Messi Is Already The Best, Says Laporta

first_imgBy Dialogo April 08, 2009 Barcelona’s Argentina forward Lionel Messi is already the best player in the world, according to his club president Joan Laporta. Speaking to the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, Laporta claimed his Barcelona star will win the Ballon d’Or as soon as his team wins something. “It depends on the results of the team,” he said. “But Messi is definitely already the best player in the world because he’s a genius. “Players like him only come around once every 30 years.” Although Messi has been dazzling Spanish audiences and tormenting La Liga defences for several years, he has yet to be named the best player on the planet. The consensus opinion is that for a player to win such an award, his team must also be successful. Last year Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo finished top in both the World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or polls and the year before it was AC Milan’s Kaka — in both cases their team had won the Champions League while the year before that it was Italy’s World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro who scooped the top awards. It is not only Messi who has supposedly been prejudiced by his team’s failure to win things: in Italy many think Inter Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic would win if his team did better in Europe. Ibrahimovic is a reported transfer target for Barcelona this summer and Laporta did nothing to dispell those rumours. “I’m not going to talk about that out of respect for (Inter president Massimo) Moratti,” he said.last_img read more

Honduran Attorney General’s Office Investigates Allegations

first_imgBy Dialogo August 17, 2009 The Honduran attorney general’s office is investigating allegations that the human rights of followers of ousted president Manuel Zelaya have been violated, but is also looking into whether Zelaya’s supporters are receiving financing from the FARC Colombian guerrilla group, officials said. “The attorney general’s office recognizes the right to demonstrate, whenever it does not infringe on the rights of others, and members of the resistance (against the coup d’état) have filed complaints of human rights violations by the police and the army, which are being investigated,” chief human-rights prosecutor Sandra Ponce told AFP. For his part, spokesman Melvin Duarte announced that “the investigation is continuing into the written complaint filed a few weeks ago” alleging that the FARC Colombian Marxist guerrilla group is financing the demonstrations by Zelaya’s supporters and that Venezuelan and Nicaraguan activists are participating in them. “Written complaints were filed a few weeks ago, and the Organized-Crime Bureau is taking the appropriate steps to obtain law-enforcement assistance on the basis of international conventions” in order to carry out the investigation, Duarte indicated. De-facto President Roberto Micheletti charged that FARC was financing the marches against his government. “There is a recognized political party that receives financial support from the FARC, and there is a workers’ organization that also receives money from the FARC. We have the evidence; it was sent from Colombia, and at the appropriate time, we are going to make it public,” Micheletti affirmed at a press conference. A delegation from the National Front for Resistance against the Coup d’état of 28 June asked the public prosecutor’s office on Thursday to investigate “abuses” by the police and the army, leader Rafael Alegría announced. “The attorney general’s office has the duty to investigate, and the investigation is being carried out, including the investigation of four deaths, those of Isis Obed Murillo, Roger Valladares, Pedro Pablo Hernández, and Pedro Muñoz,” Sandra Ponce, the prosecutor, affirmed for her part.last_img read more

Large Cocaine Lab Dismantled In Spain

first_imgBy Dialogo October 30, 2009 Spanish police said they dismantled a clandestine laboratory that produced 50 kilos of cocaine a week, adding that 11 people were arrested in the operation. The drug lab – the biggest discovered in Spain in recent years – was located on a farm in the town of Daimiel, in the central Spanish province of Ciudad Real, police said Friday. More than eight tons of chemical substances, 275 kilograms (605 pounds) of cutting agents and hydraulic presses were seized, among other supplies. According to local media, a ring made up of individuals of Colombian and Bolivian origin brought the cocaine base into the country by hiding it in bags of cocoa powder shipped from Venezuela.last_img

The Caribbean Bands Together for Haiti

first_img CARICOM The Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, moved into high gear following Haiti’s earthquake to support a member state through the deployment of search-and-rescue missions, military assistance and medical personnel. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, a regional response mechanism for natural disasters, based in Jamaica, coordinated the effort. More than 300 personnel from 11 CARICOM member states and associate members composed the contingent in Haiti, in a united response to the urgent needs of the earthquake victims. Belize offered clothing, food, and military manpower; Barbados sent military personnel; Grenada and Guyana sent monetary donations; Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago sent aid in the form of services; the British Virgin Islands sent a search-and-rescue team; Bermuda placed aircraft at the Community’s disposal; and Jamaica deployed security personnel, searchand- rescue teams, doctors and relief supplies within 48 hours of the earthquake. In an interview with Jamaica’s The Sunday Gleaner newspaper, Jamaica Defence Force commander in Haiti, Maj. Jaimie Stuart Ogilvie, said his troops were making “sure that we have the right persons here for the long haul to continue the relief as long as we can.” Jamaica’s contingent also included medical teams delivering supplies to some of the hardest-hit areas. “We have been able to impact positively on people’s lives,” Dr. Derrick McDowell, head of the medical delegation, told The Sunday Gleaner. “No life has been lost in our care. Whatever we have been doing is being well done and is being done carefully. Were it not for us, more lives would have been lost,” he added. Continuing aid to Haiti includes emergency response coordination, medical assistance, and engineering assessments with relief efforts extended to locations outside the capital. As reconstruction gets under way, CARICOM is shifting its focus to longer-term contributions to assist the health sector and technical assistance for relief distribution systems. During a Mexico-CARICOM summit in February 2010, Roosevelt Skerrit, prime minister of Dominica and CARICOM leader until July 2010, reiterated the community’s commitment to rebuilding Haiti. “First on our agenda is Haiti. We want to ensure reconstruction goes beyond immediate efforts. We have an opportunity to bring about the renaissance of Haiti, not just to return to where we were before the disaster struck,” Skerrit said. Cuba Cuba had a large medical team of more than 300 doctors working in Haiti prior to the earthquake and quickly sent extra personnel to the devastated nation, including Haitian doctors studying in Cuba, in addition to surgical staff and supplies to set up field hospitals. The doctors treated more than 13,000 patients and performed hundreds of surgeries, working tirelessly around the clock during the first days and weeks following the quake. Recognizing the valuable contributions of Cuba, the U.S. State Department offered to provide medical supplies to Cuban doctors working in Haiti. “The United States has communicated its readiness to make medical relief supplies available to Cuban doctors working on the ground in Haiti as part of the international relief effort,” U.S. State Department spokesman Darby Holladay said. During a conference of the Ibero-American General Secretariat in February 2010, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, praised Cuba for working with the United States in providing relief to Haiti. In a rare gesture of cooperation between Washington and Havana motivated by the urgency to save lives, Cuba allowed U.S. planes, including military aircraft, to fly over Cuban air space for medical evacuation flights from the U.S. base in Guantanamo in southeastern Cuba, thus shortening each flight by 90 minutes. Dominican Republic Haiti’s neighbor, the Dominican Republic, played a key role in providing immediate disaster relief. The country, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, spared no efforts and urgently rushed food, water, supplies, rescue teams and medical assistance to the earthquake victims. Relief centers for refugees seeking aid in cities and towns across the border were also quickly established to tend to thousands of people in need. In addition to direct aid to Haiti, the Dominican Republic also helped many countries and organizations that could not gain direct access to Haiti due to the heavily damaged airport, roads and port facilities near the quake-affected areas. The Dominican capital of Santo Domingo and towns near the border with Haiti became the staging grounds and logistical bases for hundreds of relief missions, as well as for the international press corps covering the tragedy. More than 150 troops were deployed along the border to work with a contingent of Peruvian peacekeepers from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH, to help ensure the humanitarian relief effort from the Dominican government was sent over. John Holmes, director of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, praised the vital contributions made by the Dominican Republic in ensuring that humanitarian aid reached victims, during a meeting with Dominican President Leonel Fernández in February 2010. CARICOM Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago CARICOM Associate Members: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands By Dialogo April 01, 2010last_img read more

An Innovation in Information Sharing

first_img VRMTC-A has developed a network to integrate regional capabilities with the global Maritime Safety and Security Information System, or MSSIS. This Web-centric network of data automatically broadcast by many ships helps the system’s users track the movement and location of any ship linked into the system using a Web-based common operational picture. The project allows all involved the ability to achieve three key objectives of maritime security: integrate regional capabilities, develop maritime domain awareness, and provide actionable information — the ability to detect, locate, identify, intercept and interdict transnational threats throughout the region. The integration of regional capabilities was accomplished by integrating data on vessels, cargos and crews from several sources, including U.S. and regional government agencies and commercial providers, with information from the MSSIS. Maritime domain awareness improvements were achieved by aggregating integrated regional data into one common operational picture to be shared with all participating partners. The last objective, to provide actionable information, was accomplished by using applications to analyze data for inconsistencies and communicating these results in real time through a nonclassified information sharing and collaboration environment. The analysis and detection of such inconsistencies can tip off regional maritime authorities to potentially illicit and dangerous vessels. Ten countries participated in the initial demonstration of the project’s capabilities in Valparaiso, Chile. The Transoceanic Conference in August 2009 was the forum for the demonstration attended by Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, the United States and Venezuela. A few months later, the Chilean Navy hosted a workshop in Viña del Mar to focus on VRMTC-A governance, policy and administrative issues. The workshop established an executive committee — comprised of Brazil, Chile, Peru and the United States — to address the mission and scope of the program, and created a technical working group to oversee website design and development. By June 2010, the program had achieved its objectives with minor improvements added to the system before the project’s successful completion in September 2010. The VRMTC-A system is available for operational use, and U.S. Southern Command and its regional partners are working to continue improving collaborative maritime domain awareness and information-sharing capabilities to confront regional threats. Maritime threats that arise in the Western Hemisphere are often transregional, but in past years information sharing has been limited. In an era when drug traffickers and other criminal organizations are using cutting-edge technology to transport illicit goods, nations are finding that if they share information in a common network they can more effectively track and confront new challenges. In 2007, U.S. Southern Command began a project aimed at supporting maritime security efforts and expanding information sharing and collaboration. The relatively new effort to fuse maritime domain awareness data is known as the Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Center-Americas, or VRMTC-A. The center is the result of cooperation among USSOUTHCOM, U.S. Northern Command, the U.S. Department of Transportation and several countries in the region. By Dialogo January 01, 2011last_img read more

FARC Negotiators Meeting in Havana Declare Unilateral Ceasefire

first_img BOGOTÁ – Colombia’s 48-year war has entered a new phase with the guerrillas declaring an immediate unilateral ceasefire and the Bogotá government pledging to continue its attacks on the rebels. Shortly before the two sides launched peace talks in Cuba on Nov. 19, Monday, Iván Márquez, chief negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced a unilateral, two-month ceasefire which he said would last until Jan. 20, 2013. “The Secretariat of the FARC … orders its guerrilla units throughout the national territory to cease all offensive military operations against government troops and all acts of sabotage against public and private infrastructure,” Márquez said, reading from a prepared statement. Márquez said the ceasefire is a response “to the overwhelming demands of the Colombian people” to end the violence. He also said it’s aimed at improving the atmosphere at the negotiating table and helping bring about a peace accord. Colombian government says ‘no deal’ Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón shrugged off the rebel announcement and said the military would keep attacking FARC units. “Government troops have the constitutional duty to pursue the delinquents,” Pinzón told reporters. In the past, he added, the FARC, “has never honored the truces it has proposed.” The contrasting positions reflect the balance of forces on the battlefield, with the FARC battered and bruised amid a long-running military offensive and the Colombian Armed Forces holding the upper hand. Pinzón and other government officials remain concerned about the FARC’s motives. In comments to local media, they have expressed fears that a bilateral ceasefire would provide the rebel organization with breathing space to rest and recover from the military offensive that’s eliminated many FARC top commanders and cut its troop strength in half to about 8,000 fighters. “In the past, ceasefires have provided a significant advantage to the guerrillas and that must not be repeated,” said chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle as he departed Bogotá for Havana on Nov. 18. Value of ceasefires a matter of debate Ceasefires may require the deployment of international observers to make sure both sides comply. Violations could bring the talks to an abrupt halt, said León Valencia, director of the Bogotá-based New Rainbow Foundation. For example, he said, in the 1980s, both sides called for a bilateral ceasefire during a round of peace talks between the government and FARC negotiators. But the two sides accused each other of violating the ceasefire, and eventually negotiations to end the war fell apart. President Juan Manuel Santos — who faces some opposition from his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe — for not being hard enough on the FARC rebels, is trying prevent what happened in the 1999 to 2002 peace talks. At that time, the Bogotá government agreed to withdraw troops from Caguán but the FARC made no concessions in those talks and used that region to train troops, produce drugs and hide kidnapping victims. Ending the bloodshed could also provide immediate relief for war-torn communities in rural Colombia, said Álvaro Jiménez, who heads a Colombian NGO lobbying for a ban on the use of land mines in the conflict. Reducing the intensity of the conflict could increase public support for the negotiations, he said. The FARC has said that it will no longer kidnap civilians for ransom, a pledge it has largely kept. President Santos must resign because he deceived Colombia pretending to be Uribist as everyone believed. Wanting to approve drug use which is poison and negotiating with criminal terrorists were his greatest errors. All the assassins from the FARC and other groups deserve only death penalty to give them eternal rest and to improve the lives of all future survivors relatives of the dead killed by the Farc and other groups of murderers. President Santos distinguished himself by being one of the worst Presidents and he will never be reelected. On the contrary he should be punished for lying. The story is that the FARC is the army of the people. I belong to the people and they definitely do NOT represent me! God willing those dialogues have some results but I don’t believe it, those of the farc are born liars and they only want to gain time for their criminal intents! Gentlemen on the Farc, for once take this seriously, don’t make us Colombians waste more time, and don’t tell us more stories…! JF you know that all the comments here are from civil servants and they speak against the farc, I am not with anyone but the one or the ones who benefit from the war are the soldiers, the police, the president, the secretary and all politicians who receive money as help. The President is more confused than a monkey just-captured, because he only can live off appearances Those who do not want peace are Colombian oligarchs. It’s them who benefit from war against the simple, hardworking people. HOW CAN WE EXPECT PEACE IN COLOMBIA WHEN WE OURSELVES ARE DENYING IT. PLEASE, LET’S BE REALISTIC, THE FARCs ARE NOT THE ONLY PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY AND THE PRESIDENT LIVES FOR APPEARANCES, HE SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT NOT GIVING AWAY COLOMBIA TO THE AMERICANS OR ABOUT BOOSTING US ECONOMICALLY. THE TRUTH IS THAT PEACE IN THIS COUNTRY IS PURE ILLUSION. FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA. IF HE WANTS PEACE HE NEEDS TO START BY RECOGNIZING THE RIGHTS OF THE CITIZENS, SPECIALLY OF THE RETIRED ONES FROM THE CAFETERO BANK. THEY STEAL OUR PENSIONS IN LONG BATTLES TO RULE WRONGFULLY, JUST BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT HAS MANY FEUDS. I AM A FORMER OFFICIAL OF THE CAFETERO BANK AND THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO STEAL MY PENSION, I WON IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, THE JUDGE AGREED WITH ME, IN THE SECOND INSTANCE THE COURT CONFIRMED THE JUDGE’S RULING BUT RIGOBERTO ECHEVERRY, THAT INHUMAN MAGISTRATE DENIES ME THE PENSION AND APPLIES THE LAW 100, WHICH IN MY CASE IS THE LAW 33 OF 1985. THIS IS NOT PEACE, PLEASE MR. PRESIDENT I ASK YOU TO REVIEW MY CASE OF INJUSTICE, THEY ARE ONLY A MERE 1,500 MONTHLY PENSION. TOTAL THEFT. The Heads of the Holy Government and its followers think that by repeating along with Uribe that the FAR—!!!! are drug terrorists via radio, press and television, they have already convinced us, 40 millions Colombians, of it, and what’s worse, is that in their tiny clam brains they only repeat the same formula to end with THEIR problem: LEAD AND MORE LEAD, mechanically repeating the same formula of Barco, Gaviria (Green house), Samper, Pastrana, (Colombian Plan) and of the Lord of the shadows (Patriotic Plan), who only managed to increase the outrageous figures of current guerrillas which are practically undeniably unstoppable throughout the whole national territory and no exactly the ” Dark One”, for them, Borders with Venezuela. We all need peace but the wealthy even more since they’re the ones with something to lose, at the end of the day, the poor people need to lose their tie to a system that in the last twenty years Has Given Us the following “Gifts” – Over 120 tolls – Managed also by foreigners – To go through the Country, – Increase of the age to retire (57 and 62 years old) when it used to be 55 and 60, and an increase in the number of weeks from 1000 to 1300 – Creating more taxes: 4 times a Thousand, Ica, non-payable valuations, just to name a few. Decline of the health system, accepted by the government itself and of the education one, more expensive and way worse. Creation of IVA (Belisaurio Government) and of the UPAC revamped as UVR by the Son of its implementer (The Meritorious and never satiated or properly understood or rewarded PASTRANA FAMILY). And they still repeat their other ONLY FORMULA which they think they have fooled us with. And this IS A DEMOCRACY!!!!!!!!! HO, HO, HO ………….. The guerrilla is fighting for the peasants and their rights, because all the politicians only want to steal and give away our resources…foreigners should leave Colombia… leave with your companies…long live the nationalization of the enterprises..specially the hydrocarbons, whoever likes the foreigners should leave, long live the Bolivarian Colombia By Dialogo November 21, 2012last_img read more

United Nations to inspect North Korea ship in Panama next week

first_imgBy Dialogo August 09, 2013 UNITED NATIONS – United Nations (UN) experts will head to Panama next week to inspect a North Korean ship impounded last month after the discovery of Cuban missile parts in its cargo, Sylvie Lucas, Luxembourg’s UN ambassador, said on Aug. 7. “The panel will go next week to Panama to assist in the investigation, and then will present a report to the committee,” said Lucas, chairman of the UN sanctions committee. The experts will report back to the committee, which will then determine whether North Korea is in violation of any sanctions. Lucas declined to speculate on what regulations may or may not have been broken. The United States and other countries have stated that the discovery of non-declared Cuban weapons in the North Korean vessel represents a clear violation of UN sanctions against North Korea because of its nuclear program. Cuba insisted that missiles found within a sugar consignment aboard the Chong Chon Gang freighter were obsolete arms due to be repaired and returned by North Korea. Panamanian authorities boarded the vessel because of suspicions it may have been carrying drugs. [AFP (United Nations), 08/08/2013; La Estrella (Panama), 07/08/2013]last_img read more

Drugs are an Important Warning Sign in Ecuador

first_imgThe Peacekeeping Missions School of Ecuador (UEMPE) is a school where officers from the three branches of the Ecuadoran Armed Forces are trained to take part in international missions based on the United Nations (UN) requirements for peacekeeping missions. Gen. Garzón: Exactly. I mentioned at the conference today that we are interested in prevention. We need to learn from the experiences of neighboring countries, so we are not in the position of having to react to something that already has the upper hand. This drug scourge, which is a transnational threat, is a cause of significant concern. Diálogo spoke with General Luis Aníbal Garzón, head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of Ecuador, during the South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC 2015), held in Asunción, Paraguay, on August 18-21, to discuss the participation of the Armed Forces of Ecuador in peacekeeping missions, the aid that they provide to their citizens during crises and how the military are involved in the fight against drugs. Gen. Garzón: Yes, right now, I should point out, we are facing a problem in the Cotopaxi volcano. A week ago, the governor of the province of Cotopaxi – which shares the volcano’s name – issued a warning too early and ordered the evacuation of the area because the volcano was erupting, when we were still at a state of yellow alert. We had not moved on to orange or red alert, which is when the evacuation should have occurred. It alarmed the population, but we know that the cycle of eruptions for this volcano occurs every 120 years and that right now the cycle has been delayed for 18 years, so it can happen at any time. The Geophysical Institute, which has international support and is closely monitoring the volcano, warns that there could be an eruption, but first there have to be the initial symptoms, precise indicators for when it is about to happen, and then we would raise the alert level and warn the population. Without that, you run the risk that the 125,000 inhabitants living along the rivers fed by the volcano’s glacier will suffer devastation worse than a tsunami in the event the glacier melts. The level will rise 17 meters, with dirt, mud and water throughout the valley. It would be very dramatic if it were to happen without adequate preparation by the inhabitants, which is why they know what to do in case of an emergency. They must be fundamentally disciplined in confronting this threat. Families must react in a coordinated manner. That helps a lot with risk management. And the Armed Forces, as you mentioned, again become a mainstay to support risk management, because we have the capacity and equipment to deal with a challenge of this type. DIÁLOGO: Peacekeeping missions are another function for which the Ecuadoran Armed Forces are internationally known. Could you please discuss the missions the Ecuadoran Armed Forces are participating in around the world? DIÁLOGO: Very little is said about drugs in Ecuador. Do you believe that drugs are a silent threat in your country? Gen. Garzón: We know that Colombia has captured quite a few. These semi-submersibles are being found in difficult to reach areas, such as swamps, where it is possible to hide. But when we have had good intelligence and good information, we’ve managed to locate them. So yes, we have become a transit country and that is a source of great concern, because we are starting to see drug use as well. There is microtrafficking among young people and that is very serious because the microtraffickers are starting to sell small amounts at very low prices in schools, which plants the seeds for new drug users. This is a matter of deep concern for us. We want to intervene in a timely manner, in order to eliminate drug use in one stroke. DIÁLOGO: …the same thing happened in Brazil, and now Brazil is the second largest consumer of cocaine in the world. And it started exactly the way you described… Gen. Garzón: One of the missions that the Ministry of Defense Political Agenda (or White Paper) has given us is to support peacekeeping missions. We have about six or seven international missions. We just left Haiti (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti – MINUSTAH), where we did a very good job alongside Chile for five or six years. But we have also sent support to Haiti outside of the purview of the United Nations, through the Army Corps of Engineers, rebuilding roads, bridges, schools and hospitals in the region of Latibonit. The Corps of Engineers received a great deal of recognition for that work. We have not been able to provide monetary aid, but we carried out projects for them. We also helped Cuba rebuild Santiago de Cuba after the hurricane destroyed more than 100,000 homes, according to the available information. Ecuador built six four-story buildings, about 500 homes in total, which is a small number, but a substantial help, given the size of the country. Ecuador gives what it can. We must help those who suffer from these sorts of difficulties, because what goes around, comes around. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines we have also helped; we rebuilt three bridges that had been destroyed by flooding, isolating important agricultural regions. Ecuador, through the Corps of Engineers, built three bridges. It’s a major undertaking, without fanfare, that does not appear in the media. DIÁLOGO: What is your view on the military relations between the United States and Ecuador? Gen. Garzón: Military relations have always been very cordial and good. Each country follows the policy that its government sets, and obviously the Armed Forces have followed government policies in international relations. At times in the past, that has prevented a supportive relationship in areas such as those we have covered at this conference, with support against transnational threats and the challenges the region is facing. Above all, we have discussed drug trafficking, smuggling, smuggling weapons, ammunition and explosives, human trafficking, all of which are problems that affect the region. We need to sit down to see how we can support each other to solve these problems. For us, what has happened in Mexico is a clear example, where the Armed Forces intervened at the last minute. But they have told us that they didn’t act proactively; they reacted to the situation. Drug trafficking has infiltrated every government institution, which allows it to undermine these institutions. If the government, the courts, the police, the Armed Forces – which are law enforcement agencies – are infiltrated, they cannot provide the same results and discipline begins to crack, especially in institutions like ours, where there must be full unity and efficient organization in order to confront these kinds of challenges. The experience in Mexico was that they reacted quite late and that is costing them more time, more money and most importantly more lives. We can all see what is happening in Mexico and we also took the example of Colombia, although fortunately with Colombia, because of our proximity and status as neighbors, there is a good flow of information. Today we are reaffirming that we need better intelligence, better information and more actions based on the information that we have, because sometimes we have the information and we lack the capacity to respond to the many problems encountered along the border, such as migrations and displacements. We have a serious problem along the border, because citizens have dual nationality. When the Ecuadoran institutions exercise control, they say “I’m Ecuadoran” and show their identification card, but when the other side comes in, from Colombia, they switch sides and take out their Colombian ID. Whole families live like this, some on the Colombian side and some on the Ecuadoran side, and it is very difficult to determine their true nationality. They are Ecuadorans or Colombians based on what suits them and they receive support from both sides. These are problems that, if we don’t talk, can become serious problems, because these citizens along the border have been part of the logistics of the irregular forces, which we call the militias. They are the ones doing the grunt work and carrying out all of the logistics. It is not often noted, but they are well supplied there. It would seem that Ecuador supports them, but that is totally contrary to the policies of the government and its institutions to allow that. But these are the circumstances, where the logistics flows without being noticed, in this strip of territory where there is no effective control. The same happens in Peru with smuggling, particularly with gasoline and diesel. Ecuador subsidizes these products, so if a 15-kilo tank costs US$2.50 in Ecuador, in Colombia the same tank costs US$15 and in Peru, US$17. A family that takes two or three tanks a day has solved its problems. It’s a flow of contraband that never stops. Many people on these borders live off of smuggling and the government finds it very difficult to exercise effective control, even though the Armed Forces greatly assist the Customs Service. Many times we conduct seizures, but we often have to be a little more flexible because otherwise, the population has nothing to live on. And they just do the grunt work, while at sea a ship can leave with 200,000 gallons, which is equal to a whole year’s work for them along the two borders. It is a serious situation and if we don’t talk to each other and support each other… If, for example, a small plane crosses the border and Colombia doesn’t tell us, then that plane might land at a clandestine airstrip. That’s information, intelligence and action with regard to the situation. If we don’t talk, the traffickers have a free hand and the problem will be exacerbated. Before we know it, we will be totally overwhelmed by the situation it will cost the country a lot of money to take steps to control it. Ecuador is not going along lightly or quietly. These issues are of great concern to us and we are willing to make an effort so that this does not become a national scourge. DIÁLOGO: What is the role of the Armed Forces in this regard? DIÁLOGO: Turning to disaster relief and humanitarian aid, which are roles assigned to the Armed Forces… the work of the Ecuadoran Armed Forces is well known in this area… General Luis Aníbal Garzón: No, they are more like an important warning sign that we have been dealing with for some time. Ecuador neither produces nor harvests coca. It is not a producing country. I can say that the Armed Forces, from a territorial standpoint, are stationed throughout the country and control every part of it. The largest coca plantation that we have found is no larger than three hectares. In other words, there are no crops, no deforestation, and therefore our country is not a producer. But it is a transit country. As such, we have often seized drugs coming from Colombia, in the corridor that runs along the border from the eastern portion of the country to the Pacific, in the province of Esmeraldas. In the south, [along the border] with Peru, we have seized a portion of the drugs headed towards the province of El Oro. Coincidentally, in both places we found semi-submersibles and submersibles, one with a 20-ton capacity, that were well-equipped with very good technology and had the capacity to submerge to a depth of 15 meters, which would make them undetectable from the surface when at sea. Fortunately, we found them in nearby locations. They were under construction and had not been put to use. If they had been, they would have been very difficult to locate. DIÁLOGO: So they were being built in Ecuador. They didn’t come from Colombia… Gen. Garzón: The law provides the military with jurisdiction over the country’s airspace and territorial waters. The Navy, through the Maritime Police, has jurisdiction over drug trafficking in those two areas, but not on land, where it is the responsibility of the National Police. The Armed Forces play a supplemental role. This means that if there is no police presence, but there is the presence of a military garrison, however small it may be, it has the responsibility to retain but not detain, which means it can locate suspects, contact the police and prosecutors, and turn the suspects over to authorities. For example, if I retained a shipment of drugs and I would then provide it to you [the police]. Once the military takes control of this problem, the chain of custody is broken and obviously this provides drug traffickers with a chance to win at trial, because it is not the mission of the Armed Forces to detain drug traffickers. There is very strong support and coordination with the police so that when they are not present, we play a supplemental role and sometimes provide complementary support for the actions of the police, when they do not have the capacity. By Dialogo September 23, 2015 General Garzón, as an Ecuadoran woman I am very sad about what is happening here in Ecuador. It’s getting out of hand what is happening with you, who should act to protect us you are seeing all these young people lost to drugs. We have never before seen on fields campuses all these young people lost to drugs that is terrible you should act urgently stop drug trafficking. Why did the President kick the U.S. out of Ecuador?? I ask the U.S. to return to Ecuador you should be professional and not follow the president’s banditry all of our future is in your hands we want a democratic country. Never a tyrant. Freedom for our people. With respect to the volcano the president needs to get to work that’s what we elected him for. The government in time should start looking for a place to relocate the people who live close to the volcano start relocating them to other areas . They’re not going to wait to the last minute or for there to be victims. I hope you read my message and examine your conscience! Returning to DEMOCRACY is in your hands. I am a Venezuelan woman, and I have an Ecuadorian granddaughter. I am worried for her life. For all the good principles and values that my daughter can and does give my beloved granddaughter, it’s not worth much without protection against drugs, because even if she doesn’t use or sell this cursed thing, these drugs, it won’t stop her from being a victim of robbery or kidnapping by a drug addict. I love Ecuador because it has wonderful citizens and educated people, DON’T let them ruin this good country. Keep on fighting to overcome evil with good. You’ve done well so far; now let’s do it better. God and your country will reward you. My respect to you Ecuadorians. I love you guys because you’re my brothers. FROM VENEZUELA, MUCH LOVE AND WARM REGARDS. last_img read more

Colombian Security Forces Focus on Crop Substitution in Fight Against Drug Trafficking

first_img Expanding opportunities Between January 1st and February 10th, the PNC eradicated 300 hectares of illegal crops after destroying 4,966 hectares in 2015, Lt. Col. Roa Castañeda said. Aerial spraying operations, in which security forces used glyphosate, have helped authorities achieve a 57 percent decrease in coca crops in a span of 14 years. In 2014, there were 69,132 hectares of coca crops nationwide, well below the 162,510 hectares in 2000. “We are in the midst of the largest ever crop substitution, which is due to economic competitiveness because there are sectors such as cocoa beans that are having a bonanza and generating more income for farmers,” Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas explained during the forum “New Challenges for Drug Policy in Colombia”. Another successful example involves the Kogi, Arhuaco, Kankuamo, and Wiwa indigenous communities that inhabit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, where farmers have replaced coca crops with pepper, rubber, sugarcane, and coffee. With the support of the Office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), more than 134,000 families have benefited since 2006 by replacing their illicit crops with these products and activities such as fishing, beekeeping, crafts, and tourism. Higginbottom met with former coca farmers who have transitioned to producing cocoa, and she and Colombian Minister of Agriculture Aurelio Iragorri signed a joint declaration of intent on technical assistance and education. Colombia’s Ministry of Justice recently announced that it will support six new projects to replace illegal crops, benefiting 554 families in regions including Putumayo, Santander, Antioquia, Magdalena and Nariño. The government will support the initiative by investing around $270 million and will focus on the municipalities of Necoclí, Santa Marta, Sucre, Andes, Linares, and Valle del Guamuez. The Colombian government’s program to support the cultivation of legal crops is bolstered by security forces’ efforts to eradicate coca harvests. The Armed Forces have deployed 7,000 Troops to 21 departments throughout the country to strengthen eradication efforts, Villegas stated. Colombian security officials are emphasizing the substitution of illegal crops with legal alternatives as part of the country’s fight against drug trafficking, in concert with the Armed Forces’ continuing campaign to eradicate coca, the main ingredient used to make cocaine. By Dialogo February 29, 2016 The United States, a key partner nation, is supporting the effort by providing $5 million to support the “Cocoa for Peace” program, which will be implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Cocoa for Peace will support Colombia’s efforts to advance the legal rural economic growth through cocoa, particularly in areas affected by conflict,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom said during her visit to Colombia on February 19th. During the January forum in Bogotá, Villegas discussed the benefits of eradication and substitution programs for farmers that switch from cultivating illegal coca to growing legal export products like coffee beans, yucca, papaya, and cocoa. For example, farmers make about $700 for a ton of coca leaves but can earn more than $3,000 for a ton of cocoa or $3,400 for a ton of coffee beans. center_img “We have designed a new strategy in which more Security Companies for Eradication [Troops who will provide security] have been mobilized and a greater number of Mobile Eradication Groups were sent to areas of greater influence,” Lt. Col. Roa Castañeda told Diálogo. “This year, public forces plan to eradicate 16,279 hectares in various departments nationwide.” The Military has tripled the number of Troops in the Mobile Eradication Groups who will carry out their eradication mission in four phases. “The Armed Forces will be responsible for 22 Mobile Eradication Groups per phase, with more than 1,500 Soldiers to ensure the safety of the groups and some 2,560 uniformed personnel who will conduct eradication activities […] the Police will have 28 Mobile Eradication Groups with approximately 2,800 personnel handling security,” Villegas said. Meanwhile, Colombia’s National Police (PNC) is conducting manual eradication operations based on the density of illicit crops in the departments of Chocó, Nariño, and Guaviare, said Lieutenant Colonel José Roa Castañeda, the PNC’s Chief of Illicit Crop Eradication. The spraying strategy has been an effective tool but authorities are now emphasizing crop replacement. In 2015, Colombia suspended glyphosate spraying because the product was classified by the World Health Organization as a possible carcinogen. Success stories Eradication efforts In 2015, the Misión Chocolate organization marketed cocoa beans for export to European markets for the first time. International freight agent QL Solutions of Spain bought 25 tons of cocoa for export to Europe after verifying the product’s quality from the alternative development associations that are part of the crop substitution programs. Colombia’s new drug policy incorporates all of its successful crop substitution experiences in the fight against drug trafficking. For example, the Tarazá Cocoa Growers Association, under the framework of a Crop Substitution Program led by the United Nations, has converted the region of Bajo Cauca Antioqueño from a coca-growing area to one that produces tons of cocoa for export. Despite the successes, Colombia is still one of the world’s main coca producers, reaching 69,000 hectares in 2014, which represents a 44 percent increase over 2013, according to the latest Monitoring Report on Coca Cultivation in Colombia, released by the UNODC in November 2015. GENTLEMEN IN ORDER TO PUT AN END TO ILLEGAL CROPS YOU HAVE TO HAVE MANY INCOME PROGRAMS FOR THOSE RURAL PEOPLE WHO, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO WAY TO BRING THEIR PRODUCTS TO MARKET, THAT THEY HAVE TO GROW THAT CROP BECAUSE A KILO SELLS EASILY I am not a grower of those illegal cropslast_img read more

Peru to Strengthen Marine Forecast Capabilities

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo August 02, 2018 In 2019, the Peruvian Navy’s Directorate of Hydrography and Navigation (DHN, in Spanish) will set up four oceanographic buoys along the northern coast of Peru. The buoys will strengthen authorities’ response capabilities to natural disasters such as El Niño Costero, which severely impacted the country in 2017. “The buoys will help authorities monitor strategic areas and gather real-time information for [follow-up] and prevention of an event such as El Niño,” Peruvian Navy Commander Alfieri Buccicardi, head of DHN’s Oceanography Department, told Diálogo. “[We seek to] alert the population and reduce the death toll and material damage to socioeconomic activities that are important at the national level.” The Peruvian government authorized the Ministry of Defense to use $2.69 million from the Fund for Natural Disaster Interventions (FONDES, in Spanish) to purchase four buoys, El Peruano newspaper reported. FONDES funds public investment projects for the mitigation, response capability, restoration, and reconstruction of Peru in the aftermath of calamitous events, especially occurring suddenly, causing great socio-economic loss. The buoys will not only provide information about strategic and open sea areas, but also enable the study of physical variables to help forecast rapid changes in the sea that impact maritime coastal areas. Buoys will send data of oceanographic variables via satellite, including seawater temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels from depths of 10 to 500 meters. Buoys will also include sensors to measure waves and tides, and a system to maintain a permanent position that DHN will monitor via GPS. “Buoys will be purchased in the international market. The Peruvian Navy is in the process of selecting [the manufacturer] to buy the equipment,” Cmdr. Buccicardi said. “We hope to install them by early 2019. Two [will be placed] on the northern coast of Peru, at a depth of about 4,500 meters, and two will be for replacement and maintenance.” The polar research vessel BAP Carrasco of the Peruvian Navy, equipped to plant the devices in specific geographical locations, will install buoys with the support of a dynamic positioning system. The mission will last one week. A great tool Part of the Peruvian Navy’s DHN mission is to conduct research related to aquatic environmental sciences to contribute to national development. The Multisectoral Committee for the National Study of El Niño (ENFEN, in Spanish), which studies El Niño and La Niña in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and Peruvian coasts, contributes to the mission. However, an information gap in the region known as Niño 1+2 exists, where authorities lack the tools to predict El Niño and La Niña phenomena. “Currently, the lack of buoys in the area makes it impossible to provide information about ocean weather conditions in the area of El Niño 1+2, along the northern coast of Peru. For this reason, El Niño Costero went unnoticed in the summer of 2017. Its impact harmed the country’s economy and infrastructure and cost human lives,” Cmdr. Buccicardi said. “So, oceanographic buoys are crucial to warn the population before such disasters happen.” El Niño Costero 2017 increased temperatures abruptly on the sea surface more than 26 degrees Celsius in several parts of the northern coast. Meanwhile, in the equatorial central Pacific, La Niña’s transition was occurring, causing torrential rain. “Due to the impacts associated with heavy rain and flooding, we can say this event is the third most intense El Niño in the last 100 years for Peru,” indicates ENFEN’s Extraordinary Technical Report. In 2016, the Peruvian Navy and the Marine Institute of Peru deployed 12 oceanographic buoys between Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, 240 miles off the coast. The U.S. Navy and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration donated the buoys. “The Navy, through DHN, monitors certain areas in the ocean without having to send an oceanographic vessel,” Cmdr. Buccicardi said. “Although they are great monitoring tools, it doesn’t mean that they improve planning capabilities for management. This type of buoy is an early warning tool against tsunamis.” NAYLAMP II In 1999 the World Bank and the Peruvian government funded the NAYLAMP project (named after a Peruvian mythological character from the sea) to monitor and do research in Peru’s southeast tropical Pacific region to forecast El Niño’s arrival. DHN installed, operated, and maintained buoys located between 50 and 400 miles off the Peruvian coast. “The project isn’t currently active; however, we are trying to resume monitoring tasks in strategic and non-strategic areas to study possible arrivals or changes in the water column. With the [new] buoys, the goals would be met, and a new project would resume, NAYLAMP II”, Cmdr. Buccicardi concluded.last_img read more