Violence In Latin America Is An “Epidemic,” OAS Secretary-General Says

first_imgBy Dialogo August 26, 2010 It is true that the violence was not overcome, but we have to get to the bottom of the real causes i.e.: the unfairness, the injustice in land occupancy, the different ways to call poverty in towns; shanties, shacks, small farms etc. Today, the old school politicians don’t fulfill the ideas and expectations of the citizens. These urgently need to have the day-to-day living problems solved; water, electricity, health, housing, education, citizen protection, laws of the land that promote this. The political parties that have failed were because they did not deliver on the promises made to the citizens but replaced them with their own political party’s interests. Violence in a country is due to unsatisfactory demands and uncontrolled corruption. A country should have a par excellence Executive, Legislative and Judicial Power independent and free of corruption, and transparency laws for fiscal organizations. These days it is not uncommon in a country with excessive violence for its Armed forces to intervene in order to assist the local police. The European Economic Community was formed in order to form an economic block with its own currency and it has succeeded in raising the economic status of its members. Because of the number of inhabitants, China is a self-sufficient Asian Economic Community. North and South America, Central America and Canada should think about forming an economic Block for the XXII century, “Unity is Strength”. The violence in some Latin American countries with high murder rates can be compared to an “epidemic,” the secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, declared. Insulza said in San José that of the ten countries around the world where the most crimes are committed, “more than half” are in Latin America, and that if the murder rates in some cities in the region were calculated applying the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), the violence would be classified as an epidemic. “There are a number of (Latin American) cities in which (violence) is a true epidemic that at some point we should confront,” Insulza declared Monday evening while lecturing at the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, headquartered in the Costa Rican capital. Latin America is experiencing “a crime wave the likes of which our region has never known,” the OAS secretary-general said. He said that the WHO declares an epidemic in a country when a disease causes more than 100 deaths per million inhabitants, and that homicides exceed this level in nine cities in the region, which he did not specify. Insulza said that even if Latin America has not suffered prolonged wars between countries since Bolivia and Paraguay confronted one another in the Chaco War in the 1930s, the number of homicides committed every year in some countries exceeds the number of deaths in some wars. Although he avoided mentioning countries or cities, he said that even if the human rights situation in Honduras has improved “in part” since the end of the de-facto regime that governed following the 2009 coup d’état, the country’s rate of 59 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants raises doubts about that progress. “It’s hard to know what is the origin” of so many death in Honduras, Insulza affirmed, adding that the violence “is an attack on security and health and corrupts our democracy” in Latin America.last_img read more

Colombia Committed to Changes in Haiti as Part of UN Security Council

first_img On 13 October, the Colombian government celebrated its election as a member of the United Nations Security Council and expressed its commitment to promoting “true changes in Haiti,” in the words of Foreign Minister María Angela Holguín. “We want to give a big push forward to an issue the Council is working on, which is Haiti. We want to push from Latin America and the Caribbean, where we are the representatives and spokespersons, so that the situation in Haiti changes,” the minister affirmed, speaking to private radio stations. “What Haiti needs is a push in this direction, a further stage of reconstruction, and this is going to be an issue that’s very important for us,” the foreign minister emphasized, after explaining that although her country is seeking to contribute its experience with several issues, it will not bring new issues before the body. “We’re going to be there to participate with enthusiasm, but with the Council’s agenda. There are already established issues there. We want to get deeply involved in the issue of Haitian reconstruction and do as much as possible, but we’re not going to bring new issues before the Council,” she concluded. Sectors of the Colombian Congress called on the government Wednesday to bring the issue of the fight against drug trafficking and the principle of co-responsibility up for debate in the international body. “Colombia’s first task in the Security Council must be to raise the topic of the fight against drugs that our region, and especially Colombia, has had to take on for many years, while the efforts of the consuming countries continue to be minimal,” Sen. Alexandra Moreno told AFP. Senator Moreno, vice-president of the Senate, alleged that her country “cannot continue standing up against the drug-trafficking mafias, spraying its fields, and making canon fodder out of peasants who today are doing manual eradication, while consumption continues unchecked in the consuming countries.” Analysts consulted by AFP characterized Colombia’s election as a significant diplomatic achievement by Santos’s administration, but they emphasized that the administration will have little room to maneuver in introducing novel issues. “It’s the first great international achievement by President Juan Manuel Santos, who received a regionally isolated and controversial country from his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, and in only two months succeeded in obtaining massive backing for the country’s candidacy,” international-relations expert Ricardo Abello judged. Abello, of the private University of the Rosary, urged the president “to carefully design a diplomatic strategy to take advantage of this position on the Council,” as he said, “not in order to introduce local issues, but rather in order to obtain greater international backing for the country’s interests.” Holguín’s declarations followed President Juan Manuel Santos’s commitment, announced Tuesday, to make his country “the voice of Latin America and the Caribbean on the Security Council.” “In us they will find a country ready to listen, to engage in dialogue, and to search for solutions. In addition, Colombia will have a special responsibility when dealing with issues of international peace and security,” the Colombian president emphasized. Santos offered his country’s experience in the fight against transnational crime and against terrorism as a basis on which to “make major contributions as part of the group of fifteen countries that, from their position at the heart of the UN, debate and decide about the future of conflicts and situations that can put world peace and security at risk,” he said. With 186 votes in favor and none against in the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, Colombia was elected Tuesday as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, which it will join on 1 January 2011 for a two-year term, replacing Mexico. Together with Brazil, Colombia will represent Latin America on the UN’s executive body. The Security Council has fifteen members, five of which are permanent and have veto power (China, France, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States). By Dialogo October 18, 2010last_img read more

Santos Calls for French Journalist’s Prompt Release

first_imgBy Dialogo May 08, 2012 In a statement on May 6, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called for the prompt release of French journalist Romeo Langlois, in the power of the narco-terrorist group FARC since April 28. “I’m extremely glad to know that the French journalist is in good condition. The FARC has already acknowledged that they’re holding him, and I call on them to release him as soon as possible,” Santos, who is on a visit to Singapore, said according to the statement by his office. The president stated that his administration “is willing to facilitate [the process] so that this release can take place as soon as possible, but if they really want to make a good impression on the world, they should just release him and simply tell us where he is, and we’ll go get him.” These statements follow the release of a video in which a FARC guerrilla confirms that Langlois is in the group’s power, admits that he is a French journalist, and expresses his hope that “we will soon get beyond this impasse.” Thirty-five-year-old Langlois was working on a story for the France 24 television network in the department of Caquetá (in southern Colombia) on April 28, when the Military patrol with which he was travelling was attacked by guerrillas. The journalist suffered a wound in one arm and is believed to have surrendered to the rebels, identifying himself as a civilian, according to accounts by Soldiers who were accompanying him. Four Military personnel died in the clash, and another eight were wounded. Apparently, the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) declared Langlois a “prisoner of war,” on the grounds that he was captured in combat and was wearing an Army bulletproof vest and helmet, although he is believed to have taken off those items when he surrendered. With reference to the statement, Santos asserted on May 6 that “journalists are not, cannot be, never have been prisoners of war, and therefore, hopefully they will release him very soon.”last_img read more

Guatemalan Justice Authorizes Extradition of Alleged Drug-Trafficking Kingpin to U.S.

first_img On Aug. 6, a Guatemalan court authorized the extradition of alleged Guatemalan drug-trafficking kingpin Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, alias “El Patriarca,” considered to be the link between the Colombian mafia and the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, to the United States. “We, the members of the Judicature, believe that the evidence submitted by the Public Prosecutor at the request of the Court of the District of Columbia, are valid for a favorable resolution of the requisition of the United States,” said Saul Alvarez, Chairman of the Third Court of Convictions. “El Patriarca” is wanted by the Court of Columbia, in New York, but today’s judgment may still be appealed to the Constitutional Court of Guatemala. Guatemala is the final stage of Central America’s drug trafficking route, which stretches from production regions in South America towards the United States’ market. Investigators believe that 90% of the cocaine consumed in the United States circulates through Central America. That chilling figure of 90% makes us a permanent target, not only of the countries of the region that are fighting against the drug gangs but of the U.S.and its multiple programs. By Dialogo August 08, 2012last_img read more

Illegal Medications Seized in 16 African Countries

first_img An unprecedented crackdown in 16 African countries netted 82 million doses of illegal or counterfeit drugs, including antibiotics, contraceptives and malaria treatments, the World Customs Organization (WCO) said on October 25. The operation, called Vice Grips 2, was carried out by customs inspectors in 16 ports from July 11 to 20, it said. “It is the biggest operation of its kind,” Christophe Zimmermann, in charge of anti-counterfeit operations at the WCO, said at a press conference in Paris. The street value of the drugs was $40 million, which points to commerce with an annual turnover of $5 billion, he said. The biggest hauls were made in Angola, Cameroon, Ghana and Togo. Most of the illicit drugs came from East and South Asia — particularly China — and the Middle East, notably Dubai. Illegal medications are a growing problem in Africa, as they may be toxic or fail to have a sufficient dose of active ingredient to combat a disease, Zimmermann and others said. Inspectors helped by a French anti-counterfeit agency searched 110 shipping containers, 84 of which were found to have illegal or fake medications. Some of the merchandise pointed to elaborate or even industrial-scale operations, the two agencies said. Inspectors found 33 million doses of fake medications, along with pornographic DVDs, that had been stashed deep inside a batch of loudspeakers that were being exported to Angola. None of the “drugs” had any active ingredient. In Togo, a smuggled batch of expectorant cough syrup, supposed to be kept at a cool, stable temperature of -2 to +4 degrees Celsius, was literally cooking in a container where the temperature was more than 50 C. “We are dealing with structured organizations that specialize in international fraud, which exploit globalization in operations that span continents and countries, using different forms of transport.” Two further operations would be staged in Africa over the next six months in order to maintain momentum on the drug fakers, said the WCO’s secretary general, Kunio Mikuriya. By Dialogo October 29, 2012last_img read more

Norwegian NGO Ends Demining Activities on Peruvian-Chilean Border

first_img Humanitarian organization Norwegian People’s Aid, experts in explosives deactivation, delivered 67,000 km2 of demined territory on the border between Peru and Chile on December 20, the Norwegian organization reported. The delivery was made after two months of work with representatives of the Peruvian and Chilean Ministries of Foreign Affairs as witnesses, Claudio de la Puente and Alfonso Silva, respectively. In total, 333 landmines were removed, 261 of which were antipersonnel, and 72 were antitank. The task was conducted by 30 specialists supported by guide dogs. Warning signs that surrounded the dangerous area were also removed along with the explosives. The mines were installed in the 1970s by an order that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) issued at a time of tension between both countries. Last February, due to heavy rains, an unknown number of mines planted in Chilean territory slipped towards Peruvian territory, near Hito 1 on the bilateral border. Norwegian People’s Aid was commissioned by Lima and Santiago governments to remove the mines. The Norwegian organization is currently working on demining efforts in 18 countries, including Iraq, Serbia, Vietnam and Congo. By Dialogo December 26, 2012last_img read more

Explosive Found at Brazil Shrine before Pope’s Arrival

first_img A homemade explosive device was discovered in the bathroom of the parking garage of the Brazilian shrine that Pope Francis would visit the week of his visit, the Military said. A São Paulo Military Police spokesman said that the explosive was “insignificant, of low power” and that it was not in an area that the pope or pilgrims would have gone to. By Dialogo July 24, 2013 Some 5,000 security forces have been mobilized for the pope’s visit to Aparecida in São Paulo state.center_img The explosive was found during a security training session. The Military said the device was destroyed after its discovery on July 20, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida between Rio and São Paulo, which the pope was due to visit on July 24. last_img read more

Trafficking in Persons 2013: Antigua and Barbuda

first_img According to the Trafficking in Persons Report published by the U.S. Department of State in June 2013, Antigua and Barbuda is a destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor, but the country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s standards. Legal and undocumented immigrants from the Caribbean region, notably from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, as well as from Southeast Asia, reportedly comprise the population most vulnerable to trafficking, said the report. According to several sources, forced prostitution occurs in bars, taverns, and brothels. Incidences of forced labor have occurred in domestic service and in the retail sector. Despite severe budget limitations, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda demonstrated a proactive approach to identifying trafficking victims and providing them with quality services. The report noted that both the minister of national security and the director of gender affairs continued to be leaders in the prevention of human trafficking during the reporting period. For another year, the government did not report any convictions or punishments of trafficking offenders. Antigua and Barbuda’s Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Act 2010 prohibits forced prostitution and forced labor, including bonded labor, and prescribes punishments of 20 to 30 years’ imprisonment with fines. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The law is comprehensive, and includes extensive victim protection measures, though several local officials have expressed concern that the law requires trafficking crimes be heard in lower court, which appears to treat trafficking as a less serious crime. During the reporting period, the government provided in-kind support to International Organization for Migration (IOM)-led capacity building and technical skills training workshops for government officials. The Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Act 2010 protects identified victims from punishment for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their having been trafficked, and authorities collaborated with IOM to repatriate foreign victims safely and voluntarily. The government demonstrated significant trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period. By Dialogo July 25, 2013last_img read more

FAP Receives Award from the System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces

first_imgBy Directorate of Information and Aerospace Interests, Peruvian Air Force January 23, 2017 On January 18th,The Peruvian Air Force (FAP, per its Spanish acronym) received an award for flight safety from the System of Cooperation among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA, per its Spanish acronym). The prize was awarded for having the best air operations safety record and for safety measures taken by FAP personnel that contributed to preventing aviation accidents and encouraging other similar actions. Air General Javier Ramírez Guillén, commander general of FAP, officiated the international awards ceremony in the Plaza de Armas of the 2nd Air Wing (Callao), with assistance from civilian and military personnel who belong to this air unit, members of the High Command, as well as authorities from the Air Wing and Operations Command. SICOFAA awarded the prize for the distinguished record of crews and personnel from the 8th Air Group (GRUP8) for merit in flight safety and for the safety measures that contributed to the prevention of aviation accidents in the institution. The commander of GRUP8, FAP Colonel Roberto Aranda Del Castillo, received the award on behalf of the unit and expressed his satisfaction with the group’s achievement. SICOFAA is a voluntary non-political organization comprised of members from the Air Forces of North and South America. Its objective is to promote bonds of friendship and mutual aid through cooperation during emergency situations, to promote the exchange of experiences so the capacities of the air forces and their equivalents can be strengthened, as well as to provide support for the requirements of their members.last_img read more

Colombia, US Improve UAV Flights

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo September 20, 2018 A U.S. Air Force delegation visited the Colombian Air Force (FAC, in Spanish) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Academy (EBART, in Spanish) at the Third Air Combat Command in Barranquilla, Colombia, July 16-27, 2018. The objective was to exchange knowledge and experiences in the formation, training, and instruction of pilots and operators of ScanEagle drones. “The experience exchange was made possible through the ScanEagle Pprocessing, Exploitation, and Dissemination Course, based on the experience of the United States,” FAC Major Daniel Eduardo Martínez, deputy director of EBART, told Diálogo. “The course was a guide to conduct ISR missions [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance], and taught us how to guide an unmanned aerial vehicles [UAV] for this type of missions and make a briefing to conduct a mission.” Together, nine Colombian officers and the U.S. delegation learned how each air force operates UAV in conventional and asymmetric warfare. “The training will help us improve the doctrine for unmanned aerial vehicles, modernize manuals, strengthen flight operation planning, and improve surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence missions,” FAC First Lieutenant Brayan Higuera, ScanEagle course instructor at EBART, told Diálogo. FAC operates the tactical surveillance and reconnaissance system since 2006 to support the fight against illegal armed groups and terrorists. The system brought significant results in the identification, surveillance, and reconnaissance of targets, aerial surveillance, support of special operations units, and search and rescue. The highly autonomous aircraft of U.S. manufacturer Boeing Insitu are designed to conduct continuous missions of more than 15 hours and have the capacity to collect and transmit large numbers of images in real time. Improving the mission During the course, service members of both countries analyzed mission briefings to obtain good results with the systems. “We focus on the machine and the crew,” Maj. Martínez said. “[U.S.] officers found it interesting that technicians are included in the Colombian briefing to discuss the system status. Their briefing is between the analyst and the pilot but don’t involve a technician to report flight hours left for the unmanned aerial vehicle,” 1st Lt. Higuera said. The Colombian squadron learned how U.S. Air Force officers use “exhaustive information” when carrying out missions. “As soon as they have information coming from any human or technical source, they go out and conduct persistent surveillance, meaning around the clock,” 1st Lt. Higuera said. “We should also focus on persistent information.” New way to operate aircraft After the course, FAC opted to modify its operation of ScanEagle aircraft to adapt to those of the U.S. Air Force, with target-persistent surveillance. “The course helped [our] air institution promote a new way to operate the aircraft,” Maj. Martínez said. With this change, FAC will be able to show its UAV platforms to the Colombian Army, Navy, and National Police to increase intelligence efforts and sustained focus on a target. The UAV will also be able to submit more information than what security forces can currently achieve with human intelligence, such as images, video, and target surveillance for tactical maneuvers. “Air authorities study how the change in operations can help identify and eradicate illegal crops in the country,” Maj. Martínez said. “The ScanEagle can be an important tool in the current fight [against drugs].” Latin American benchmark FAC expects to obtain the Boeing Insitu certification by the end of 2018. “The idea is that with the certification, plus the experience we have, EBART will become Latin America’s school for unmanned aerial vehicles. This year [2018] we trained Peruvian personnel and last year [2017] we trained personnel from Chile. Also, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica are interested in training their crews here, now that they started acquiring unmanned aerial systems,” Maj. Martínez said. Within a year, EBART plans to include naval personnel in the faculty. Their experience with UAV launched from ships will strengthen the training to be offered to the Colombian Armed Forces and other nations. The school also studies the possibility of bringing instructors from the U.S. Air Force. “We developed the new unmanned aerial vehicle aviation with the help of the U.S. Air Force. We received a lot of help from them. It’s important because it’s becoming increasingly developed, with more prominence in aviation worldwide,” Maj. Martínez concluded.last_img read more