By Dialogo May 16, 2011 In Uruguay, the government is carrying out an active policy against money laundering, where activities such as drug trafficking and terrorism are behind it. In the country, around ninety people face charges for this offense and around two hundred reports of suspicious activity are filed each year. The majority of cases are dismissed. The applicable regulations have expanded the list of organizations and individuals required to report suspicious activity. Banks file the most reports, but casinos, notaries, antiques dealers, auctioneers, and administrators of free-trade zones are also required to do so. Internally, an agreement was signed that will allow the Central Bank to have access to the database of all the country’s taxpayers and adjust its monitoring accordingly. At the same time, the director of the General Tax Directorate, the tax-collecting agency, Pablo Ferreri, announced that work is underway on opening an international office to investigate cases of money laundering reported from abroad. The government has already defined the chief lines of work against money laundering that it will emphasize this year, and property investigation is being prioritized, in order to locate assets belonging to individuals who commit these offenses. For this purpose, U.S. Treasury Department officials were in Uruguay giving courses on property investigation techniques.
By Dialogo October 05, 2011 The Paraguayan Senate approved the declaration of a state of emergency in the departments of San Pedro and Concepcion (in northern Paraguay) for 60 days, in order to combat the self-proclaimed Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), believed responsible for an attack on a police station and the murder of two police officers, legislative sources announced. The bill, introduced by the opposition, was approved by 23 of the 42 senators present at the plenary session and sent to the Chamber of Deputies. Members of the opposition harshly criticized the administration for the renewed outbreak of violence, and some spokespersons called for the intervention of the Armed Forces in order to put an end to the clandestine group operating in the north, around 500 km from the Paraguayan capital. Military intervention is only possible with the declaration of a state of emergency. The administration has not requested such a declaration from Congress, and some spokespersons indicated that such a declaration is not needed.
These are very good planesâ€¦ the best in the world, congratulations to the United States for this fabulous purchaseâ€¦ By Dialogo January 04, 2012 The U.S. Air Force has acquired 20 of the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer’s Super Tucano aircraft for a program of advanced flight training, reconnaissance, and support operations, the firm announced in a statement. Worth a total of $355 million dollars, the contract also includes “land-based support for pilot training, maintenance, and other needed services,” in addition to supplying the planes. “We’re honored to have the opportunity to offer the U.S. Government the best product for the LAS (Light Air Support) mission,” indicated Luiz Carlos Aguiar, the president of Embraer’s defense and security branch, according to the statement. “Our commitment is to move forward on our strategy of investment in the United States and to deliver the Super Tucano within the time period and in conformity with the budget agreed on in the contract,” he added. Embraer won this contract in partnership with the U.S.-based Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), specialized in the development of electronic systems. “We believe in the goals of the Light Air Support mission and are proud to be able to support the United States in its partner-building efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world,” Taco Gilbert, SNC’s vice-president for intelligence business development, indicated for his part. The Super Tucano is a modernized version of the Tucano training plane operated by the forces of 15 countries. Embraer, the world’s third-ranking aeronautics manufacturer producing commercial planes, announced a year ago that it was creating a department dedicated to defense, in order to strengthen the development of security and communications systems. The defense sector represents 7 percent of Embraer’s revenue, behind the commercial (58 percent) and executive (19 percent) sectors.
By Dialogo April 03, 2012 The 2010 earthquake in Haiti left around 250,000 dead and caused serious damage to productive infrastructure, while 1.5 million people are still living in camps. “It’s not an issue of resources; of course, resources are necessary, but Haiti could perhaps be an example of the difficulties of coordinating emergency programs,” the official indicated at a press conference at the conclusion of the 32nd FAO Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean. The FAO director said that the Latin American countries will focus their activities on coordinating existing programs, together with the Caribbean nation’s Government, more than on dedicating financial resources. “The countries decided that Haiti is not only an emergency problem; it’s a national reconstruction problem, one of rebuilding its productive capacity in order to implement a medium-term and long-term program that can ensure peace in that region,” Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, a Brazilian, said at a press conference. The next regional meeting will be held in Chile in 2014. “Each one goes there with his little flag and wants to do his own thing, and the result is that the contributions don’t make a difference,” Graziano da Silva vividly explained at the conclusion of the five-day meeting focused on food security. The official reiterated that Latin American and Caribbean Governments reaffirmed at the Buenos Aires meeting their commitment to eradicate hunger before 2025, and he indicated that the region is the first to set that objective for itself. The meeting in the Argentine capital was attended by 18 ministers and 37 deputy ministers from 32 countries in the region, among a total of 299 participants. In this regard, he said that increasing food production and supply “is vital in order to eradicate hunger.” Graziano da Silva had noted during the conference “the need to increase food production at the global level by 70 percent, in order to feed a population that will reach 9 billion people in 2050.” High-ranking officials from 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, gathered at an FAO regional conference in Buenos Aires, to prioritize aid for rebuilding the devastations in Haiti that were caused by a killer earthquake in 2010, the head of that United Nations organization said. In Buenos Aires, Argentina assumed the role of FAO regional conference chair for the next two years. The FAO carried out projects worth almost 40 million dollars in Haiti in 2010-2011, especially in reforestation plans and in order to optimize resources coming from the European Union.
By Dialogo July 17, 2013 PANAMA CITY, Panama – Panama on July 16 called for United Nations investigators to inspect a shipment of suspected weapons parts found aboard a North Korean-flagged vessel as it tried to enter the Panama Canal last week. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli tweeted a photo of the contraband haul, which experts have identified as an aging Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles. The government said the contraband munitions were hidden underneath thousands of bags of sugar aboard the Chong Chon Gang, which was stopped on suspicion it was transporting narcotics. Officials said if the shipment is indeed determined to contain missile components, it would likely be a violation of tough UN sanctions against North Korea. Panamanian Security Minister José Raúl Mulino told RPC Radio the affair is a matter for UN investigators. “The Security Council will have to send experts,” he said. The United States hailed the Panamanian action. “We stand ready to cooperate with Panama should they request our assistance,” Patrick Ventrell, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, said, reiterating that any shipments or “arms or related material” would violate several UN Security Council resolutions. Meantime, authorities in Panama City said they were continuing to unload thousands of bags of sugar that had concealed the suspected weapons shipment. Panamanian officials said the crew resisted and the ship’s captain attempted to commit suicide after the vessel was stopped, which made the shipment even more suspicious, according to experts. Martinelli said the ship, which was sailing from Cuba with a crew of 35, was targeted on July 12 by drug enforcement officials as it approached the canal and was taken into port in Manzanillo. After a search, officials found the contraband missiles hidden in a shipment of 100,698 kilograms of sugar. “The world needs to sit up and take note: you cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal,” Martinelli told Radio Panama on July 16. The vessel was being held in a restricted zone, and the crew was being detained, officials said. So far, no drugs have been found on board. Luis Eduardo Camacho, a spokesperson for Martinelli, said an examination of the ship by weapons specialists may take as long as a week. North Korea defiantly carried out its third nuclear weapons test in February, triggering even tighter UN sanctions. Experts said it is unclear whether North Korea has the technology to build a nuclear warhead for a missile. UN sanctions bar the transport of all weapons to or from North Korea apart from the import of small arms. Several of the country’s ships have been searched in recent years. In July 2009, a North Korean ship heading to Myanmar, the Kang Nam 1, was followed by the U.S. Navy due to suspicions it was carrying weapons. It turned around and headed back home. There has been, as yet, no reaction from North Korean officials over the quarantining of the ship in Panama, officials in the Central American nation said. Cuba acknowledged it sent the weapon system to North Korea to be repaired, according to a prepared statement by the Cuban Foreign Ministry on July 16. A total of 5% of the world’s commerce travels through the century-old Panama Canal, and that’s expected to increase, posing challenges for policing it. [AFP (Panama), 17/06/2013; La Estrella (Panama), 16/07/2013; BBC Mundo (Panama), 16/07/2013]
But Megateo met his demise when Troops and police officers converged on the kingpin’s hideout in the mountains of Catatumbo, where he and his men tried to fire a homemade rocket as an assault team descended in a helicopter. However, the weapon backfired and Megateo was killed instantly, while 10 of his men died in an ensuing gunfight with Soldiers and police. He had been in several paramilitary groups, eventually becoming second-in-command of a drug-trafficking group led by Pedro Oliveiro Guerrero, who worked with Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha and the Castaño brothers to secure drug routes and carry out extortion rackets in the southeastern departments of Vichada, Casanare, and Meta. Eventually, Pijarvey supplanted Guerrero — who went by the alias “Cuchillo” — after the latter drowned in a stream trying to escape during a gunfight between his drug-trafficking group and Armed Forces Commandos in an area between Meta and Guaviare in December 2010. Pijarvey inherited Cuchillo’s criminal structure, which he renamed Bloque Libertadores del Vichada, and its illegal businesses, according to the National Police. But less than five years later, Troops caught up to Pijarvey, who had evaded capture during a National Police operation in late 2014. Pijarvey was killed by a DIASE sniper during a gunfight with Troops who had converged on his hideout on September 27, after receiving information of his whereabouts 12 days earlier. Pijarvey’s death, meanwhile, caused his narco-trafficking group to dissolve. Megateo, 39, led the only remaining faction of the EPL, a guerrilla group that demobilized in the early 1990s and controlled vast coca fields in the department of Norte de Santander, according to Army intelligence. Authorities had offered a reward of 2 billion pesos (US$646,120) for information regarding the whereabouts of Megateo, who had committed crimes in the area for nearly 20 years and had escaped from at least 14 operations by security forces over that time. Operation takes out drug kingpin Pijarvey “Pijarvey was like a trademark, a myth, or a legend,” said Sergeant Willy Casallas of DIASE, one of the lead investigators who tracked down Pijarvey. “He was known ever since he was a part of the Autodefensas del Llano [a paramilitary group that operated in Colombia’s eastern plains in the early 2000s]. He was a part of the old guard, and with his death his group crumbled.” “Everything revolved around Megateo,” said Brigadier General Jorge Humberto Jerez Cuellar, the Commander of the Army’s Second Division. “Now his group is scrambling to reorganize and find a new area of operations since the area they were in is no longer safe.” The group charged drug traffickers 400,000 pesos (about US$138) for safely transporting each kilogram of cocaine across the Venezuelan border and 300,000 pesos (US$103) for processing every kilogram of coca paste. Colombia’s National Army and National Police recently conducted two separate operations that resulted in the deaths of two leaders of major criminal organizations in the country’s northern and eastern departments. “He was in charge of 150 men…He had consolidated control of the department of Vichada and of the border with Venezuela. And for a while now, he was planning to expand to Villavicencio.” Like Megateo, Pijarvey had been a criminal fixture for years. By Dialogo November 30, 2015 [untranslatable] guerrillas The return toward drug trafficking again is critical In the northeastern region of Catatumbo, a raid by the Army’s Second Division on October 1 culminated in the death of Víctor Ramón Navarro, who went by the alias “Megateo” and had headed the Popular Liberation Army (EPL, for its Spanish acronym). Four days earlier, the National Police’s Anti-extortion and Anti-kidnapping Directorate (DIASE) killed Martín Farfán Díaz, who went by the alias “Pijarvey” and had been the leader of a drug-trafficking group in the eastern plains of central and southern Colombia. Megateo, who threatened and paid off local residents to cultivate illegal coca crops and act as lookouts, was known for his lavish tastes – he drank only expensive whiskies – and his abusive ways with women. He pursued mostly underage women, some of whom were marked with tattoos of his face.
The Costa Rican Institute of Pacific Ports donated the land where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in collaboration with a private company, will build the Coast Guard station. The station will have all the necessary amenities for security forces to do their work. The project will include an operations office, a communications center, an armory, a warehouse to store spare parts and maintenance materials, a perimeter fence, and a highly efficient, environmentally friendly septic system. Joint security agreement SOUTHCOM has also contributed about $3.4 million to the construction of the Coast Guard Station in Caldera, Puntarenas, which is the largest station along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. The station, which has technologically advanced equipment to combat illicit trafficking, is also home to SNG’s central maintenance shop. SOUTHCOM has also contributed to the building of stations in the towns of Quepos and Flamingo, which Costa Rican authorities use as bases to fight crime. Costa Rica and SOUTHCOM have “an excellent relationship, in an optimal state. In addition to the support we receive with the building of bases, they provide us with training here and in the United States. They also support us with the mobile training teams that they bring into the country,” Commissioner Arias added. Logistical support SOUTHCOM’s assistance to bolster Costa Rica’s infrastructure began in 2001 as part of the countries’ Joint Patrol Agreement, according to Commissioner Arias. The initiative, which was signed in 1999, allows for rescues, the enforcement of Costa Rican maritime law, the combating of drug trafficking and illegal fishing, and the prevention of the trafficking of people and weapons. “[The agreement] has had a major impact on the fight against organized transnational crime,” Commissioner Arias explained. The addition of a floating dock to the Golfito station will enable Maritime Officers to provide logistical support to the SNG’s interceptor boats. The hangar is for the Air Surveillance Service in Coto 47, in the Corredores division of the province of Puntarenas. Both facilities will be completed in 2017. By Dialogo April 14, 2016 The Bureau of International narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) contributed more than $960,000 for a secondary inspection site at the checkpoint known as Kilometer 35, located on the Pan-American Highway, in the district of Guaycará de Golfito. The checkpoint’s expansion was carried out by the Costa Rican company Industrias Bendig. In July 2014, SOUTHCOM constructed the $1.2 million building for the initial Kilometer 35 checkpoint, which has been the point where authorities consistently have seized drugs, contraband, and captured suspects, according to the MSP. The secondary checkpoint will allow Cost Rican authorities to inspect trucks more thoroughly as they can be unloaded and reloaded in this facility. Thanks in part to security posts, Costa Rican authorities have confiscated large amounts of drugs from January through the end of March. In the first quarter of 2016, security forces have seized more than five tons of drugs, three of which were cocaine, according to Commissioner Arias. The Costa Rican government will continue to boost its infrastructure in the coming years with support from SOUTHCOM. The SNG and SOUTHCOM are currently in talks regarding the construction of a Coast Guard Station in Sixaloa, Limón. Planned for 2017, the project, which will be along the border with Panama in the southern Caribbean, will increase security and control over the Sixaola River. In 2015, Costa Rican security authorities seized more than 17,000 kilograms of cocaine and dismantled 134 criminal organizations, 34 of which operated internationally, according to the Costa Rican Drug Institute. Costa Rica’s National Coast Guard Service (SNG) and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) are strengthening their joint efforts in the fight against drug trafficking, with the United States financing and installing new law enforcement posts along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. The SNG is also carrying out security operations in other areas along the Caribbean coast through its stations in Moín, Barra de Pacuare, and Barra del Colorado. These and other stations are a key component of Costa Rica’s strategy to fight drug trafficking, illegal fishing, and environmental crime. On March 18th, the SNG launched operations at a Coast Guard station that will facilitate surveillance in the area of Río Cieneguita, in Limón province. The station will feature a floating dock and an interceptor boat. “The SNG works shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. Southern Command and the Police who patrol on land, in the air, and along borders. [We also work] with the Criminal Investigation Police and the Drug Enforcement Police of Costa Rica to be one common front in the fight against international drug trafficking. The joint patrol with the United States has been extremely important in seizing drug shipments,” the Commissioner added. In both 2014 and 2015 Costa Rica has had the highest maritime cocaine seizures in Central America. The joint effort underscores the importance of international cooperation in the fight against transnational crime. “The Southern Command has made a valuable contribution to the National Coast Guard with these facilities,” Commissioner Arias stated. “We have the appropriate facilities to carry out our enforcement operations with an appropriate response to environmental threats, transnational crime, maritime emergencies, and natural disasters in our territorial waters.” International cooperation “We have seized drugs, weapons, and even turtles [being illegally trafficked] in this strategic area. This location is used for drug trafficking and environmental crimes,” Carlos Hidalgo, an MSP spokesperson, told the website Monumental. “The Cieneguita post will maintain the police presence and control over everything that enters and leaves the area surrounding this locality.” A new station in the port town of Golfito, the expansion of the checkpoint at Kilometer 35, and a new base in the suburb of Cieneguita, Puerto Limón “are part of the strategic five-year growth plan for SNG stations,” National Coast Guard Commissioner Martin Arias told Diálogo. Authorities are coordinating the construction work through an interagency agreement between the Ministry of Public Security (MSP, for its Spanish acronym), the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and the Board of Port Administration and Economic Development of the Atlantic Coast. Workers laid the cornerstone for the Golfito station on March 31st. Among those on hand for the event were Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata, U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica S. Fitzgerald Haney, Golfito Mayor Elberth Barrantes, students, members of the country’s security forces, and representatives of the Fire Department. “Thanks to the cooperation of the U.S. Southern Command, in 2017 the SNG of the Ministry of Public Security will be able to rely on the new Coast Guard Station in Golfito, Puntarenas, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, as part of its effort to ensure security in the region,” Commissioner Arias explained. “The project, which cost $2.5 million, includes two additional projects: a floating dock and an aviation hangar.” The SNG is also planning to build a new Coast Guard Academy with SOUTHCOM’s support. “We are very optimistic about the issue of vocational training for our staff and officers,” Commissioner Arias said. “I know that the Southern Command will support us. Soon, we will have a modern academy financed by the U.S. government.” great news
By Carolina Contreras/Diálogo July 10, 2017 Military delegations from 16 North and South American armies worked with representatives from 14 Chilean civilian and governmental agencies on a natural disaster scenario within the framework of the Multinational Exercise Integration 2017, Specialized Conference on Interagency Operations. The meeting was held June 20th–23rd at the Chilean Army War Academy in Santiago. “[The exercise] will allow us to achieve clarity on how to move forward, and to test our capacities to confront complex adverse scenarios jointly,” Chilean Army General Humberto Oviedo, the commander in chief of the Chilean Army, said during the official ceremony. U.S. Army Major General Clarence K.K. Chinn, the commander of U.S. Army South and Lieutenant General Diego Suñer, the chief of the Joint Staff of Argentina, were present on opening day. The exercise, organized jointly by the armed forces of Argentina and Chile, consisted of a natural disaster simulation in different places within the national territory at the same time. The guest armies of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, the United States, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and the Dominican Republic, along with the United Kingdom, as an observer country, made their human resources and equipment available, in a realistic setting, to mitigate the disaster and cooperate in the work of organizations responsible for managing emergencies in Chile. Joint emergency work During the three-day exercise, delegations from the 16 participating armies, and representatives from the Central American Armed Forces Conference (CFAC, per its Spanish acronym), interacted with representatives from the Chilean National Office for Emergency, the Carabineros Police, the Chilean Investigative Police, the Chilean Joint Staff, firefighters, the Red Cross, and the secretaries of Public Works, Energy, and Health, among others. All with the goal of training for planning, management, and coordination within an interagency framework to lend assistance during a disaster situation. “For the first time, such a large number of American armies are training in a coordinated manner to confront emergencies or to help a country that required assistance,” noted Chilean Army General Juan Eduardo González, the president of the Conference on Interagency Exercises of the Conference of American Armies (CEA, per its Spanish acronym). For the past three years, Chile has dealt with earthquakes, floods, and forest fires. Exercise Integration specifically simulated those types of natural disasters in a virtual manner. Six events were created, along with 52 large-scale tasks that were conducted simultaneously in different places throughout the country. These tasks had to be resolved with the collaboration of the American armies. The affected country, in this case, Chile, declared that its capacities were overwhelmed and that it needed international military support to mitigate the effects of the emergencies. The other countries offered their capabilities. For example, military personnel specialized in search and rescue, forest fire brigades, command support teams, logistics teams, as well as specialized military engineer teams, among others. As per military resources, consideration was given to cooperation through water purification plants, bridges, medical assistance, evacuation centers for individuals, field equipment, and resources for dealing with chemical, biological and radiation emergencies, among other things. Training was developed through the Chilean Army System of Emergency Training Management, a technological tool that uses a role-playing system designed to teach decision-making to units and organizations that operate during different phases of an emergency. The system stores the tasks and coordinated efforts in a database. It thus allows for quantifying the levels of preparedness and the improvement of collaborative management for participating bodies. They also put into operation the Argentine Army System of Geographic Information and the Brazilian Army Interagency Environment Operations Guide. “The most difficult scenarios were able to be defined, like problems and barriers at the international level, in order to mitigate work in an efficient and timely manner,” said Chilean Army Colonel Javier Leguizamón, the military emergency assistance director of the Argentine Joint Staff. Thus, the 52 tasks designed for the training were resolved through the combined effort of military and civilian entities under a centralized control responsible for formulating the assistance work and assigning tasks to the different agencies operating on site during a disaster. “Getting to know each other and verifying and coordinating the different capacities coming from outside the country was a tremendous challenge for us to work together on emergency solutions,” Col. Leguizamón said. The training was divided into four sessions, with the last session held on June 22nd. On June 23rd there were roundtable discussions, an elaboration of conclusions and a closing ceremony. “One hundred percent of our expectations were fulfilled,” Col. Leguizamón said. “We gathered impressions from the delegation heads and it has been a valuable occasion for interaction,” he added. After the exercise was completed, a report was prepared, which will be forwarded and presented at the Commanders’ Conference of the American Armies, scheduled for November in the United States. The next XXXIII cycle of CEA (2018-2019) will be hosted by the Dominican Republic. CEA’s background CEA was founded in 1960 as a forum for debates, to exchange experiences among armies throughout the hemisphere, and with the goal of finding integrated solutions to real problems that could affect one or more countries at the same time. It is comprised of armies from 20 countries, five armies with observer status, and two military organizations acting as observers: the Conference of Central American Armed Forces and the Inter-American Defense Board. CEA functions on the basis of biannual cycles in which a specific topic is defined to be analyzed throughout that cycle with specialized exercises and conferences. To become a member of CEA, an army must declare its interest in participating in the multilateral organization. After two years as an observer, it has the opportunity to become an active member. Any country that wishes to maintain its status as an observer may do so.
By Taciana Moury/Diálogo September 13, 2017 Muito importante estes exercicios e a uniÃ£o das forÃ§as militares Brasil/Estados Unidos, principalmente neste momento que assistimos o crescimento do comunismo nas AmÃ©ricas. Temos que deter esse avanÃ§o dos comunistas e ser mais rÃgidos no controle de imigrantes nas 3 AmÃ©ricas. The Brazilian Army (EB, per its Portuguese acronym) signed a five-year exchange agreement with the United States Ground Force. The quinquennial plan, drafted through the Bilateral Staff Talks (CBEM, per its Portuguese acronym), established the activities between the two armies during this period. The agreement was established at the end of 2016 and will end with joint participation in Operation Culminating, expected to take place on U.S. soil in 2020, with a post-operation analysis in 2021. According to reports from the Brazilian Army’s Social Communication Center (CCOMSEx), CBEMs are military diplomacy tools for the alliance between partner nations. “International understandings and commitments support the geopolitical needs of both countries’ interests,” CCOMSEx explained to Diálogo. Major General Clarence K.K. Chinn, the commander of U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH), was in Brazil in March and expressed interest in expanding military cooperation between the Brazilian and U.S. armies, and emphasized the value of working together. “It’s an opportunity for us to learn about the Brazilian Army. However, the most important thing is the partnership. We have been partners since the Second World War, so it is an honor to hear the great things that Brazil has done regarding the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti and the important work it carried out during the World Cup and the Olympics,” Maj. Gen. Chinn stated, according to the EB website. During Maj. Gen. Chinn’s visit, Lieutenant General William Georges Felippe Abrahão, EB’s fifth deputy Chief of Staff, highlighted the importance of the visit, and said that “the presence of the ARSOUTH commander in Brazil is a great opportunity to increase integration and coordination among military land forces.” According to reports from CCOMSEx, exchanges are already taking place. “Some examples include the combined operations Culminating, PANAMAX, and AMAZONLOG, the last of which is a large logistical exercise that will be conducted by EB. AMAZONLOG will take place in November in Tabatinga, in the state of Amazonas, and at least 10 countries – including the United States – will participate,” the CCOMSEX report stated. EB also stated that the institution has achieved a level of capability recognized internationally as a modern military force capable of carrying out substantial responsibilities and of eliciting the interest of other countries. “The partnership between Brazil and the United States shows the U.S. Army’s confidence in, and respect for, EB and indicates a trend of expanding new agreements for multidisciplinary military cooperation with future participation in other combined exercises.” Multinational PANAMAX exercise initiated the exchange The partnership between the two armies began with the Multinational PANAMAX Exercise, held August 12th to 16th. According to information from CCOMSEx, 14 EB service personnel participated in the operation, which aimed to simulate a protection scheme for the Panama Canal. The operation was created 14 years ago by U.S. Southern Command, and the governments of Panama and Chile. The exercise includes 25 countries on the American and European continents and focuses on the security of the Panama Canal and its surrounding areas. “During the operation, joint, combined, and interagency operations are conducted, with the end goal of ensuring that an integrated response to a variety of transnational threats is in place. PANAMAX is recognized as the largest war simulation exercise in the South Atlantic and the Caribbean,” CCOMSEx said in a statement. In 2018, Brazilian participation in the operation will be expanded, CCOMSEx explained. “For the first time, maneuvers will be performed in Brazilian territory by the Ground Forces Coalition Component Command, and we intend to keep the participation of two generals but expand the 14-soldier force to 20,” it stated. Operation Culminating will involve 470 Brazilian service personnel Following the conclusion of PANAMAX, the preparation period for the combined exercise between the EB and the U.S. Army, called Operation Culminating, is set to begin. It will be conducted by a U.S. Army brigade at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in Fort Polk, Louisiana, in the second half of 2020. The exercise will symbolize the end of the five-year exchange plan between the two armies. According to CCOMSEx, special preparations will be underway in the next few years ahead of Culminating, such as training of observer, controller, and assessor (OCA, per its Portuguese acronym) officers and sergeants and specific training for troops. In September, Brazilian soldiers will travel to Fort Polk for the Fourth Coordination Meeting at JRTC. The goal will be to spell out the assessment process and Operation Culminating’s logistical and preparatory challenges. The Brazilian troops that will participate in Operation Culminating will consist of personnel from the 12th Light Infantry Brigade and from the Paratrooper Infantry Brigade. In addition, an OCA team and liaison officer team from the U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, will also participate. The third company will be a U.S. Army infantry subunit. The exercise will bring together approximately 470 Brazilian soldiers. According to information from CCOMSEx, it will be the most complex exercise with EB participation in U.S. territory. For EB, Culminating is an unparalleled opportunity to foster closer cooperation and to exchange theories. Furthermore, the institution emphasizes the operational importance of JRTC, a main training center for active and reserve U.S. military forces. “It’s the place where troops are trained, including the Marine Corps, the Army, special police and national security services, and even Special Forces,” CCOMSEx explained to Diálogo. Fort Polk has a large number of sensors and the capability of monitoring all stages of training, as well as specific equipment for actions and challenges that a military force could encounter during a real deployment. “The goal is to push and test the troops to the max, exposing them to continuous physical and mental pressure with constant changes in the operating environment,” according to the information. Benefits of the partnership For EB, combined operations are excellent vehicles for disseminating professional skills to the members of the ground force, in addition to being a transparent exercise in Brazilian military diplomacy. These activities also combine to strengthen hemispheric security, which is one of the primary objectives of the Brazilian Military Defense Policy. “Brazilian and U.S. service personnel can expand partnerships for exchanging defense products from both armies and for planning and executing maneuvers in the areas of logistics, intelligence, communications, cybernetics, and command and control,” said CCOMSEx. One of the benefits of the combined exercises is the ability to train the EB to send an expeditionary force during a joint operation, something which requires an extraordinary effort from ground forces that use practically all their combat functions. Another advantage is the exchange of knowledge, which contributes to the refinement of theory and thereby to EB’s capacity for interoperability while carrying out its missions. It is advantageous for the experiences lived by officials and soldiers while undertaking their operational, technical, and tactical activities to be captured, not only in the preparation but also in the use of these operations and that the rest of the members of the ground force acquire the knowledge,” CCOMSEx stated.
By Taciana Moury/Diálogo April 02, 2018 Brazilian Marine Corps (CFN, in Portuguese) First Lieutenant Débora Ferreira de Freitas defies all odds. She was the first woman to compete for a CFN junior officer slot becoming the first female combatant—a feat she accomplished before the December 2017 passage of Public Law No. 13.541, authorizing women to be admitted into the Brazilian Navy’s (MB in Portuguese) Officer School at the Naval Academy, in the Navy or Marine Corps. Since becoming an officer, 1st Lt. Débora served in important roles. She was chief of the Department of Civil Affairs and Social Communication for the 25th Contingent in Haiti and commanded the Liaison Platoon for the Communication Company of the Command and Control Battalion. Currently, she works in the personnel division of the Marine Corps Command and Control Battalion in Rio de Janeiro. Originally enlisted as a CFN staff sergeant musician in 2004, 1st Lt. Débora had higher aspirations for her Marine Corps career. “I have a degree in music from the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, which meets CFN’s higher education requirement for Officer’s School,” 1st Lt. Débora told Diálogo. “In 2015, after three years of study, I was approved for service as a junior officer in the Brazilian Marine Corps, and I went off to Officer’s School.” Enrollment, she recalled, had no restrictions on female inclusion. “All that was required was to be in CFN. So, I decided to give it a try even though I’m a woman, and I competed equally against the men,” 1st Lt. Débora said. “What motivated me was the opportunity for growth within the force. Today, I feel fulfilled, because CFN strives to maintain the honor, competence, determination, and professionalism for us to stay current and well-trained to defend our homeland.” The officer’s pioneering work didn’t stop there. She was also the first woman to complete the Amphibious Warfare Course in 2016, which qualifies marine officers to command infantry platoons. The four-month course demands a lot from combatants, especially in terms of physical requirements. “The rucksack alone weighed around 25 kilograms, not to mention the bullet-proof vest, weapons, and other gear that we had to carry all the time,” 1st Lt. Débora said. The daily routine during the course began at 6:30 a.m. and included military physical training and other activities related to the training of a platoon commander, which were constantly evaluated. “The main problem was physical fatigue. There are also physiological differences between men and women that have their own peculiarities,” 1st Lt. Débora said, before highlighting the necessity to value esprit de corps and change certain habits, such as setting her vanity aside and learning to get by on little sleep in any location. An inspiration to other women Completing the course, 1st Lt. Débora said, opened doors for other women. “I showed that it’s possible for a woman to carry out operational duties without being diminished by that: carrying a heavy rucksack, using weapons, and effectively leading the men on a mission,” she said. Currently, CFN has two women serving in an operational capacity and others taking the Amphibious Warfare Course. She shared her pride in helping pave the way for other combatants. “When I look back, I feel a sense of accomplishment, because doors have been opened for other women who wish to join CFN.” Among her goals are to keep improving within the operational arm of the force through courses and training. MB’s authorization for women to join all operational units was cause for celebration. “That decision shows the importance of valuing our work and our professionalism. The Navy has always been a pioneer in female enlistment, and this shows that our force values female inclusion and our level of competence,” she said, encouraging other women to join. “Whoever has this dream should go ahead and study, focus on their goal, and not neglect to train physically,” 1st Lt. Débora said. Gender Commission acknowledges MB’s pioneering approach According to Brazilian Air Force Major General (R) Antônio Carlos Coutinho, president of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense’s Gender Commission (CGMD, in Portuguese), the experience MB gained throughout the years overcame all doubts and gave the institution the assurance needed to offer unrestricted access to women. Maj. Gen. Coutinho explained that each service branch is free to determine how many slots, and when, will be allocated to women. But similarities in standards used among the three forces indicate that MB’s decision might prompt the Army and Air Force to adopt the same measure in the near future. “Each branch is unique, and it could be that this new understanding isn’t reached everywhere with the same speed—but new spaces are being created,” Maj. Gen. Coutinho said. “Pioneering attitudes of the like of 1st Lt. Débora only enhance the armed forces’ operational performance, regardless of gender,” Maj. Gen. Coutinho said. For him, what matters is that standards set by the institution for the position are met. “This young officer’s decision to face a unique challenge, overcoming all the barriers and succeeding in her goal, shows how results don’t depend on gender, and it bolsters female inclusion in military service,” he said. CGMD was created in 2014 to smooth out gender differences in the Brazilian Armed Forces and broaden the policy on women serving in the nation’s military. CGMD is directly associated with UN Women, an entity established by the United Nations to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.