By Dialogo March 10, 2011 On 5 March, crewmembers of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence participated in a subject-matter exchange with Coast Guardsmen from the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force, Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic. The Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for maritime law enforcement and works closely with its partner agencies and countries throughout the Caribbean to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs and migrants in the region. In support of Exercise Tradewinds 2011, more than 135 U.S. Coast Guard personnel are on the ground and on the water in Antigua and Barbuda. They are working with more than 20 partner nations in exercises designed to build relationships and enhance security and inter-operability throughout the region. As part of the exercise’s maritime portion, the more than 75 crewmembers of the CGC Diligence, homeported in Wilmington, N.C., arrived in Antigua and Barbuda on March 2 after being underway for more than 30 days conducting maritime-law-enforcement and search and rescue operations. The classroom session held in the morning covered topics ranging from the initial embarkation onboard a vessel and dealing with hazardous situations to collecting information about possible illicit activities. “This is a great opportunity for other nations to learn from us and for us to take something away from working with them,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Alan McCosley, a maritime enforcement specialist aboard Diligence, originally from Broadway, N.C. “Coming down here for an operation like this is something you remember your entire career.” All of the participating nations in Tradewinds 2011 share common interests in the region and have the common goal of increasing the presence and inter-operability of security forces in the region. “What we wanted to do was go over basic boarding procedures,” said Lt. j.g. Michael Persun, a native of Hershey, Pa., and one of Diligence’s boarding officers. “We covered everything from the initial safety inspection, which ensures both the boarding team’s safety and that of the vessel’s crew to intelligence collected by observing the vessel and using tactical procedures once you get onboard.” The tactical procedures portion of the day’s exercise featured demonstrations by members of Diligence’s law-enforcement team, role players and scenarios that allowed the multi-national group to use the strategies and actions in a training environment before using them in the field. “They already had a sound understanding of the basic procedures,” said Persun. “When it came to the tactical procedures, they were seeing a lot of it for the first time, but they were really enthusiastic about learning and showed vast improvement throughout the day.” In mixed-nationality teams, participants navigated the darkened hallways of the Antigua-Barbuda Defense Force Coast Guard Base. After coming to a door they had to decide quickly on the entrance maneuver they would use and in what order they would clear the room. If they found a suspicious person, it was their responsibility to decide how they would extract that person while maintaining awareness of what was happening around them. “All of the work we did was geared toward a high-risk boarding situation,” said Persun. “We used nonverbal communication like hand signals and shoulder taps to get everyone involved to work more as a team.” “Teamwork is the key to an effective and safe boarding,” said McCosley. “If we had to do a boarding with them, it gives them an idea of the way we do things, and that level of cooperation and confidence helps keep everyone involved safe.” During the course of Tradewinds 2011, Diligence crewmembers will be involved in more than 10 days of training, culminating in a field training exercise that will improve the capabilities of participating nations’ forces and promote stability in the region. Tradewinds is a joint-combined, interagency exercise and will involve U.S. personnel from the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, Joint-interagency Task Force-South, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with forces from: Antigua-Barbuda (host nation), Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
By Dialogo December 28, 2011 The statement did not specify the group to which the explosives might belong, although the FARC, a leftist guerrilla group, and armed groups working for drug traffickers operate around Tumaco, in the department of Nariño. In the same location, 68 meters of detonating cord and 200 meters of cable were also found, items that the Navy believes were going to be used to construct the activation mechanism. The Pacific Naval Force has seized almost two tons of explosives this year, the Navy stressed. “The 32 homemade devices containing the high-powered explosive were found” in a rural hiding place in the port city of Tumaco (on the Pacific), the institution indicated on its website. Informants reported that this material would be used to “perpetrate attacks against the civilian population and government forces around the end of the year,” according to the Navy, which did not report any arrests during the operation. Colombian Navy personnel discovered 32 devices containing almost 130 kg of the explosive pentolite in the municipality of Tumaco (in southwestern Colombia), on the border with Ecuador, the National Navy said.
By Dialogo April 02, 2012 U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on his way back from Brazil on March 30, said he was pleased with “wide-ranging” discussions he had with Brazilian Defense Minister Antonio Celso Amorim and Head of the Brazilian Armed Forces Joint General Staff, General Jose Carlos de Nardi. The leaders discussed common interests – transnational organized crime, border controls, intelligence sharing, technology transfers and cyber. “I went in hoping that we wouldn’t get bogged down in a single weapons system or on technology transfer, and we didn’t,” Dempsey said. The chairman said he was not surprised that Brazil has the same concern as the United States about cyber. “The better they do economically and the more influence they have internationally, the more they see what we see, which is [that] cyber is both our greatest opportunity and our greatest vulnerability,” he added. Gen. Dempsey also noted that cyber defense may be an area where the two military partners can work together. “They are concerned about the Mideast, the long-term implications of the Arab Spring, whether we think Iran will respond to sanctions,” the chairman said. They also discussed the regional picture. Brazil is at ease with the relationships it has with all its neighbors. “They see Colombia in a special light because they feel Colombia has made significant progress in containing the FARC insurgency,” Dempsey said. “That worried the Brazilians because they were afraid of spillover.” Brazilian leaders told Dempsey they must deal with transnational organized crime.
International drug cartels are among the groups which engage in the illegal extraction and sale of gold, silver, iron and other materials. For example, on June 11, Mexican security forces at the ports of Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, Manzanillo and Colima seized five ships carrying more than 339,000 tons of iron ore. The iron ore was allegedly being smuggled by the Knights Templar, a Mexican transnational criminal organization, Univision reported on June 12. The iron ore was worth about $70 million (USD). From late 2013 to mid-June 2014, Mexican security forces seized 720,000 tons of iron ore, which was headed to China. In recent years, the Knights Templar has increased its illegal mining operations. The criminal syndicate runs some of its own illegal mines, and also uses force and intimidation to take gold, silver, iron ore, and other materials from legitimate mining companies. The drug trafficking groups Los Urabeños, Los Rastrojos, and the Sinaloa Cartel are among the transnational criminal organizations which engage in illegal mining in one or more of the four Pacific Alliance countries. The Mexican government is also taking steps to fight illegal mining. Mexican authorities have pledged to inspect each of the 1,252 mines in the country. Illegal mining causes environmental damage Illegal mining operations are causing different kinds of environmental damage. For example, in Colombia, illegal gold miners use large amounts of water, as much as 250,000 liters of water during the extracting process, according to coha.org. This depletes ground water reserves and lowers the supply of water for the civilian population. Insufficient levels of ground water can harm nutrients in soil, which causes damage to the ecosystem. Some illegal miners use sodium cyanide while extracting gold and minerals. This substance is toxic and can contaminate the drinking water of the civilian population. Military Forces in Perú fight illegal mining Officials from the four countries gathered for the IX Pacific Alliance Summit, which was held June 19-20 in Nayarit, México. During the conference, Pacific Alliance members agreed to form a working group to develop joint tactics to promote and protect legal mining in Colombia, Perú, Chile, and México. In all four countries, “there is a special interest around energy and mining, and there are many instances in which we work together such as in training police officers. This kind of support helps us fight against a common enemy, violence and drug trafficking,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said during the closing session of the summit on June 20, according to Crónica. Pacific Alliance countries are important exporters of gold, silver, and iron By Dialogo September 11, 2014 Colombia, Perú, Chile, and México are working in cooperation to thwart the illegal mining operations of organized crime groups stealing natural resources in those countries. These countries comprise the Pacific Alliance trade bloc, which authorities formed in 2011. The organization was formed to promote free trade and to encourage economic activity among its member states, as well as to forge closer ties with the Asia-Pacific region. These countries are cooperating in fighting the illegal mining, export, and sale of gold, silver, copper, and iron by criminal organizations. Such illegal operations harm the environment and support terrorism. Security forces from these countries have won important victories in the battle against illegal mining in recent months. For example, in June, security forces in Perú destroyed more than 100 machines used by organized crime groups in illegal mining operations. Also in June, Mexican security forces seized more than 330,000 tons of illegally mined iron ore. The iron ore was allegedly mined by the Knights Templar, a Mexican drug cartel. Criminal and terrorist organizations are operating illegal mining enterprises in each of these countries. For example, organized crime groups control clandestine gold refineries in Perú, and armed criminal groups operate illegal mines in Colombia, Santiago Rojas, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism of Colombia, said in published reports. In addition to promoting trade, the Pacific Alliance countries also work to “to promote legal mining with innovation, sustainable development and social responsibility, and in turn, strongly combat illegal mining,” Rojas said. Fighting a common enemy The four Pacific Alliance countries provide a significant percentage of the silver, copper, and steel which is sold worldwide. For example, jointly they account for 48 percent of the silver and 45 percent of the copper produced worldwide every year. They also account for 24 percent of the steel alloys produced annually, according to Minería. Legitimate mining enterprises are threatened by illegal mining operations, according to Carlos Mendoza, director of Strategic Projects Consultancy, a private security company in Mexico City. Illegal mining by organized crime and terrorist groups “is serious, affects many areas, and has many dimensions that must be addressed, such as the expansion of illegal mining activities, forced labor, the uncontrolled use of substances hazardous to health, and environmental impacts,” Mendoza said. “Organized crime, drug trafficking, and (anti-government insurgent) groups have been identified in the extraction, sale and export of minerals, an economic niche that gives them an immediate economic return,” Mendoza said. Illegal mining exacts a huge financial toll on legitimate, legal mining operations. For example, in Colombia, about 90 percent of the gold mined annually is extracted by illegal mining enterprises. Criminal groups are negatively impacting Perú’s gold trade. Perú is the largest gold producer in Latin America. Criminal syndicates produce about 15 percent of the country’s gold each year – an amount worth about $3 billion (USD), according to the report “Forced labor and human trafficking in illegal gold mining in Perú,” which was produced by Verité, an international human rights group. Illegal mining operations are important sources of revenue for organized crime groups. For example, in Perú, organized crime groups directly employ about 100,000 people in illegal mining enterprises, according to Mendoza. In 2013, criminal syndicates carried out illegal mining operations in 21 of Perú’s 25 regions, according to published reports. Organized crime groups and terrorist organizations are making fast and large profits by exploiting natural resources to fuel their illicit activities, threatening the stability and future development of the planet, said Interpol’s Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin, at a press conference on June 24 in Nairobi. Louboutin spoke to journalists after officials presented the report “The Environmental Crime Crisis.” The report was produced by the United Nations and Interpol. Knights Templar engage in illegal mining in México Security forces in Pacific Alliance countries are fighting back against criminal syndicates to combat illegal mining operations. For example, on June 10, the National Police and the Armed Forces of Perú destroyed 114 machines which were being used by criminal groups in illegal mining operations in the Madre de Dios region, in the eastern part of the country, according to a press release from the Public Prosecutor’s Office. About 1,000 police and military personnel, 18 special prosecutors took part in the operation. Security forces used several helicopters to reach remote areas where criminal groups were engaging in illegal mining. Cooperation between security forces from Pacific Alliance countries is producing “constant and effective work against organized crime syndicates,” the security analyst said. AWESOME GEOPOLITICAL UNITY WILL ENHANCE LATIN AMERICAN UNITY.WE NEED TO UNITE TO KEEP THESE THINGS FROM HAPPENING.CHILE, COLOMBIA, PERU, MEXICO HAVE TO HELP US ACHIEVE THIS BY SHOWING A BROADER ATTITUDE. The news item Excellent job to be able to fight against all illegal work. It is very good There should be more news I liked it a lot
By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo September 21, 2016 Algun dia Chile y Argentina estaran unidas en paz en los estados unidos latinoamericanos.Es mas lo que nos une, que lo nos separa.unidos somos mas fuertes.Dejar de lado los nacionalismos extremos. From July 4th-8th, four Argentine Army officers participated in the “5 Torri 2016” international exercise on climbing techniques. The training takes place annually at the Cinque Torri (Five Towers) mountain complex in the Italian region of Veneto and is organized by the Italian Army’s Alpine Troops Command. This year, 700 personnel from 11 countries, including Chile and Argentina, participated in the “5 Torri.” “This is the first time that Argentina is participating in the exercise,” Argentine Army Lieutenant Colonel Gustavo Beretta, who serves at the Military Mountain School, told Diálogo. “Basically, members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe participate. For this edition, they also invited Argentina and Chile,” he added. Officers from the Army’s 6th and 8th Mountain Company “Cazadores de Montaña,” as well as the 5th Exploration Cavalry Regiment, were under the command of Lt. Col. Beretta. Techniques and Tactics The “5 Torri” exercise is divided into two parts. During the tactical exercise, carried out only by the Italian Army, various Italian brigades demonstrate their mountain combat capacities. During the technical exercise, military members from the guest countries show their mountaineering skills. “During the exercise, each country selected a different climbing route and showed its techniques and procedures, depending on the level of difficulty of each route,” said Lt. Col. Beretta. “What we did was rock climbing, placing protection devices with a rope. Other armies climbed with two ropes. There are various techniques that are used.” Participants also practiced mountain rescue of injured climbers with the support of UH-1H and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, as well as equipped new routes of various difficulties and installed semi-permanent climbing fixtures. Many of the techniques used are similar to the ones employed by civilian climbers. “When we are in a given place and there is a difficult obstacle that we have to get around, the only way to do that is to climb,” explains Lt. Col. Beretta. “That is why we don’t look at [mountaineering] as a sport, but rather as a means of getting past obstacles we may come across. The idea is for the ‘5 Torri’ guests to also be included in the tactical exercise in 2017,” he added. War scenario Located in the Dolomites mountain range in the Italian Alps, Cinque Torri is a small mountain complex with five rock outcroppings. The highest projection, called “Torre Grande,” has an elevation of 2,361 meters. During WWI, this striking rock formation became a theater of operations for combat between Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops. “To this day we can see the blockhouses and trenches built [by the Royal Italian Army],” said Lt. Col. Beretta. The participants were housed in a military unit in the city of Corvara and traveled to the five towers every day to practice climbing. Exchange with other militaries In addition to demonstrations on technique, the “5 Torri” exercise is an opportunity for integration between the different armed forces. “This experience has not only been interesting in terms of learning, but it has also helped reinforce bonds of friendship between the different participating countries,” said the website of Spain’s 66th Mountain Hunters Regiment “America,” which sent four troops to Italy. “The exchange is important so we can get to know how other countries work, interact with each other and foster good relationships with other armies,” said Lt. Col. Beretta, noting that Argentine mountain troops have permanent exchanges and courses with their counterparts in countries like Chile, Spain, and Italy. “Currently, there is a Chilean officer here at the Military Mountain School as an instructor of ours,” he said. “There are also Argentine officers in the Chilean Army.” Argentina is also the only Latin American country that belongs to the International Association of Military Mountain Schools (IAMMS), which promotes joint activities. After more than a decade as an observer member of the association, Argentina became a permanent member last February, when it organized the 50th Meeting of the IAMMS at the Military Mountain School in Bariloche. “The meeting showed a strong international spirit,” said Italian Army Brigadier General Simone Giannuzzi in a statement to the Argentine Army’s digital journal Soldados. “The generosity, the efforts and the great organization of the Military Mountain School stands out.”
By the third week of March 2018,, the Colombian National Navy managed to seize 26.6 tons of cocaine about to be sent to countries in North America and Europe. “During all these operations, we work with international agencies. The fight against narcotrafficking is part of a larger international offensive. We share the same threat with many countries, but we also share the tools needed to fight it,” Adm. Durán explained. “We do operations with other forces and agencies from Mexico, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Holland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Every day, gangs invest in more technology to circumvent controls, but every time they do, we get more cooperation from the international community to face them.” By Yolima Dussán/Diálogo April 03, 2018 From March 5–9, 2018, the Colombian Military Forces struck a blow to narcotrafficking gangs, seizing a total of 8.1 tons of cocaine. Through combined interagency operations, authorities intercepted 5.3 tons of drugs in the Gulf of Urabá, 1.6 tons in the port city of Santa Marta, and another 1.2 tons on the border with Ecuador. The largest shipment was found on March 9th, in the Gulf of Urabá. The northwestern Colombian region is considered the Gulf Clan’s center of operations. Large plantations are concentrated in the area close to the border with Panama. More than 34,000 hectares are planted with bananas, the main driver of the economy in the region. Illegal armed groups use the area’s geographical location, close to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, to move cocaine shipments out of the country. “The [5.3 tons of] drugs were concealed among boxes of bananas in containers that were going to be shipped to Europe. The vessel was destined for Belgium, and from there, the narcotics would have been distributed across the continent,” Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas, said in a press briefing. “The cocaine’s street value could have been as high as $436 million. We’re certain we dealt a heavy blow to the Gulf Clan’s finances.” International offensive The interception of drugs was the largest since the 73rd Counter-Narcotrafficking Task Force Neptune became active in the Caribbean region in February 2015. “This outcome is the result of a coordinated interagency effort,” Admiral Ernesto Durán González, commander of the Colombian National Navy, said during a press briefing. “But it was also the result of working with the community, whose information enabled us to initiate a months-long naval intelligence operation, thanks to which we tracked down when the gang first started collecting the drugs.” “Police personnel specialized in target selection and analysis singled out one container that was registered as containing a shipment of bananas and opened it for a physical inspection. Instead, they found 1,627 packets containing the white substance,” the Police reported. Seizure on the border with Ecuador On March 5th, in the far south of the country, Colombian and Ecuadorean military forces found a 1.2-ton cocaine shipment during a combined maritime operation in the Ancón de Sardinas Bay border area. In the operation led by Joint Task Force Hercules, the Colombian National Navy and the Northern Area Joint Command of the Ecuadorean Armed Forces intercepted a boat with three outboard engines, but no name or registration. According to authorities, 1,212 packages of cocaine were found, valued at $38 million on the international market. Authorities also seized plastic containers with 700 gallons of fuel aboard the boat and arrested four people during the operation. They are now being held by Special Public Prosecutor No. 20 in Tumaco, in the western Colombian department of Nariño. According to a statement from the Colombian National Police, on March 6th, in that same part of the Caribbean, elements attached to the Directorate for Counternarcotics seized 1.6 tons of cocaine at the port of Santa Marta, Colombia, in a fruit shipment due to be sent to Antwerp, Belgium. The cocaine was placed inside shipping containers before entry at the port terminal, as the seals on the containers were intact and registration forms for the goods were in order. The pressure of the authorities slowed down small-scale smuggling, forcing narcotrafficking gangs to stockpile cocaine in larger amounts and conceal it in shipping containers when the time comes to export. But the process leaves a trace for intelligence operations. The shipment was worth close to $89 million. The bust was in addition to the 10.4 tons of cocaine the Colombian National Police seized so far in the Caribbean region in 2018. By the end of March, the Colombian Public Force had seized close to 60 tons of cocaine ready to be shipped out of the country. From March 5–9, 2018, the Colombian Military Forces struck a blow to narcotrafficking gangs, seizing a total of 8.1 tons of cocaine. Through combined interagency operations, authorities intercepted 5.3 tons of drugs in the Gulf of Urabá, 1.6 tons in the port city of Santa Marta, and another 1.2 tons on the border with Ecuador. The largest shipment was found on March 9th, in the Gulf of Urabá. The northwestern Colombian region is considered the Gulf Clan’s center of operations. Large plantations are concentrated in the area close to the border with Panama. More than 34,000 hectares are planted with bananas, the main driver of the economy in the region. Illegal armed groups use the area’s geographical location, close to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, to move cocaine shipments out of the country. “The [5.3 tons of] drugs were concealed among boxes of bananas in containers that were going to be shipped to Europe. The vessel was destined for Belgium, and from there, the narcotics would have been distributed across the continent,” Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas, said in a press briefing. “The cocaine’s street value could have been as high as $436 million. We’re certain we dealt a heavy blow to the Gulf Clan’s finances.” International offensive The interception of drugs was the largest since the 73rd Counter-Narcotrafficking Task Force Neptune became active in the Caribbean region in February 2015. “This outcome is the result of a coordinated interagency effort,” Admiral Ernesto Durán González, commander of the Colombian National Navy, said during a press briefing. “But it was also the result of working with the community, whose information enabled us to initiate a months-long naval intelligence operation, thanks to which we tracked down when the gang first started collecting the drugs.” The pressure of the authorities slowed down small-scale smuggling, forcing narcotrafficking gangs to stockpile cocaine in larger amounts and conceal it in shipping containers when the time comes to export. But the process leaves a trace for intelligence operations. By the third week of March 2018,, the Colombian National Navy managed to seize 26.6 tons of cocaine about to be sent to countries in North America and Europe. “During all these operations, we work with international agencies. The fight against narcotrafficking is part of a larger international offensive. We share the same threat with many countries, but we also share the tools needed to fight it,” Adm. Durán explained. “We do operations with other forces and agencies from Mexico, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Holland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Every day, gangs invest in more technology to circumvent controls, but every time they do, we get more cooperation from the international community to face them.” Seizure on the border with Ecuador On March 5th, in the far south of the country, Colombian and Ecuadorean military forces found a 1.2-ton cocaine shipment during a combined maritime operation in the Ancón de Sardinas Bay border area. In the operation led by Joint Task Force Hercules, the Colombian National Navy and the Northern Area Joint Command of the Ecuadorean Armed Forces intercepted a boat with three outboard engines, but no name or registration. According to authorities, 1,212 packages of cocaine were found, valued at $38 million on the international market. Authorities also seized plastic containers with 700 gallons of fuel aboard the boat and arrested four people during the operation. They are now being held by Special Public Prosecutor No. 20 in Tumaco, in the western Colombian department of Nariño. According to a statement from the Colombian National Police, on March 6th, in that same part of the Caribbean, elements attached to the Directorate for Counternarcotics seized 1.6 tons of cocaine at the port of Santa Marta, Colombia, in a fruit shipment due to be sent to Antwerp, Belgium. The cocaine was placed inside shipping containers before entry at the port terminal, as the seals on the containers were intact and registration forms for the goods were in order. “Police personnel specialized in target selection and analysis singled out one container that was registered as containing a shipment of bananas and opened it for a physical inspection. Instead, they found 1,627 packets containing the white substance,” the Police reported. The shipment was worth close to $89 million. The bust was in addition to the 10.4 tons of cocaine the Colombian National Police seized so far in the Caribbean region in 2018. By the end of March, the Colombian Public Force had seized close to 60 tons of cocaine ready to be shipped out of the country.
By Juan Delgado/Diálogo October 02, 2018 Argentine and Chilean armed forces spent 10 days on the northern Antarctic Peninsula in a combined rescue exercise. The Argentine-Chilean Combined Antarctic Emergency and Rescue Patrol 2018 (PARACACH 2018, in Spanish) integrated army elements of both countries to improve response capabilities in rescue emergencies in Antarctica, August 20th-30th. Under the coordination of the Antarctic Joint Command of the Argentine Armed Forces’ Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chilean Joint Chiefs of Staff, participants carried out Antarctic emergency operations, such as planning for search and rescue missions, navigation, injured recovery, and first-aid response. The patrol also walked over glaciers and frozen seas and coordinated radio communications. “It’s a very enriching experience professionally,” Argentine Army Major Leonardo Martín Sakamoto, commander of the Esperanza Base in Argentine Antarctica, told Diálogo. “Conducted on site in real time and under extreme conditions, the exercise adds great value to patrol training.” The objective was to assess and increase military capabilities in Antarctic rescue operations. PARACACH 2018 also aimed at strengthening cooperation and bonds of friendship between both nations to face emergency situations in the inhospitable white continent. “The main objective was to create a combined patrol team on a permanent basis to respond as soon as possible to an emergency call from any foreign base,” Maj. Sakamoto said. “It’s important to standardize techniques to rescue injured people who fall into deep crevasses and use special rescue equipment to recover the injured.” A long trip The patrol consisted of 14 members of both nations and 13 snowmobiles, each with sleds. Participants came from the Argentine Esperanza Base and the Chilean O’Higgins Base in Antarctica, both of which operate all year long. “For the Chilean Armed Forces, conducting these exercises with Argentina is very important, so that we can standardize procedures that will allow for a quicker reaction,” said Chilean Army Captain René Salgado, commander of the Exploration and Rescue Section at O’Higgins Base. “We demonstrated the combined capabilities of rescue teams to act under extreme weather conditions at any time of the year.” Under temperatures of -20º C and strong freezing winds, the patrol left the O’Higgins base and headed for Bahía Dusse, near Esperanza Base, to carry out the simulated rescue of a scientist injured from a fall into a deep crevasse. After traveling nearly 50 kilometers on glaciers and frozen waters, service members reached their objective with the support of a DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft from the Argentine Marambio Base in Antarctica, which made a real-time air evacuation. The exercise concluded with a debriefing to share lessons learned and implement participants’ experiences, which will be passed down to future Antarctic personnel. “It turned out to be a successful exercise, showing the outstanding operational state of human and material resources,” Capt. Salgado said. Antarctic challenges Rescue operations are challenging in Antarctica, whether in response to an accident or the need to evacuate personnel or equipment. Local bases must manage and develop contingency plans in case of possible emergencies and conduct frequent training. Considering their predominant role in the area, Argentina and Chile decided to join efforts and coordinate combined exercises between the Esperanza and O’Higgins bases. PARACACH was the fruit of these efforts. Argentina and Chile carry out the annual exercise under the framework of bilateral agreements and the 2009 Maipú Treaty of Integration and Cooperation. The 2014 Joint Declaration of the Defense ministers of Chile and Argentina, which seeks closer cooperation in Antarctica, also supports the exercise. Bonds of friendship “First and foremost, there is a close relationship between the O’Higgins and Esperanza bases, made evident through the annual planning and execution of PARACACH,” Capt. Salgado said. “The Argentine Marambio Base also provides weather information, which is fundamental to carry out exploration.” Units from O’Higgins and Esperanza bases will continue to conduct individual exercises and improve procedures to prepare for PARACACH 2019. An added benefit of the exercise is the better knowledge of the terrain gained in the northern area of the Antarctic Peninsula. “Carrying out PARACACH increases readiness and collaboration between both nations, so as to conduct rescue operations and exchange experiences,” Maj. Sakamoto said. “It strengthens ties of camaraderie between the Argentine and Chilean personnel to implement all the experience obtained.”
By Nelza Oliveira/Diálogo October 03, 2018 On August 6, 2018, the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) launched the South-Southeastern Naval Patrol Group to increase surveillance of Brazilian waters along the coasts of the states of São Paulo and Paraná. The objective is to guarantee protection of oil platforms on the Santos Basin, increase security at the Port of Santos, the largest in Latin America, maximize search-and-rescue missions at sea, and safeguard maritime traffic rules. “The group was mainly created to increase MB’s presence in the region, given the economic relevance of the Port of Santos, responsible for 25 percent of Brazil’s foreign trade,” said MB Commander Carlos Marden Soares Pereira da Silva, commander of the South-Southeastern Naval Patrol Group. “The subsequent increase in maritime activities and the proximity to oil industry activities in the Santos Basin are also important.” To carry out surveillance operations, the military unit has at its disposal the recently refurbished patrol ship Guajará, which has a 10-day range at sea and the capacity to operate out to 200 nautical miles. The unit’s fleet also includes two updated patrol boats, the AviPa Barracuda and P8003 Espadarte, and an armored speedboat valued at $360,500. Their own resources A total of 80 service members, including six officers and 42 noncommissioned officers, in addition to the ships’ crews, comprise the unit. The group is based at MB’s dock, by the Santos docking complex, where the São Paulo Captaincy of Ports is located. The new group and the captaincy, under the Eighth Naval District Command (Com8ºDN, in Portuguese), will work independently yet complement each other. Com8ºDN’s range extends to the states of São Paulo, Paraná, and Minas Gerais, in the east of Brazil, as well as parts of Mato Grosso do Sul and Goiás, in the midwest. Service members attached to the group will quarter at Santos Air Base, in Guarujá, on the coast of São Paulo. A unit deployed in 2015 previously carried out patrols in the region. “Naval and air naval resources from the First Naval District Command and, eventually, resources from Navy Fleet Command, carried out naval patrol services in Com8ºDN’s maritime area of jurisdiction. With the group’s activation, Com8ºDN’s own naval resources will carry out naval patrol services,” Cmdr. Marden said. Aside from naval inspection duties, the unit’s ships must guarantee security to oil operations in the Santos Basin pre-salt region. The military unit will patrol close to platforms, extending beyond the 500-meter safety zones. “Resources will be allocated to naval operations, such as naval patrol, search and rescue, port and restricted maritime areas defense—including terminals and oil platforms in the pre-salt region—and navigation security services,” Cmdr. Marden said. Fishing activities near platforms will be among issues patrols can discourage. Exploration equipment at times release organic matter at sea that attracts fish and, naturally, fishermen. Joint activity According to Cmdr. Marden, the unit’s operations at port support the Federal Police, the Department of Federal Revenue, and state forces, and contribute to the fight against transnational drug trafficking, boat thefts, and other potential issues at port. “[The unit] will also conduct preventive and punitive activities against cross-border and environmental crimes, alone or jointly with public security agencies at the federal, state, and municipal levels. In addition, the group will enforce the law and regulations of maritime authorities in those areas.” On August 13th, less than a week after its activation, the new group was put to the test when armed men attacked the Italian vessel Grande Francia, as it arrived at the Port of Santos. The criminals escaped, and units aboard the AviPa Barracuda escorted the ship to the dock. Police investigation centers on a fake robbery as a cover to board 1.2 tons of cocaine in containers that the crew would have unknowingly transported to Europe. In August, the Port of Santos, with the support of the Federal Revenue Department and MB’s naval patrols, broke record numbers of cocaine seizures. In four operations, authorities seized 3.5 tons of cocaine, according to the Federal Revenue Department’s Customs Office.
By Nelza Oliveira/Diálogo January 22, 2019 Service members from the Brazilian Armed Forces took part in the United Nations’ (UN) fourth workshop to revise the Infantry Battalion Manual (UNIBAM) in Salvador, Brazil, November 5-9, 2018. The Brazilian Ministry of Defense Peacekeeping Operations Office coordinated the UNIBAM review committee session. UN representatives and member countries, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Finland, Holland, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the United States attended the workshop. A total of 19 participants took part in the review. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and UN Field Support launched UNIBAM in 2012 to improve the performance of peacekeeping military forces. The document describes standards, tasks, structures, requirements for equipment and self-evaluation tools for infantry components in peacekeeping operations to improve troops’ performance. Contributions from member states, former battalion commanders, peacekeeping maintenance trainees, training specialists, and others, contributed to the creation of the document. The Brazilian Ministry of Defense’s Public Affairs Office explained to Diálogo that revisions are done every five years to take technological advances and the many operational environments in which the UN troops operate into account. The workshop conducted in Brazil was the fourth and last of the initial UNIBAM revision. Two workshops were carried out in Bangladesh, in February and October 2018, and one in Nigeria, also in October 2018. The next step is to prepare UN troops’ training kits to be sent to peacekeeping training centers for countries to prepare their contingent based on the new doctrine. Brazil was selected to contribute to UNIBAM’s revision due to its extended participation in UN peacekeeping missions. The country already participated in about 50 UN missions and led the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti for 13 years—one of the longest in history—with a participation of more than 37,000 service members. “The opportunity to contribute to the manual revision is a result of Brazil’s excellent performance in peacekeeping missions. Our participation enables us to provide input in several chapters of the manual, increasing Brazil’s chances of joining future missions,” said General José Eduardo Pereira, deputy chief of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense’s Joint Operations. “The organization of an event like this is our opportunity to share this capability with other countries. Brazil demonstrated its planning skills with events such as the FIFA World Cup, the Summer Olympics, and the Military World Games.” Phases leading to the release UNIBAM’s revision started after working subgroups discussed the chapters. Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) Colonel Ulisses de Mesquita Gomes, head of the Political, Doctrine, and Training Division of DPKO’s Office of Military Affairs, which creates manuals and assembles training kits for UN troops, reviewed the suggestions. Col. Ulisses competed for the job against 134 officers. He believes that his appointment was due, among other reasons, to EB’s careful selection and his training at the Brazilian Peace Operations Joint Training Center, based in Rio de Janeiro, where, since 2010, Brazilians and foreign service members train to participate in UN peacekeeping operations. “In addition to ongoing revisions, there are other revisions scheduled, such as aviation and engineering manuals and the creation of the infantry battalion commanders’ course, projects in which Brazil also participates,” said Col. Ulisses. After the officer’s approval, the UN will analyze the suggestions and their adherence to existing rules. The UN will also compare them to the Cruz Report, a document created under EB Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, former Public Security secretary and commander of the UN peacekeeping forces in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Cruz Report seeks to reduce blue helmets’ death toll during peacekeeping missions. All members of peacekeeping missions will follow UNIBAM’s guidelines upon its release. Sharing experience The workshop brought together officers with vast experience in peacekeeping missions, many of whom shared their experiences in the event. Brazilian Marine Corps Colonel Alexandre Mariano Feitosa, an officer who participated in the Haiti mission and served at DPKO in New York as head of mission planning in the Middle East, was among those. “The manual’s revision meeting demonstrates Brazil’s respect and attention to the international scene, a result of Brazilian performance in peacekeeping operations,” said Col. Feitosa. “I’m proud to represent the Marine Corps, and the Brazilian Navy, in such relevant work.” EB Lieutenant Colonel José Paulino Sobrinho Junior trained for peacekeeping missions in Kingston, Canada, before becoming an observer in the Western Sahara for two years. He commanded a deployment with 15 to 20 international service members and monitored the cease fire in the region. “I left the region feeling proud as I realized how valued Brazil is, mainly due to its contributions to world peace,” said Lt. Col. Paulino.
By Myriam Ortega/Diálogo April 11, 2019 The Colombian Navy curbed the activities of a transnational criminal ring in Cauca department, in the Colombian Pacific coast, between January and February 2019. Units of the Navy’s Pacific Naval Force (FNP, in Spanish) led several joint operations that resulted in the seizure of three semisubmersibles and more than 1 ton of cocaine, and the arrest of three criminals. FNP conducted the operations with the support of the Colombian Air Force’s (FAC, in Spanish) 7th Combat Air Command (CACOM-7), and the Attorney General’s Special Office against Drug Trafficking and Technical Investigation Corps. According to the Navy, the vehicles, drugs, and the three individuals belonged to the Residual Organized Armed Group (GAOR, in Spanish) Front 29 Steven González, which operates in the region. Pursuit at sea On January 28, authorities carried out a pursuit at sea, as a result of intelligence work from the Navy and former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish). The former guerillas sought for extradition by the United States collaborated with authorities in exchange for benefits such as reduced sentences, the Navy indicated in a press release. “Naval intelligence had information that helped detect the possible departure of a semisubmersible or vessel that potentially transported an unknown amount of an illegal substance,” Navy Commander Julio César Sánchez Suárez, chief of the Pacific Coast Guard Station, an FNP unit, told Diálogo. FAC pilots supported the operation with flights over the area with a Citation SR-560 intelligence aircraft, and a Cessna 208 Caravan surveillance platform. “What we do is act as a warning to guide Navy vessels and make maritime interdictions more efficient,” FAC Captain Rodrigo Núñez, CACOM-7 Air Defense Squadron commander, told Diálogo. With the information provided, FNP units located the semisubmersible in Pacific waters near Timbiquí municipality, Cauca department. The crew, one Colombian and two Ecuadorean nationals, attempted to get rid of the evidence upon seeing the Colombian Navy vessels. “When the crew realized we were going to capture them, they opened a few bottom valves, so that water could get in quickly and sink the semisubmersible,” said Cmdr. Sánchez. “We marked the approximate position where the vessel sank, and with the help of another Navy ship we verified and identified the exact location of the semisubmersible.” Rescue operation FNP units responded quickly to rescue the three criminals and recover the semisubmersible, which was 30 meters deep. After 10 days of work, and with the help of an amphibious landing ship, as well as diving and logistics units, the Navy salvaged the 20-meter-long and 2-meter-wide vessel and seized 1,535 kilograms of cocaine that the crew attempted to smuggle to Central America. “Colombian Navy divers, who are highly professional, started a very tricky and dangerous maneuver,” said Colombian Navy Vice Admiral José Martínez Olmos, FNP commander. “They tried several times to refloat that semisubmersible; it was very complicated, but with a well-conducted procedure we were able to extract both fuel and cocaine.” Navy personnel brought the detainees, drugs, and semisubmersible before authorities in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca department, for prosecution. The criminals could receive a six-to-12-year sentence for using, constructing, and owning a semisubmersible, and eight to 14 years for transporting the drug, said the Navy. Other semisubmersibles In early February, the Navy seized two other semisubmersibles in two shipyards hidden in the rural jungle area of López de Micay municipality, Cauca department. Joint intelligence work enabled the Navy and FAC to locate the shipyards and confirm the vessels’ presence. “We scanned through the undergrowth [in the jungle] with an infrared camera,” said Capt. Núñez. “We used heat marks to follow clues until we found the shipyard.” The seized semisubmersibles were 15 meters long and could transport up to 2.5 tons of cocaine each, the Navy said. The seizure of three semisubmersibles and 1.5 tons of cocaine allowed the Navy to deal a harsh blow to the finances of GAOR Front 29 Steven González. “So far this year , we seized six semisubmersibles and about 10 tons of cocaine and marijuana,” Vice Adm. Martínez concluded. “It’s a huge amount that shows the operational effort we carry out in our fight against the entire narcotrafficking chain of operation.”