therefore, since the beginning, this campaign has broken the shadow of silence and fear people were living under, and now they are filing these reports, demonstrating again that we are fed up with our children being victimized by violence and drugs.last_img read more

Argentina, Chile Participate in Joint Training Exercise to Prepare for UN Peacekeeping Missions

first_img“The results of the exercise were exceedingly positive, and we achieved the objectives we set out to accomplish: perfectly coordinated work; the fostering of harmony among the officers, training, and doctrines; and the strengthening of the relationship between the Chilean and Argentine Armed Forces,” Maj. Gen. Ascazuri said. “The purpose of the training was to better prepare ourselves for future deployments of the Combined Peacekeeping Force (FPCC) of Cruz del Sur during peacekeeping missions and to test readiness levels of the Argentine and Chilean Armed Forces,” Maj. Gen. Ascazuri said in an interview with Diálogo. By Dialogo October 19, 2015 Helping to keep the peace To build a strong sense of teamwork, Cruz del Sur III, which authorities started planning in December 2014, combined nearly 700 Argentine Troops and 380 Chilean service members through six training scenarios. “This is the first time that we have performed the exercise with all three branches of the Militaries from the two countries,” Maj. Gen. Ascazuri explained. “This is a unique training opportunity, and it allows us to test our interoperational abilities and to foster healthy and strong camaraderie.” A group of Military reviewers evaluated the Troops’ performance during the exercises, according to Defensa. The evaluators included two officers and one non-commissioned officer (NCO) from the Argentine Federal Police; a Chilean Navy officer; two officers and an NCO from the Brazilian Marines; an Argentine Naval NCO; a Paraguayan Army officer; two officers from the Argentine Air Force; and an officer and an NCO from the Chilean Marines – all of whom were also instructors at the Argentine Joint Training Center for Peace Missions (CAECOPAZ, for its Spanish acronym). During the joint exercises, the Argentine Armed Forces deployed the Meko ARA Gómez Roca and the Punta Alta, both multipurpose boats, along with Bell 212 and Huey II helicopters. Chile also deployed the Marinero Fuentealba patrol vessel; Bell 412 and AS-532 helicopters; and heavy and light land vehicles. Positive evaluations Argentine and Chilean service members also contribute to various UN operations, such as the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in the Middle East, and the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Hundreds of Troops engaged in multiple scenarios The training program helped the countries’ Troops sharpen their abilities to carry out the responsibilities of the FPCC Cruz del Sur, which includes providing a Military presence in a crisis following a UN Security Council resolution; preventing escalations of violence; assisting, monitoring, and facilitating ceasefires; providing safety to people whose lives are threatened by conflict; and administering general humanitarian assistance. “The relationship between Argentina and Chile in the defense sector has been very good for a number of years. We are continuously working together on various exercises,” Maj. Gen. Ascazuri said. “We actively seek to help the community. Finally, there is also a fantastic mutual predisposition to collaborate – especially during times of crisis and catastrophe.” “The exercises were performed with the approval of procedures whose techniques were brought in line with the norms established by the United Nations. All the exercises performed were relevant because not all personnel who participated had the appropriate amount of knowledge or experience with these types of procedures,” Maj. Gen. Ascazuri said. From September 27-October 1, about 1,100 Troops from the Argentine and Chilean Armed Forces participated in Cruz del Sur III, a bi-national training exercise to support future United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions in which the two Militaries will work together cooperatively. It took place on the Puerto Belgrado Naval Base in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, under the direction of Major General Héctor Aníbal Ascazuri of the Argentine Air Force, with Chilean Navy Rear Admiral Jorge Rodríguez serving as co-director. “Military personnel from the two countries performed Naval, ground, and aerial maneuvers. They also received training in all of the following: medical evacuations; transportation of equipment and personnel; casualty assistance; convoy escorts; checkpoint operations; monitoring of roads with unpredictable conditions; embarkation, search, and retrieval of maritime vessels; and negotiation operations.” In 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding established the FPCC, which began working with the UN in 2012. Its leadership is organized by the Bi-national Military Authority, which is comprised of Armed Forces officials for ground, Naval, and aerial forces from both countries and and appointed Joint Chief of Staff – a role that alternates annually between Argentina and Chile. The Cruz del Sur training program also operates under the auspices of the Bi-National Military Authority. Argentine Defense Minister Agustín Rossi, together with Chilean Minister of Defense José Antonio Gómez Urrutia, attended the training exercise’s last phase. “Argentina and Chile are dedicated to developing our Military forces by way of the United Nations to achieve peace wherever it is needed throughout the world,” Rossi told Télam, the Argentine national news agency. last_img read more

Information Sharing is Key to Fight Security Challenges

first_imgBy Geraldine Cook/Diálogo May 24, 2018 Surveillance, search, and rescue at sea are the daily duties of the Haitian Coast Guard. Haitian Police Commissioner Joseph Jean-Mary Wagnac, director of the Coast Guard, keeps busy to protect the island’s 1,535-kilometer coastline from drug trafficking, contraband, human smuggling, and other transnational illegal activities at sea. Commissioner Wagnac participated at the 5th Caribbean Region Information Operations Council (CRIOC) in Kingston, Jamaica, from March 26-29, 2018. He was one of the Caribbean representatives at the event to foster regional collaboration, strengthen relationships, increase Information Operations (IO) capabilities to counter common threats affecting the region, and support coordinated hurricane-relief operations. Commissioner Wagnac spoke with Diálogo about his participation at CRIOC, IO, and regional security challenges among other topics. Diálogo: What is the importance of Haiti’s participation at the 5th CRIOC conference in Jamaica? Haitian Police Commissioner Joseph Jean-Mary Wagnac, director of the Coast Guard: Information Operations are very important for the Coast Guard. Last year, I couldn’t attend, but I’m so glad to be here now. Diálogo: What does Haiti expect to achieve with its participation at this event? Commissioner Wagnac: Sharing information amongst partner nations is very important for our operations. Most of the time we obtain relevant information from partner nations. If we share information, it can make our job easier. We want to continue sharing information in real time. Diálogo: What are Haiti’s most important security challenges? Commissioner Wagnac: We have a lot of challenges because we have a big coast to protect and we don’t have enough capacity to do the job. Combating drug trafficking and fighting illegal immigration and contraband are the most important security challenges we are facing today. Even though we only have a few boats and our capacity is minimal, we patrol every day, and do the best we can. We are catching a lot of people and are fighting illegal trafficking and merchandise. Diálogo: Is terrorism a security threat for Haiti? Commissioner Wagnac: No. Until now, we haven’t had this kind of security threat, but we need to be prepared. Diálogo: Why is collaboration, partnership, and exchange among partner nations, including the United States, so important in achieving a common IO criteria to fight transnational organized crime? Commissioner Wagnac: If we don’t have the people to help, we won’t get the job done. It’s important to have good relationships and good communication with our partners outside of the country. If I track and follow a boat, keep the information, and don’t share it with neighboring countries, the criminals are going to do whatever they want at sea. If we share information, I can call my partners to let them know about the threat. We have a special collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Bahamas Coast Guard, and the Jamaican Coast Guard, amongst others in the region, as we share information, even by WhatsApp, email, etc. Our relationship with the U.S. is continuous. I have a representative from U.S. Coast Guard, District 7 based in Haiti, who is in touch with me 24/7, and we share information and training. We have at least 20-30 people training every year in different institutions in the United States to help our staff acquire new capabilities. In the past, we have worked a lot with Colombia also. We are open to working with countries in the region fighting transnational organized crime. Diálogo: Why is it important for military forces to build strong relationships and respond jointly to natural disasters? Commissioner Wagnac: Natural disasters are an important topic for us as we are in a country affected permanently with them. Partner nations working together help to prepare and support us when natural disasters occur. Diálogo: Is IO a new topic at the Haitian Coast Guard? Commissioner Wagnac: It isn’t new. However, this is our first participation in CRIOC. It’s much better to have CRIOC help us see how we can share information and solve problems together. Information is power, and CRIOC is connecting countries in the region working together in terms of information sharing and information campaigns. Diálogo: What progress has the Haitian Coast Guard made on gender integration? Commissioner Wagnac: We are a small coast guard, as we are a little more than 200 people. Approximately 13 percent of our personal are women, and they do a variety of jobs such as mechanics and many other support duties. Diálogo: What message do you want to send each of the countries participating in the 2018 event? Commissioner Wagnac: We have to be as one team to do the best job for the security of our region. We need to work more closely and be ready to help each other, and information sharing plays a major role. Sharing information is the single most important communication if you want the job to be done right.last_img read more