December 20

Dropping The Hammer

first_img Stopping Narco-Violence For drug traffickers, moving cocaine from South America to Central America is a matter of exploiting weaknesses. By sea, go-fast boats and semisubmersibles race toward the isthmus, hugging the coast until they find the opportunity to hand off their goods or an opening to reach land. By air, prop planes fly in wide arcs around the airspace of countries that can track them, destined for remote landing strips far out of range of security forces. At the Central American Security Conference (CENTSEC), held from April 18-19, 2012, in San Salvador, El Salvador, leaders from across the isthmus gatherted to discuss shared threats and the strategies that are succeeding. In support of the Central American Regional Security Initiative and the Central American Integration System, Operation Martillo, or “hammer,” launched on January 15, 2012, as one such successful strategy designed to stop drug traffickers from using Central America’s littoral routes. The operation includes U.S. military participation through the Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-South), a component of SOUTHCOM. Operation Martillo and other complimentary partner nations and interagency operations have resulted in a 39 percent overall reduction in air flights, with a 49 percent reduction of air flights into Central America. It has also caused noticeable changes to maritime trafficking patterns, with participants seizing 30 vessels and detaining 102 suspected traffickers, with 52 metric tons seized or disrupted by June 2012. Other nations, such as Honduras, have put into place operations focused on destroying clandestine runways that have allowed traffickers departing from Venezuela and Colombia to use their territory for drug storage and transit. Operation Armadillo identified between 30 and 35 runways during its initial phase in February-March 2012. In that time frame, and in cooperation with the U.S., it destroyed 13 through the use of helicopters departing from forward operating bases, Special Forces and “Sappers,” or engineers specialized in explosives. “This has brought about a reduction in narcotrafficking in this area that has been seen positively by national authorities and cooperating nations,” said Gen. Osorio. Military leaders in Central America have another concern: If they don’t act decisively and collaboratively, drug traffickers and gangs may unite and strengthen. Some say this union has already started, calling the actors “baby cartels,” while others refer to it as the “narco-gang” threat, and underscore the danger of having gangs evolve into powerful, sophisticated cartels that can challenge state stability. Armed forces in the region enjoy strong popular support, with militaries in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua ranking high in polls, according to military leaders. This citizen support, backed by political will, gives the military the authority to take bold action against transnational organized crime. “Traffickers are nimble, but they’re not omnipotent,” JIATF-South’s Rear Adm. Michel said. “They’re businessmen. When enough pain is enough for a businessman, I don’t know the answer to that.” Sources: The Miami Herald, McClatchy Washington Bureau, Countries in what is known as the “Northern Tier” of Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – are the most affected by drug trafficking according to the the 2012 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, an annual report by the U.S. Department of State. Nonetheless, the assessment shows that the repercussions impact every country on the narcotrafficking corridor. “Our countries, we all know, are transit countries that narcotraffickers are taking advantage of to conduct their operations,” said General René Osorio, chairman of the Joint Staff of the Honduran Armed Forces. Honduras has the distinction of having captured the first drug trafficking semisubmersible in the Caribbean, with help from the U.S., retrieving some 6.7 metric tons of cocaine in July 2011. General Helmuth René Casados, chief of the Joint Staff of Guatemala, said his country is focusing on bolstering citizen security by closing porous borders and neutralizing another threat that has intensified in recent years, the drug trafficking organization Los Zetas. Gen. Casados said that new ideas, new projects and creativity are the mark of regional security plans discussed at CENTSEC 12, the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (CFAC, for its Spanish acronym) and other international forums. “In our planning process, we are always taking into account that plans are flexible, versatile, and nothing is final,” he said. Territorial Penetration The drug-fighting strategy in Nicaragua, Central America’s largest country by land mass, is known as “Muro de Contención” (Containment Wall). The whole-of-government approach strives to prevent drug traffickers from penetrating national territory, whether by land or sea, and put in place the legal mechanisms to imprison traffickers. To achieve this end, Nicaragua has instituted new laws to strengthen its legal framework; its border commanders meet regularly with their counterparts in border nations and its Navy communicates with the U.S. Coast Guard to execute enhanced counter drug operations off its coasts. “In Operation Martillo, we have had success. It has allowed us to develop joint operations principally in the maritime realm, participating dynamically with [U.S.] Southern Command,” said Brigadier General Adolfo Zepeda, director of military intelligence and counterintelligence of the Nicaraguan Army. “It’s the first time we tried to synchronize air, land and sea to counter transnational criminal organization efforts across the entire isthmus,” JIATF-South director, Rear Admiral Charles Michel, told Diálogo at CENTSEC 2012. The new approach acknowledges that transnational criminal organizations cannot be defeated by one nation. Rather, just as drug traffickers attempt to take advantage of international boundaries, international partners must utilize effective and efficient relationships to stop them. “Operation Martillo is a clear example of searching for integration strategies of our countries,” General César Adonay Acosta, head of the Joint General Staff of the Salvadoran Armed Forces, told Diálogo at CENTSEC. With drug sales rivaling the GDPs of some countries in the region, state stability and citizen security are at risk if countries in the hemisphere go it alone. “Narco-activity and drug trafficking from the south to north in our countries generates incalculable levels of violence.” Anticipating Change By Dialogo July 01, 2012last_img read more

October 20

Letters to the Editor for Tuesday, July 9

first_imgDemocrats are doing harm to the countryThe purpose of this is to help make The Gazette great again and to debunk some liberal talking points used by Doug McFadden in his June 29 letter (“Support getting rid of Trump, McConnell”). He attempted to discredit Jane Pauze’s June 22 letter (“Enough effort wasted investigating Trump”) that spoke to the damage the progressive liberal wing of the Democratic party is doing to this great nation.Mr. McFadden’s claim that “Trump tried hard to obstruct justice“ is said honestly as, “tried hard to defend himself. “Gone it seems are Ronald Reagan’s “blue-dog“ and John Kennedy’s “Ask what you can do for your country.” Democrats were  shamefully replaced by the liberal progressives that condone killing live-born babies and open borders that will allow other 9-11 — butchers to prey upon the innocents.Create sanctuary cities such as Saratoga and Albany that harbor illegal Democratic voters, a.k.a., immigrants.Worse is their attempt to discredit, damage and destroy Donald Trump, his family and anyone ever associated with him. This is a blatant attempt to destroy us and our way of life.As Ms. Pauze said, ”He ate your lunch.“ Tough – suck it up and love your country.What’s also sad is that many opinion page authors unwittingly support these hate groups.God did indeed “bless America.“ Don’t screw it up,  Libs.Jack OsterlitzGlenvilleDemocrats in Albany show their humanity In response to Jennifer Richards’ July 2  letter (“Prioritize humans over animals in NY”) in which she criticizes the recent ban on declawing cats passed by the state Legislature, she should read and think about the quote from the great Mahatma Gandhi of India, who said, “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”Cat declawing is inhumane and should be outlawed. I hope it passes in every state soon.Ms., Richards also states that the Democrats, who now control New York state government, should pay more attention to “dignity-of-life” issues, especially on the issue of banning abortion.It seems that the pro-life movement condemns all abortion, period.They are hypocrites when they ignore or minimize life after birth. Issues like poverty, education, income inequality and the inhumane treatment of migrants in cages don’t seem to matter. I’m proud to be a Democrat and animal lover in New York state.Lori HudsonPattersonvilleMelania stays quiet on border situationBorder Wall – where is Melania Trump? Any other first lady would have voiced their opinion on the abuse the children are experiencing at our border.Joseph RownySaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionTrump family never served in militaryJust a reminder for those readers who reveled in Donald Trump’s 4th of July “Me Day” parade, the Trump family has lived in the United States for more than 150 years, and not one of them, not one, has ever served in the U.S. military. Walter WoukSummitlast_img read more

September 26

Jamaicans happiest people in region says UN report

first_img Sharing is caring! InternationalNewsRegional Jamaicans happiest people in region says UN report by: – July 6, 2012 Share Share Sharecenter_img Tweet World Happiness Report ranks Jamaica 40 out of 156 nations worldwide.NEW YORK, USA, Friday July 06, 2012 – It’s official: Jamaicans are the happiest people in the Caribbean.  That’s according to the first United Nations-commissioned World Happiness Report, which also ranked Jamaica 40 out of 156 nations worldwide.Edited by economists Jeffrey Sachs, John Helliwell and Richard Layard, and released recently, the report pointed to the increased importance of happiness in economic and sustainable development.The findings indicate that Jamaica was most negatively affected by corruption and lacklustre growth. When those measures are discounted, however, the islanders rank among the world’s happiest people.Denmark, Finland, Norway, Netherlands and Canada scored the highest on the index. Togo ranked the lowest.Apart from Jamaica, the happiest countries in the region were found to be Costa Rica, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico and Brazil. The report found that the Dominican Republic and Haiti were the least happy regionally.A country’s rank, captured in a ranking graph, or cantril ladder, was determined by the interplay of the potential for happiness with social support, health and life expectancy, corruption and freedom to choose.The rankings drew on an average of several thousand responses globally, including from Jamaica, over the period 2005-2011.In the Gallup World Poll, respondents were asked (using fresh annual samples of 1,000 persons, aged 15 and over, in each of more than 150 countries) to evaluate the quality of their lives on an 11-point ladder or scale running from zero to 10, with zero meaning they were least happy.Higher income did not necessarily equate to happiness, with the United States which ranked 11th, placing just ahead of Costa Rica, the happiest developing nation.“Higher average incomes do not necessarily improve average well-being, the US being a clear case in point,” said the report, adding that the tripling of US gross national product since the 1960s was met with average happiness remaining essentially unchanged over the half-century.“The increased US output has caused massive environmental damage, notably through greenhouse gas concentrations and human-induced climate change, without doing much at all to raise the well-being even of Americans,” the report said.“Thus, we don’t have a tradeoff between short-run gains to well-being versus long-run costs to the environment. We have a pure loss to the environment without offsetting short-term gains,” added the report.Caribbean 360 News 89 Views   no discussionslast_img read more