For the First Time, Latin America Emerges Strengthened from a Worldwide Crisis

first_img For the first time in its history, Latin America was not dragged down by an international financial crisis and returned to vigorous economic growth in 2010, thanks to its good economic policies and the yield of its raw materials. While the United States and the European Union should close the year with GDP growth of around 2.6% and 1.7%, respectively, the Latin American figures will be around 5%. And the fact is that in the world financial crisis – triggered in September 2008 in the United States, prolonged this year by the crisis in Europe – the region turned out to be one of those least affected in the world and even, despite some glancing impacts, succeeded in coming out strengthened, in the judgment of analysts consulted by AFP. According to Augusto de la Torre, chief economist for Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank, there are various factors that explain the region’s favorable trajectory in this crisis scenario. In the first place, there was a “transformation of factors that in the past usually amplified external shocks,” such as weak currencies, weak financial systems, and not very orderly budget processes, which magnified “the effect (of the crisis) on our economies,” he explained. For its part, the region’s “integration in international trade is much more diversified,” since the region is no longer focused solely on Europe and the United States, but has now opened to markets such as the emerging markets of Asia, he affirmed. Another aspect is the “way in which we are integrated into the international financial system,” having become creditors and recipients of large amounts of foreign direct investment, he added. At the same time, the region took advantage of two circumstantial factors: the growing “appetite for risk” that is attracting foreign investment and high prices for raw materials, De la Torre added. In this regard, Alberto Ramos, chief economist for Latin America at Goldman Sachs, judges that between 2003 and 2008 there was a valuation of raw materials that offered favorable conditions “for reducing vulnerabilities, increasing foreign reserves, reducing the level of public debt.” The most representative case is that of Chile, which used the resources accumulated thanks to the high price of copper, of which it is the world’s leading producer, to launch stimulus packages worth millions, explained Francisco Castañeda, a professor at the University of Santiago in Chile (USACH). For Ramos, “it’s not that Latin America was in a situation of immunity with regard to the crisis (…) but that it wasn’t in a catastrophic situation,” as in the past. Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, will have growth of around 7.5% this year (7.7% according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), 7.6% according to economists who study the local market), accompanied by greater access to credit and an increase in employment, which translated into in an increase in consumption. With more money in their pockets, the more than 190 million Brazilians passed the mark of one cell phone per inhabitant (194.4 million devices activated), and a million and a half are expected to travel by plane for the first time during the Southern Hemisphere summer. Argentina, for its part, is forecasting growth of up to 9% this year according to the latest official figures (8.4% according to ECLAC), after applying anticyclical policies and social programs. For the upcoming year, specialists agree that the region must continue looking north. By Dialogo January 03, 2011last_img read more

Guatemala Arrests Alleged Members of Mexican Los Zetas Cartel

first_img On June 1, the Guatemalan Police arrested seven alleged members of the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas, who had barricaded themselves for several hours in two residences in the city of Jalapa (in eastern Guatemala). One of those arrested is a 39-year-old Mexican man, while the rest are Guatemalan nationals, a police announcement indicated. All the arrestees had taken refuge in two residences the night before the arrest, after the police pursued them because they failed to heed an order to stop the vehicle they were driving. In the operation, the officers seized two 9-mm firearms and a fragmentation grenade. According to the daily Prensa Libre, the police link the arrestees to five other alleged members of Los Zetas arrested on May 28 with weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the city of Zacapa, 170 km east of the capital. Guatemala has become a country with a strong presence of Mexico’s powerful drug cartels, which operate primarily in the border area. By Dialogo June 05, 2012last_img read more

Police in Colombia Dismantle Heroin Trafficking Ring to US

first_imgBy Dialogo September 05, 2012 On September 2, the Colombian Police announced it broke up a heroin ring that shipped the drug to the United States working with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. Army General Luis Perez said the ring was sending 40 kilograms of heroin a month to the United States through Curaçao, the Dominican Republic and Aruba. Traffickers were also shipping drugs to the Netherlands. Nine suspects were arrested. Among them was Juan David Toro Serna, who is wanted for extradition to the United States on drug charges.last_img read more

The Armed Forces of Peru and Colombia Cooperate against Illegal Mining

first_imgThe basis of the agreement between Peru and Colombia is to stop an unlawful enterprise which accounts for huge revenues for organized crime groups in both nations. “This is a bilateral battle because we share the problems of terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal mining and others, and therefore we are coordinating the joint execution of our actions,” added Daniel Urresti, Peru’s Minister of Internal Affairs. Strategy includes help for civilian population In addition to calling for joint action by security forces against illegal miners, the treaty also seeks to promote sustainable economic activities, such as fish farming and the production of cacao in the border region, the Embassy of Colombia in Lima stated. Cacao production provides an alternative to the illegal cultivation of coca leaves for the purpose of producing cocaine. The Putumayo River is located along the border between Peru and Colombia. The two countries are divided by a continuous, 1,626 kilometer-long-long border. Organized crime groups generate about $29 billion from illegal mining annually in Peru, according to the Office of the Chairman of Peru’s Council of Ministers. This figure is 12 percent higher than the estimated annual revenue – about $25 billion – generated in Peru by drug trafficking. It also calls on Peru and Colombia to work cooperatively to stop organized crime groups from smuggling the machinery needed to engage in illegal mining, according to the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Relations. The Armed Forces of the two countries are working cooperatively to carry out the Memorandum of Understanding they signed in February 2014. The agreement calls for Peru and Colombia to work cooperatively to develop a strategy to fight illegal mining; to assess the environmental impact of such activity; to share information about such unlawful enterprises, and to carry out joint law enforcement operations to fight this crime. By Dialogo January 16, 2015 The governments of Peru and Colombia are working in cooperation along the border the two countries share to stop illegal mining and mitigate its impact on the environment. The Putumayo River is located along the border between Peru and Colombia. The two countries are divided by a continuous, 1,626 kilometer-long-long border. Illegal mining generates billions of dollars annually In Colombia, about 63 percent of all mining is conducted illegally, according to the Office of the Comptroller General. “The work along the Peru-Colombia border focuses on the Putumayo River basin, where we must meet the needs of the communities, finding a balance between human settlements and the environment,” Soto Castañola said. The agreement between the two countries warrants for a broad strategy of enforcement against illegal mining, protection of the ecosystem, and improved opportunities for communities that live in the border region. “In this partnership with Colombia, we have planned for actions against all acts that threaten the security, economy, natural resources, environment and health of our two nations stemming from illegal mining and related criminal offenses, such as trafficking in persons and forced child labor,” said Augusto Aníbal Soto Castañola, the High Commissioner for Mining Formalization in Peru. It also calls on Peru and Colombia to work cooperatively to stop organized crime groups from smuggling the machinery needed to engage in illegal mining, according to the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Relations. center_img The basis of the agreement between Peru and Colombia is to stop an unlawful enterprise which accounts for huge revenues for organized crime groups in both nations. The agreement between the two countries warrants for a broad strategy of enforcement against illegal mining, protection of the ecosystem, and improved opportunities for communities that live in the border region. In addition to calling for joint action by security forces against illegal miners, the treaty also seeks to promote sustainable economic activities, such as fish farming and the production of cacao in the border region, the Embassy of Colombia in Lima stated. Cacao production provides an alternative to the illegal cultivation of coca leaves for the purpose of producing cocaine. “This is a bilateral battle because we share the problems of terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal mining and others, and therefore we are coordinating the joint execution of our actions,” added Daniel Urresti, Peru’s Minister of Internal Affairs. Annually, organized crime groups launder about $48.5 billion generated by illegal mining, according to a report titled, “Mining in Colombia, Institutionality and Territory, Paradoxes and Conflicts,” released by the Office of the Comptroller General. Strategy includes help for civilian population “The work along the Peru-Colombia border focuses on the Putumayo River basin, where we must meet the needs of the communities, finding a balance between human settlements and the environment,” Soto Castañola said. Illegal mining generates billions of dollars annually The Armed Forces of the two countries are working cooperatively to carry out the Memorandum of Understanding they signed in February 2014. The agreement calls for Peru and Colombia to work cooperatively to develop a strategy to fight illegal mining; to assess the environmental impact of such activity; to share information about such unlawful enterprises, and to carry out joint law enforcement operations to fight this crime. Annually, organized crime groups launder about $48.5 billion generated by illegal mining, according to a report titled, “Mining in Colombia, Institutionality and Territory, Paradoxes and Conflicts,” released by the Office of the Comptroller General. In Colombia, about 63 percent of all mining is conducted illegally, according to the Office of the Comptroller General. Organized crime groups generate about $29 billion from illegal mining annually in Peru, according to the Office of the Chairman of Peru’s Council of Ministers. This figure is 12 percent higher than the estimated annual revenue – about $25 billion – generated in Peru by drug trafficking. The governments of Peru and Colombia are working in cooperation along the border the two countries share to stop illegal mining and mitigate its impact on the environment. “In this partnership with Colombia, we have planned for actions against all acts that threaten the security, economy, natural resources, environment and health of our two nations stemming from illegal mining and related criminal offenses, such as trafficking in persons and forced child labor,” said Augusto Aníbal Soto Castañola, the High Commissioner for Mining Formalization in Peru. It’s so good to be a reservist in the military forces, I didn’t last 20 years in our dear and beloved COLOMBIAN AIR FORCE in vain… Don’t shut the mines down on the miners. Let them work, or give them the food they work for so they may eat I didn’t like it Well, truly, how could we not thank those who have helped us so much. Before we’d travel on mules because we had no roads, thanks to this valuable help the roads were opened up and along with this came automobiles, the beginning of development for any civilization. And so, thousands of other things.last_img read more

Colombia Supports Peacekeeping Mission in Sinai

first_imgBy Marian Romero/Diálogo December 05, 2017 In mid-October 2017, members of the Colombian Military Forces deployed to Egypt to support the peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula. The group, comprising 113 service members from the Colombian National Army and Navy, joined the 3rd Colombian Battalion attached to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). “It’s an honor to belong to the Colombian Battalion in the Sinai Peninsula,” Colombian National Army Sergeant First Class Jairo Quintero, a current MFO member, told Diálogo. “Even though it’s grueling work, away from family, and far from everything you know, it’s a very important opportunity in your military career to experience other cultures and serve your country from a different standpoint.” The objective of the international mission is to maintain security in the region pursuant to the peace agreements between Egypt and Israel. The mission includes checkpoints operations in the area, reconnaissance patrols, observation posts, and ensuring navigation freedom through the Gulf of Aqaba, whose coastline is divided among Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Peacekeeping misión MFO is an independent international entity established as an alternative to the United Nations (UN) to fulfill the 1979 Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel. The treaty marked the end of 30 years of hostilities and set the borders between the two countries. Both parties had called for the presence of a UN observer force. When the Security Council failed to give its approval, a protocol establishing MFO was negotiated. In April 1982, MFO’s mission began with international military forces, including Colombia. Twelve nations now participate in the multi-national force, with Uruguay being the only other Latin American country. The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty divided the Sinai peninsula into four zones. Two of them account for most of the territory and fall under the security control of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The zone bordering Israel is the responsibility of the Israeli Defense Forces, while the intermediate zone is under MFO control. The international zone has two camps: the North Camp in El Gorah and the South Camp near the city of Sharm El Sheikh. Specific duties According to Sergeant First Class Wilmer Alejandro Calderón, who was a member of Colombia’s 3rd Battalion and returned to Colombia in June 2017, each MFO nation has a different responsibility. “They perform administrative, engineering, transport, intelligence work, and comprehensive actions, etc.,” he explained. The Colombian Battalion works out of the North Camp. “We’re in charge of security watches, guarding the towers, the perimeters, the entrances and exits in the North Camp, and escorting convoys, among other security-related duties,” Sgt. 1st Class Calderón said. The tour in Sinai entails certain challenges for Colombian service members. They have to adapt to the harsh desert climate and deal with the complexities of the zone, which serves as a battle ground for various extremist groups, including the Islamic State. During their 10-month tour, service members remain on base or in the patrol zone except for two weeks of leave to visit tourist sites in the region. “It’s an experience that requires some strength. The confinement is difficult, weather conditions are extreme, and work is constant. Dealing with people from other countries who don’t speak Spanish can also be a challenge,” Sgt. 1st Class Calderón said. “But it’s an opportunity I’d love to have again.” Training to deploy Each year, Colombia does two changes of command to carry out the MFO’s mission. On this occasion, the 111th change of command included 11 officers, 21 non-commissioned officers, and 94 soldiers from the Colombian National Army as well as one officer, one petty officer, and five marines from the Colombian National Navy. The group’s selection is done through a competitive application process that takes into account service members’ performance. “Going to Sinai is a dream that’s hard to achieve because you have to have a spotless performance record throughout your military career,” said Colombian National Army Captain Miguel Giraldo, who was a member of the Colombian Battalion in the 109th change of command. “I’ve been in the Army for 13 years and only now did I get the opportunity.” Candidates undergo a series of physical and psychological tests to determine whether they are suited for the mission. For three months, they take courses on the regional context, MFO’s history and structure, as well as classes on aircraft, tanks, and improvised explosive devices, among others. “The training is very important to adapt to conditions in the zone. We learn about the history of Egypt and Israel and about how to appropriately handle potential events as MFO members,” Capt. Giraldo explained. “But some really important parts are the intensive English course and the social and humanitarian training to help us deal with people from other countries.” Peacekeeping operations represent a fundamental experience for Colombia. “The Colombian Battalion has been in the Sinai Peninsula for 35 years, raising Colombia’s stature abroad,” concluded Major General Ricardo Gómez Nieto, second commander of the Colombian National Army. “It’s an experience that enriches us and fills us with satisfaction.”last_img read more

Countries of the Americas Face Environmental Disaster Scenarios

first_imgBy Juan Delgado / Diálogo August 20, 2019 The Exercise on Interagency Operations on Protection of the Environmental and Natural Resources, carried out at the end of June, sought to coordinate participating forces’ responses.On the ground training took place at the facilities of the Argentine Army’s 12th Mountain Brigade, and included officers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, the United States, and Uruguay.“We’re not only gaining experience, ideas, and contributions from national agencies, but also from all those armies, which allows us to learn so much more,” said Lieutenant General Claudio Pasqualini, chief of the Argentine Army’s General Staff.Vulnerable areasAccording to an April 2019 report by the Andean Development Corporation – Development Bank of Latin America, Latin American countries must better prepare to guarantee their citizens’ security in the face of increasingly extreme natural catastrophes. The report recommends involving neighboring countries to better understand risk and develop strategies, among other suggestions.The World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Risk Report indicates that Central and South American countries on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts are in higher risk zones for earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, and other natural events. In the first quarter of 2019, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru suffered floods and landslides that affected millions of people. In Argentina, for example, one third of the population of six provinces — more than 3 million people — were evacuated, according to ReliefWeb, a digital service of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.Taking into account recent regional events, the exercise simulated a natural disaster resulting from the rising of the Paraná and Iguazú rivers in northeast Argentina, which caused overflows and floods that affected communication channels, roads, electric companies, and neighboring towns.Faced with this disaster, local authorities requested assistance to initiate planning efforts and create a contingency plan.Measures on the groundIn the first phase, participants practiced rescuing people who had fallen into the water and were in an area of difficult access, using ropes, harnesses, and other means. Another phase consisted of a simulated shipwreck. The efforts began with the launch of military rescue swimmers from Bell UH-1H helicopters as first responders.Finally, the exercise simulated an accident of a truck carrying chemicals that spilled toxic substances. Military swimmers jump from a helicopter as part of a simulated rescue at sea during an international exercise to address environmental emergencies. (Photo: Argentine Army)Participants proceeded to rescue people, and also evacuated and isolated the contaminated area and conducted an air evacuation.“The concept of complementarity is vital in emergencies,” said Commander Alberto Modino Iturralde, member of the Spanish Armed Forces’ Military Emergency Unit. “One agency can contribute with psychological aid, another in the humanitarian aspect, the armies with intervention, transport, and logistics support units. Contribution from all in an emergency is a vital concept.”Regional strengtheningCreated in 1960 as a forum for army commanders of the western hemisphere, CAA is an international military organization comprising 22 countries of the Americas, the Caribbean and four observer countries —among them, Spain. CAA holds biennial cycles of conferences and specialized exercises aimed at improving interoperability. The main theme of its 2020-2021 cycle will be interagency operations and environmental and natural resource protection.“Since its creation in Panama, CAA constitutes a forum to discuss and analyze ideas and topics of interest, providing high-quality products that our armies can use according to their particular characteristics and organizations,” said Argentine Army Brigadier General Aldo Ferrari, commander of the 12th Mountain Brigade.last_img read more

Colombian Military Forces Seize More than 5.7 Tons of Drug

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo August 26, 2020 The Colombian Army and Navy seized 5,726 kilograms of marijuana and cocaine hydrochloride in five operations that dealt a major blow to narcotrafficking networks.The Pacific Naval Force (FNP, in Spanish) reported that on July 18 it seized 62 packages containing 1,213 kg of marijuana and 20 kg of cocaine hydrochloride. The drugs, found in a house in Cali, Valle del Cauca department, were bound for Central America, the Navy said.The Colombian Navy seized 1,213 kg of marijuana and 20 kg of cocaine hydrochloride in Cali, Valle del Cauca, on July 18. (Photo: Colombian Military Forces’ General Command)In another operation, the Ministry of Defense reported that the Buenaventura Coast Guard Station and the FNP intercepted a speedboat at the mouth of the Naya River on July 12. In the vessel manned by three Colombians, authorities found 1,019 kg of marijuana, and 155 kg of cocaine hydrochloride, which were bound for Costa Rica, the Ministry reported.Also on July 12, authorities reported in the same area a vessel ready to sail, where they seized 1,338 kg of marijuana and 3 kg of cocaine hydrochloride. There were no arrests during the operation.The Colombian Military Forces’ General Command (CGFM, in Spanish) reported that on July 10 in Valle del Cauca, Army service members intercepted a vehicle carrying 970 packages with 1,564 kg of marijuana. In other simultaneous operations in the same area, service members found 380 kg of marijuana at a community center and seized another 34 kg of marijuana at a road checkpoint, CGFM reported.“We are seizing more and more marijuana shipments in busy and inhabited areas, due to tactical units’ control and pressure in the areas of operations,” Colonel Henry López Cano, commander of the Colombian Army 3rd Brigade, told Diálogo on July 21. “[This] leads these groups to use new routes to move shipments, at the risk of being intercepted at the armed forces’ checkpoints.”“For this reason, we found a car full [of marijuana], as if it were carrying […] shirts, shamelessly and carelessly; they were confident […] that the Public Force was not using military intel to combat this scourge,” Col. López added.On July 22, the Ministry of Defense announced that it would strengthen security in Cauca and Valle del Cauca with close to  360 security officers. The Public Force will also enforce a micro-focused operational and territorial control strategy for priority municipalities in Cauca.last_img read more

Board approves funds for grievance process survey

first_img January 1, 2004 Regular News Board approves funds for grievance process survey Board approves funds for grievance process surveycenter_img Money for surveys for the Bar’s ongoing review of its grievance process and staff time transfers for a new advertising task force have been approved by the Bar Board of Governors, acting on recommendations of the Budget Committee.Both those activities were also approved by the Program Evaluation Committee, and the board also approved two other budget amendments.Budget Committee Chair Jesse Diner said the Special Commission on Lawyer Regulation sought $22,342 to survey judges, lawyers, grievance committee members, complainants, and others involved in the grievance process.Special commission Chair Hank Coxe reported to the board that the commission’s work is proceeding well. He said the panel has already received a wide range of comments and advice, but in addition wants to do a comprehensive survey of people who have been involved in the grievance process.“It is a remarkable education process,” Coxe said of the commission’s work so far. “It’s going to be a tedious process, but I think a worthwhile one. I am amazed at the number of people who are aware this is going on.”On the advertising task force, Diner said that President-elect Kelly Overstreet Johnson is creating that panel to review Bar advertising regulations and their effectiveness. That will require an allocation of $10,210 plus Bar staff time.Johnson said she hopes to appoint the task force this month, which she expects will have 13 to 15 members.“I definitely plan to put people on who advertise,” she said. “I think we need their input to see what rules work and which don’t.”Johnson said she also wants to ask Bar attorney Barry Richard about whether the Bar can constitutionally require lawyers to submit ads for Bar review before they are published or aired without running afoul of prior restraint issues. Present Bar rules require that ads to be reviewed must be submitted no later than concurrently with their first publication.On other budget matters, Diner recommended and the board approved paying $8,963 for a planning retreat. Those expenses, he explained, are part of implementing the recommendation to have the Bar’s Executive Committee, with a few additional members, take over long-range planning for the Bar.President-elect Johnson said the board will be getting a plan for that transition at its January 30 meeting. “We’ve got a good workable plan, and we’re looking forward to being able to give that to you,” she said.The Budget Committee also recommended, and the board approved, a $3,000 allocation to the joint Bar/CPA committee. The money will be used to help pay for an upcoming CLE seminar on complying with the Sarbanes Oxley Act.last_img read more

FEMA Extends Deadline For Sandy Relief Program

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended the deadline for residents whose homes were damaged by Sandy to apply for the STEP program.Those who have yet to apply to the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) Program now have until Jan. 18. This is the second deadline extension for applicants.The program offers assistance with temporarily restoring electricity, heat and hot water to damaged homes while permanent repair work continues. The goal is to get displaced residents back in their homes quickly.Residents seeking assistance through the Nassau County STEP Program should dial 1-888-684-4267. Suffolk residents can apply by calling 211.last_img read more

Long Island Groundhogs Predict More Winter

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Island’s groundhogs are bucking the prognostications of their furry bretheren to the west and predicting six more weeks of winter.Holtsville Hal and Malverne Mel both saw their shadows on Groundhog Day, which fell on Saturday this year. That’s counter to both groundhog-in-chief Punksatony Phil and New York City’s Staten Island Chuck, neither of whom saw their shadows, suggesting there will be an early spring.The “predictions” come as LI’s forecast calls for a chance of light snow Saturday and Sunday with temperatures in the high 20s or low 30s, remaining below freezing through next week when a chance of light snow returns for Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.Temps are forecast to warm up slightly to 36 under mostly sunny skies next Thursday before a chance of rain and snow returns Friday.last_img read more