Month: December 2020

Nicaragua Proposes Ecological Battalion To Protect Natural Reserves

first_imgBy Dialogo March 01, 2010 The Nicaraguan army plans to form an ecological battalion this year, with five hundred soldiers to watch over natural reserves and forests with support from people’s brigades, a military source announced. “This battalion’s mission will be to watch over protected areas like the Bosawas and Indio Maíz biospheres,” both located in the Caribbean region of Nicaragua, as well as forests and the environment, the army’s head of Civil Defense, Gen. Oscar Perezcassar, told AFP. In the 19,926-square-kilometer Bosawas reserve, there are almost no guards, due to the lack of human and financial resources. The battalion is an army initiative that received the support of President Daniel Ortega, although funds still need to be obtained in order to begin the organization process and the training of the soldiers who will make up the force. Civil Defense also expects that this initiative will serve to support the ecological activities of the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry (Marena), the military commander affirmed.last_img read more

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US Extends Relief for Illegal Haitian Immigrants

first_imgBy Dialogo July 14, 2010 The United States on Monday granted Haitians living illegally in the country before January’s devastating earthquake a six-month extension to apply for a special asylum relief program. In the days after the January 12 earthquake, President Barack Obama’s administration gave Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to thousands of Haitians who have sneaked into the United States in the past years. An immigrant granted TPS can stay legally in the United States for 18 months without fear of deportation, and following a review of their case, can obtain a temporary work permit. “Eligible Haitian nationals will have an additional 180 days to apply for Temporary Protected Status,” said a statement from the department of US Citizenship and Immigration Services. “Many Haitians need more time to apply for TPS,” the statement added. Only Haitians living in the United States prior to the earthquake that flattened the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding towns at the cost of some 250,000 lives are eligible. The new deadline for applications to be filed is January 18, 2011. The special protection, which allows groups of illegal immigrants to renew or obtain drivers licenses, and work legally, is meant as relief for countries reeling from natural disaster or political strife. Supporters argue that the move helps Haiti to rebuild, as immigrants send remittances to loved ones in the poorest country in the Americas, which is struggling to rebuild exactly six months after the 7.0-malast_img read more

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Run for Peace Celebrates Brazil’s Success at the 5th Military World Games

first_img The general also emphasized the fact that this year, Brazil has an additional reason to celebrate, aside from the fact that it leads the ranking of participating nations among CISM members. “This event has a special reason for being. Nobody imagined that Brazil would host the 5th Military World Games, organize them so well, and finish in first place in the competition. It couldn’t get any better,” he raved. By Dialogo April 20, 2012 Organized by the Defense Ministry (MD) and the International Military Sports Council (CISM), the initiative had the support of Military units from the Brazilian Army, Navy, and Air Force. According to him, the Run for Peace is a good opportunity to show that the Armed Forces are not restricted to the barracks. Over 2,000 people, including civilians and Military personnel, participated in the CISM Day Run – Run for Peace on April 15. This year, the event celebrated the first-place finish by Brazilian athletes at the 5th Military World Games. For Army Staff Sergeant Edmar de Oliveira Ribeiro, “gathering the family for this run is a way to motivate them, especially the children, to engage in physical activity.” This is the second year he has participated in the event. The chair of the Brazilian Military Sports Commission (CDMB/MD), Lieutenant General Fernando Azevedo e Silva, who participated in the race, appreciated the integration of Military personnel and civilians. “In Brazil, the credibility that the population attributes to the Armed Forces is evidence of the mutual respect between Military institutions and Brazilians.” The athletic event occurs simultaneously in all 133 countries that are part of CISM. It was created to celebrate the anniversary of the council, founded in 1984. The goal is integration with civil society through athletic activities. In Brasilia, the event had the support of the Planalto Military Command. The participants had the option of running or walking the 5K route. last_img read more

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Brazil Shelves Plans to Build New Nuclear Plants

first_imgBy Dialogo May 11, 2012 Brazil announced on May 9, it has shelved plans to build new nuclear power stations in the coming years in the wake of last year’s Fukushima disaster in Japan. The previous government led by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had planned to construct between four and eight new nuclear plants through 2030. But the Energy Ministry’s executive secretary, Marcio Zimmermann, was quoted as telling a forum on May 8 that there was no need for new nuclear facilities for the next 10 years. “The last plan, which runs through 2020, does not envision any (new) nuclear power station because there is no need for it. Demand is met with hydro-electrical power and complementary energy sources such as wind, thermal and natural gas,” Zimmermann said in remarks released by the Ministry. “The 2021 plan, as far as I know, will not consider nuclear power stations either,” he added, although he did not rule out construction of such facilities in the longer term. “After the (2011 Fukushima) accident in Japan, not just Brazil but the entire world stopped to analyze and assess,” Mauricio Tomalsquim, president of the EPE energy research firm, told the same event. Tomalsquim said that in the next 10 years, the hydro-electrical contribution to Brazil’s energy mix will fall from the current 75 percent to 67 percent while that of renewable energy sources — wind, solar and biomass – will rise from eight to 16 percent. Brazil’s sole nuclear power plant, located in Angra dos Reis, a coastal town near Rio, has two pressurized water reactors in operation, with outputs of 657 MWe (megawatt electrical) and 1350 MWe respectively. A third reactor resumed work after a 24-year dispute in June 2011, with a projected output of 1245 MWe. It is expected to be completed in 2015. The Angras do Reis plant currently generates around three percent of Brazil’s energy production, which relies overwhelmingly on hydroelectric installations. Brazil, Latin America’s dominant power, and neighboring Argentina are the only South American countries operating civilian nuclear power stations.last_img read more

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Central America to Manage International Funds for Fight against Crime

first_imgBy Dialogo July 03, 2012 The Central American presidents agreed on June 29 to double their efforts to obtain financial aid and fight organized crime, at a biannual summit at which they also signed an unprecedented commercial and political partnership agreement with the European Union. “What we (the presidents) agreed is to be more expeditious, more aggressive in acquiring funds in order to succeed in financing the regional strategy” to fight crime, said Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, who acted as an informal spokesperson for the heads of state or government of the eight countries. The participants in the Central American Integration System (SICA) summit agreed “concretely to construct a regional strategy for the (management of) financing of the plan to fight crime.” Funes recalled that the United States, Canada, and Australia, among others, have offered Central America up to 2.5 billion dollars to finance 22 programs targeting four security issues. The United States, represented by the top American diplomat for Latin America, Roberta Jacobson, attended this SICA summit for the first time as an observer. Jacobson was there to reiterate U.S. support through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), for which Washington has committed 361 million dollars. The summit was organized under the slogan “Everyone’s Fight: The New Security Approach in Central America.” Security, especially in relation to drug trafficking, is Central America’s primary challenge. Estimates are that 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States passes through the region. At the summit, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo transferred the group’s rotating presidency to his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli also attended. Belize was represented by Energy Minister Audrey Joygralt, and the Dominican Republic by Foreign Minister Clara Quiñónez.last_img read more

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FARC under Government Pressure Prior to Resuming Peace Talks

first_imgBy Dialogo December 06, 2012 Colombian authorities increased pressure on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) before resuming the peace talks in Cuba this week, by setting a deadline of less than a year to reach the peace agreement and launching a military attack that could have resulted in dozens of dead guerrillas. On December 3, President Juan Manuel Santos stated on his Twitter account that he felt “positive” about the development in the first round of negotiations with the FARC, which resumed on December 5, in Havana. However, “no one is considering modifying the time frame of negotiations. Months, not years,” said Santos hours after meeting his delegates for the talks in Havana. In a speech on December 2, the Colombian president highlighted that negotiations must be finalized by November 2013 at the latest. Officially, there is no limit for the end of the negotiations, and the guerrillas, who insist on addressing the social causes of the conflict, have already expressed their rejection to “immediate peace.” The talks with the oldest guerrilla group in Latin America were formally initiated in Oslo, Norway, last October, and then transferred to Cuba on November 19. The agrarian problem was the first of five agenda topics to be discussed on the island until both parties took a five-day break on November 29, while sending public messages of hope at the same time. The Colombian government has rejected establishing a truce before reaching a final agreement, while the FARC committed to a unilateral ceasefire for two months, until January 20. The rebel negotiating team was still in Havana before talks resumed late on December 5, and they met with envoys of the International Committee of the Red Cross to request that the talks with the government are recognized under the provisions of the Geneva Convention. This Convention imposes rules and limitations for militants in armed conflict, while protecting prisoners of war and the civilian population.last_img read more

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Brazil to Help Haiti Train New Engineers

first_imgBy Dialogo May 31, 2013 According to the Defense leader, Brazil has no intention to withdraw their troops from the country carelessly, but acknowledged that the Brazilian troops must not remain there indefinitely because it will create what he referred to as a “comfort zone” for all parties. “We wish to gradually transfer the responsibility over security and maintenance of law and order to Haiti,” he stated. The Brazilian offer was well received by the Haitian Prime Minister, who said that his country is ready to receive support in professional training in engineering. He noted that in the last three years the country has suffered three disasters, including the tragic 2010 earthquake and hurricanes. Prior to arriving at the meeting, Lamothe and his entourage were welcomed with military honors by the Brazilian minister. Air Force commander, Brigadier Juniti Saito; Navy Chief of Staff, Admiral Eduardo Monteiro Lopes; Army Chief of Staff, General Joaquim Silva e Luna; chief of the Armed Forces Joint Staff, General José Carlos De Nardi; and General Secretary of Defense, Ari Matos Cardoso were there to greet the Prime Minister. According to Defense Minister Amorim, part of the financial resources to be invested in the training of Haitian engineers is expected to come from the savings resulting from the demobilization of military forces in the country. Brazil began reducing its contingent, which should soon return to around 1,200 men, similar in size to what it was before the 2010 earthquake. Professors from the Brazilian Army Corps of Engineers will teach the course. According to Amorim, the idea is to train approximately 500 Haitian students in Brazil and 1,000 others in Haiti itself. These trained professionals will not only teach the specific skills of the profession, but also learn how to deal with civil defense actions and responses to natural disasters, very common situations in the Caribbean island. Lamothe emphasized that security is one of his main concerns. He asked for support to train and equip a rapid response force – a military elite corps capable of acting in case the regular police force fails. According to the Haitian representative, this force would consist of 600 troops. Amorim stated his commitment to assist Lamothe. Brazil is expected to help Haiti train engineers, enabling them to prepare and implement projects aiming to contribute to the development of their country. The offer by Defense Minister Celso Amorim was made on May 20 to Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Salvador Lamothe, during a meeting at the Ministry of Defense in Brasília. As examples of structural-type aid, Amorim cited the possibility of Brazil providing assistance to train the Haitian National Police and enabling financing to build the Artibonite hydroelectric plant in the northern part of the country, which will solve the power issue. According to Amorim, the Brazilian aid will not only consist of sending teachers to Haiti and structuring the training course for engineers, but will also include building the physical infrastructure needed to accommodate students in the Haitian territory and the acquisition of equipment and materials for use in the classes. Training engineers is part of a set of initiatives authorized by President Dilma Rousseff to mark a new phase in cooperation between Brazil and Haiti. At this time, the minister explained, Brazil should prioritize actions of a structural nature that can help the Caribbean country create effective conditions for socioeconomic development. “Initiatives such as these are part of the heritage that Brazil wants to leave in Haiti,” said Amorim. last_img read more

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Preventing and Combating Terrorism in Brazil

first_img Intelligence work has an ample scope and an urgent need for qualified professionals to develop different activities, including collection, which is considered the simplest form of activity, and as the name indicates, is the act of collecting ostensibly exposed data from open sources (internet, media, explicit reports, etc.). The “search” implies looking for denied data and is performed confidentially. This operation has great relevance due to the large scope of activities that can be performed by many terrorist groups nowadays. Their creativity is endless and the ability to identify and anticipate the nature of an attack makes the difference. For instance, we can name the hijacking of a civilian airplane for various purposes (September 11), bomb explosions (Madrid subway), the use of chemical or biological agents (Tokyo subway), suicide bombings (numerous cases in the Middle East), the use of firearms (the murder of Anwar El Sadat, in Egypt), and others as examples of these. A nation’s first line of defense against transnational terrorism is its intelligence system. It could not be different in Brazil. The Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN), tried to restructure the old Brazilian system led by the National Information Services. It is the responsibility of ABIN to promote the data flow and integration of the system which encompasses the Armed Forces, several police, and public security departments, among other actors (industry organizations). Another success factor, considering globalization, is the exchange with agencies from other countries. Currently, the Brazilian Intelligence System (SISBIN), among several functions, seeks the operational capability to neutralize terrorist threats in Brazil. There is no doubt that Brazil made the list of countries most likely for terrorist attacks within the next few years, especially during the Confederations Cup, the 2013 visit of His Holiness the Pope, the 2014 World Cup, or the 2016 Olympic Games. *Fernando Montenegro is an Army Retired Brazilian Colonel, of Special Forces, Commands, and Paratroopers, specialized in Counter-terrorism These precautionary activities are universally included in the package of anti-terrorism procedures, which cover preventative countermeasures. It is the responsibility of the chief minister of the Institutional Security Cabinet of the Brazilian presidency, supported by the SISBIN, to promptly assist the president in the actions to be implemented during crisis situations. It is essential that decisions are made after taking into consideration the five fields of power: political, economic, psychosocial, military, scientific-technological. Brazil’s recent experience at the 5th Military World Games 2011 shows a trend in the establishment of a Special Operations Joint Task Force, which gathers the Army, Navy, Air Force, as well as the Federal, Military, and Civil Police. I entirely agree with the article and its proposition of synergy among the different national participants in fighting and preventing terrorism in a increasingly globalized scenario, where conflict and terror actions against “the major history players” may very well be performed by neutral nations that do not have specific criminal laws regarding this issue, like Brazil, for example. Therefore, it is of great importance that we have the prevention and response abilities for different terror manifestations. As a former Navy military, I believe that our contribution capacity can be implemented and carried out through GRUMEC – Grupo de mergulhadores de combate [Combat Divers Group] and Batalhão Tonelero – Batalhão de Operações Especiais do Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais [Marine Core Special Operations Battalion]. It is without a doubt that our current world is facing many challenges and threats at a global scale, the cold post-war has not brought peace, stability, safety or well-being to all the countries or nations of the world as expected. And it is very important to take measures and counter-measures to protect the groups of innocent people from certain conflicts and situations created by the ambitions or errors of others, and for that, intelligence at the level of human sources is very important as well as the secret high diplomacy to help decrease the tensions, and to dissuade and persuade, thank you.center_img It is also a very serious mistake to think that the purchase of expensive equipment and black uniforms would turn a man into a counter-terrorism specialist. The selection and qualification process of these professionals has been very strict in countries where this activity is taken seriously, with an average approval rate of 25% among volunteers. The counter-terrorism activities are performed by highly qualified professionals in damage control, and by trained and prepared Special Operation Forces; in this activity, improvising is a very dangerous risk. Recent experience teaches us that the operations which characterize the fourth generation war (including transnational terrorism) must prioritize human intelligence over intelligence signals and imagery. It is imperative that the activity is performed with great force and proactive characteristics. By Dialogo June 07, 2013 The control of actions such as dissemination of toxic gases or biological agents is extremely difficult and complex, in addition to implying high cost and a wide spectrum of activities, such as detoxification, decontamination, hospitals, trained professionals, mass vaccination of population, just to name a few of the activities. To perform all this, the Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear Defense Peloton of the Special Operations Brigade needs to receive support from professionals who are specialized in the identification of threats, as well as more resources and equipment. Besides, institutions such as Fundação Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, a scientific institution for research and development in biomedical sciences located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and considered one of the world’s main public health research institutions, along with the Brazilian pharmaceutical industry, must be able to initiate short-term mass production of necessary vaccines and medication. The logistics are extremely complex, and the lack of training in this situation would cost many lives. last_img read more

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Mig-21s Found in North Korean Ship Intercepted in Panama

first_img The aircraft were in containers hidden under tons of sugar cargo on board the North Korean freighter “Chong Chon Gang,” intercepted by the Panamanian Police on July 10, when it intended to cross the Panama Canal from the Atlantic. “So far, two Mig-21 aircraft and anti-aircraft devices, as well as other equipment, have been found,” Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli told the press. “Apparently these aircraft were in use because they had fuel,” added the head of state, who was in Manzanillo port in Colón (north of the country) to be part of the searches. The ship and its 35-member crew detained in Fort Sherman, an old U.S. Military base by the canal, have been brought to Panama’s prosecutor’s office. On July 22, Panamanian authorities found two Mig-21 aircraft hidden in the North Korean ship intercepted on July 10 with undeclared Cuban weapons onboard, authorities reported, adding that the Red Cross will visit the 35 crew members detained. According to Havana, the vessel had departed Cuba with “obsolete weaponry” onboard, on its way to North Korea for repairs. On July 12, Cuba acknowledged the ownership of the war material and listed missile systems, spare rocket parts, aircraft engines, and two Mig-21 fighters. By Dialogo July 23, 2013 The sailors, who could face charges of up to six years of imprisonment for “crimes against collective security,” will be visited by Red Cross personnel, authorities reported. “They [the crew] are being permanently assisted by doctors. They receive food, medical and psychological assistance,” State Prosecutor Ana Belfon said.last_img read more

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Venezuela’s Crisis Threatens Nearby Democracies

first_imgBy Noelani Kirschner/ShareAmerica November 23, 2020 Democracy must be restored in Venezuela because undermining a democracy anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere, experts say.“This is a country where Maduro has not only taken over most of the bigger opposition parties and tried to replace their leadership with his puppets,” said on September 1, Michael G. Kozak, acting assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. State Department. “He’s taken over illegally the national electoral commission so that he completely runs the elections. There’s still no freedom of the press. There’s no freedom of expression. There’s no freedom of assembly.”Neighboring countries will continue to pay the price for the illegitimate Maduro regime’s abetting of illegal drug and gold trafficking, Kozak said on September 15. These criminal operations destroy local Venezuelan communities and bordering nations, leading to an uptick in crime.Maduro also provides a safe haven for terrorist organizations such as the National Liberation Army (ELN, in Spanish) and dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish) to run rampant throughout Venezuela. Their terrorist activities bleed into countries like Colombia, sowing more unrest and chaos.The massive exodus of Venezuelans fleeing dire conditions will continue and increase. This undermines the economies of other countries in the region and strains resources of countries sheltering these refugees.Containing diseases such as COVID-19 becomes even more difficult.Until the illegitimate Maduro regime no longer holds the reins of power, democracy will continue to erode within Venezuela and threaten nearby countries.The Organization of the American States (OAS) called a special permanent council session on September 29 to discuss the disintegration of democracy in Venezuela and the results of the September 16 Independent United Nations (U.N.) Fact-Finding Mission that found reasonable grounds to believe regime-controlled forces committed widespread human rights violations.Many member state representatives from the European Union and experts from the U.N. Fact-Finding Mission to Venezuela agreed that, as it stands, the current conditions would not guarantee free and fair parliamentary elections in December.As long as dissenting voices are silenced and the Venezuelan people suffer, they concurred, there will be no situation in which free and fair parliamentary or presidential elections can take place.Free and fair elections are necessary, the meeting participants said, to restoring humanity and peace to Venezuela and the surrounding region.“In the end, suffering has no political colors, there are no good dictators or bad dictators,” said Venezuelan opposition leader Julio Borges at the OAS session. “There are dictators and that is why torture and persecution are the same.”last_img read more

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