Guatemalan Army to Gradually Retreat from Civilian Public Safety Tasks

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first_img Maj. Gen. Estrada Pérez: I don’t think so. In some areas, the drug traffickers take advantage of youths in gangs by distributing these weapons at low prices, and the gangs then become violent in one way or another. There is no direct or definite connection between the actions of gangs and those of drug traffickers. The Guatemalan Army depends on its Chief of Staff, who is responsible for developing and implementing all the policies and guidelines issued by the Ministry of National Defense and the General Commander of the Armed Forces, who is also the president. Major General Carlos Eduardo Estrada Pérez is the Guatemalan Army’s current Chief of Staff, and his role involves creating operational plans and training for Guatemala’s Army. Diálogo met with Major General Estrada during the XII Caribbean Nation’s Security Conference (CANSEC) 2015 held from January 20-23 in Nassau, Bahamas, where he discussed the main challenges that Guatemala’s Army currently faces. Diálogo: Does that mean that there may be a greater number of exchanges held between Guatemala and other Caribbean countries for information, joint military exercises, etc.? Diálogo: Do you mean that the Guatemalan Army will retreat from undertaking public safety activities by the end of 2016? Diálogo: Regarding your comment that Guatemala is a transit country and now also a storage warehouse, do you think that one of the consequences of this is the weapons that arms traffickers leave behind, that then fall in the hands of young Guatemalan gang members? Diálogo: Does that mean that there may be a greater number of exchanges held between Guatemala and other Caribbean countries for information, joint military exercises, etc.? Diálogo: What is your opinion on the current war on drugs by the Guatemalan Armed Forces? Major General Carlos Eduardo Estrada Pérez: The drug problem has been evolving and changing. They are very skilled in that sense, when we try to do something against the drug traffickers, they sprout in another area under a different mechanism. Guatemala has always been considered a transit area because of its geographical location, a place where the aircraft fuel arrives and where the fuel from vessels also arrives. So by definition, this makes us a transit area. But beyond considering the activities of the security forces successful; we have to understand that Guatemala has become not only a bridge, but also a warehouse. Lately, Guatemala has become a country that produces synthetic drugs. We have been seizing precursor chemicals often; we have been finding and dismantling secret laboratories. This is how we have handled drug trafficking and consequently, how Guatemala has been affected by it. Lastly, though on a smaller scale, but always present, is money laundering. These are the correlative effects of the drug trafficking activity in Guatemala. Diálogo: Do you mean that the Guatemalan Army will retreat from undertaking public safety activities by the end of 2016? Maj. Gen. Estrada Pérez: I don’t think so. In some areas, the drug traffickers take advantage of youths in gangs by distributing these weapons at low prices, and the gangs then become violent in one way or another. There is no direct or definite connection between the actions of gangs and those of drug traffickers. By Dialogo February 12, 2015 Diálogo: We know that drugs are a problem, especially for Central America. How has this problem really affected Guatemala? Maj. Gen. Estrada Pérez: The Constitution of Guatemala establishes that the Army is responsible for external and internal security, as derived from the Peace Agreements. So we began by strengthening our National Police Units. Within the Peace Agreements, it was established that the Army would not get involved in what corresponds to internal security, this being a public security matter. Following an increase in common crime, organized crime, and violent activities generated by drug trafficking, however, the security forces, in this case the National Police, has become overwhelmed. But, during the current term of [our] President Otto Perez Molina, the police have recovered, strengthened, and have increased in numbers. We are projecting that by next year, 2016; the Army will gradually retreat from the public safety activities. Maj. Gen. Estrada Pérez: We are attending on a special invitation from General John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, who recently visited Guatemala and invited us to attend this conference.It’s important for us to attend this conference where the Caribbean nations are integrating, coordinating, exchanging information, and cooperating. It is something we have had in Central America for many years through the Central American Armed Forces Conference that has been working very well. Maj. Gen. Estrada Pérez: We are attending on a special invitation from General John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, who recently visited Guatemala and invited us to attend this conference.It’s important for us to attend this conference where the Caribbean nations are integrating, coordinating, exchanging information, and cooperating. It is something we have had in Central America for many years through the Central American Armed Forces Conference that has been working very well. Diálogo: Regarding your comment that Guatemala is a transit country and now also a storage warehouse, do you think that one of the consequences of this is the weapons that arms traffickers leave behind, that then fall in the hands of young Guatemalan gang members? Diálogo: What is your opinion on the current war on drugs by the Guatemalan Armed Forces? Maj. Gen. Estrada Pérez: Yes. I would also like to add that the Army, as a military force, currently has a small participation in citizen security activities because three public safety squadrons have been created. So, we have public safety squads that are shaped by personnel who have already served in the military and others that have not, but go through a training period. These units are directly involved in supporting the National Police in public security tasks. Major General Carlos Eduardo Estrada Pérez: The drug problem has been evolving and changing. They are very skilled in that sense, when we try to do something against the drug traffickers, they sprout in another area under a different mechanism. Guatemala has always been considered a transit area because of its geographical location, a place where the aircraft fuel arrives and where the fuel from vessels also arrives. So by definition, this makes us a transit area. But beyond considering the activities of the security forces successful; we have to understand that Guatemala has become not only a bridge, but also a warehouse. Lately, Guatemala has become a country that produces synthetic drugs. We have been seizing precursor chemicals often; we have been finding and dismantling secret laboratories. This is how we have handled drug trafficking and consequently, how Guatemala has been affected by it. Lastly, though on a smaller scale, but always present, is money laundering. These are the correlative effects of the drug trafficking activity in Guatemala. Maj. Gen. Estrada Pérez: Possibly, because even though, for example, the Dominican Republic isn’t in Central America, it is also a member of CEFAC. This means that we, the four Central American countries that compose CEFAC [El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua], have a close relationship with the armed forces of several countries in the region. Maj. Gen. Estrada Pérez: The Constitution of Guatemala establishes that the Army is responsible for external and internal security, as derived from the Peace Agreements. So we began by strengthening our National Police Units. Within the Peace Agreements, it was established that the Army would not get involved in what corresponds to internal security, this being a public security matter. Following an increase in common crime, organized crime, and violent activities generated by drug trafficking, however, the security forces, in this case the National Police, has become overwhelmed. But, during the current term of [our] President Otto Perez Molina, the police have recovered, strengthened, and have increased in numbers. We are projecting that by next year, 2016; the Army will gradually retreat from the public safety activities. Diálogo: We know that drugs are a problem, especially for Central America. How has this problem really affected Guatemala? Maj. Gen. Estrada Pérez: Possibly, because even though, for example, the Dominican Republic isn’t in Central America, it is also a member of CEFAC. This means that we, the four Central American countries that compose CEFAC [El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua], have a close relationship with the armed forces of several countries in the region. How and why can this be??? In order for crime to increase, if they take away citizen security, what kind of security will we have left??? The police??? Corrupt accomplices of organized crime.. No thank you. A country without an army is like a mutilated human body with both arms cut off, why do we have to do what the foreign countries want in Guatemala when Guatemala is ours. Maj. Gen. Estrada Pérez: Yes. I would also like to add that the Army, as a military force, currently has a small participation in citizen security activities because three public safety squadrons have been created. So, we have public safety squads that are shaped by personnel who have already served in the military and others that have not, but go through a training period. These units are directly involved in supporting the National Police in public security tasks. The Guatemalan Army depends on its Chief of Staff, who is responsible for developing and implementing all the policies and guidelines issued by the Ministry of National Defense and the General Commander of the Armed Forces, who is also the president. Major General Carlos Eduardo Estrada Pérez is the Guatemalan Army’s current Chief of Staff, and his role involves creating operational plans and training for Guatemala’s Army. Diálogo met with Major General Estrada during the XII Caribbean Nation’s Security Conference (CANSEC) 2015 held from January 20-23 in Nassau, Bahamas, where he discussed the main challenges that Guatemala’s Army currently faces. Diálogo: Guatemala has historically participated in the Central American Regional Security Conference [CENTSEC], why are you participating in this year’s Caribbean Nation’s Security Conference [CANSEC]? Diálogo: Guatemala has historically participated in the Central American Regional Security Conference [CENTSEC], why are you participating in this year’s Caribbean Nation’s Security Conference [CANSEC]? last_img read more

Nugent hails bargain striker Ulloa

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first_img Eyebrows were raised when Leicester broke their transfer record to sign Ulloa from Brighton in the summer. The Foxes paid an initial £8million fee, which could rise to £10million, for the striker even though he had just one season of experience in English football before moving to the King Power Stadium. The 28-year-old has had no problems adapting to the top flight, though. On Sunday he took his tally to five goals in five matches with a well-taken brace in the shock win over Manchester United. Given that Diego Costa, who cost Chelsea four times as much, is the only man to have scored more goals than Ulloa this season, Nugent thinks the acquisition of his Leicester team-mate is proving to be a shrewd bit of business by the east midlands club. “Leo has been a revelation so far,” said Nugent, who scored a penalty in the hugely impressive 5-3 win. “He has come in from Brighton and he has scored lots of goals. At £8million he has turned out to be a bargain.” Bookmakers have cut the odds on Ulloa topping the scoring charts at the end of the season from 80-1 to 33-1. They have also lengthened the price on Leicester being relegated after their successful start to the season. Nigel Pearson’s side, who won the Championship last year, have taken eight points from five matches. Given that they have already played Arsenal, Chelsea and 20-time champions United, the Foxes are taking delight in silencing their doubters. “When the fixtures came out, with the start we were given, no one expected us to get any points, so we are proving everyone wrong,” said Nugent, who has played in the top flight before with Portsmouth. “They can write us off all they want, but we know in this squad we have the spirit, the energy, and the players to cause teams problems as we showed against Manchester United.” The Foxes lost two and won 17 of their 23 matches at home last season. Now Leicester are looking to make teams fear coming to the King Power Stadium this season. “It was important to win at Stoke (the weekend before last), but our home form is very important to us,” Nugent said. “We have to make this place a fortress.” Forward Jamie Vardy, scorer of the Foxes’ fourth goal on Sunday as well as playing a key role in his side’s other goals, played down his heroics, insisting it was all about getting the three points. Speaking from Leicester races, he told At The Races: “The fans were amazing and the players were amazing. “It’s not about me scoring – it’s about the team winning, and that’s all that matters.” Vardy was not dwelling too much on the amazing comeback, though, as he swiftly turned his attention to Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace. “We haven’t had the easiest starts (to the season), but we’ve already shown what we are all about,” he added. “It’s on to the next game now and trying to get three points. “There’s no easy games – it doesn’t matter who you are playing – so we have to get on the training ground and find out their (Crystal Palace’s) strengths and weaknesses and exploit them, like we did on Sunday.” David Nugent thinks Leicester have signed one of the bargains of the season in Leonardo Ulloa. Press Associationlast_img read more

Budget 2018 disappoints expectation – FITUG

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first_img…decries “paltry” $500 to pensioners…Union suggestions ignoredThe Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) is not that optimistic about the livelihoods of workers and is accusing Government of ignoring its proposals for the 2018 National Budget presented last week. At the same time, the Union body on Saturday condemned much of the outlined measures for the new fiscal year, expressing much vexation for the “paltry” $500 per month increase that is being given to old age pensioners across the land. FITUG said the Budget “failed to live up to the high expectations of the working-people” who looked forward to measures that would have lessened their burdens.According to the Union, such expectations, undoubtedly, were heightened by the “cheery, colourful billboards and the many advertisements that have appeared in the electronic media to promote the Budget.”The combined Union body added that while its suggestions were largely ignored, it will remain resolute in advocating for the rights of workers with the aim of improving their well-being and standard of living.“We are not daunted and we will continue to promote our suggestions recognising their importance in improving workers’ well-being and their standard of living. We must share too our vexation that a paltry $500 per month or $16 per day increase was given to the old aged pensioners who clearly deserve a much more realistic increase, especially in these times,” the Union observed.FITUG is hopeful that Government will re-examine the $500 increase. The Union meanwhile commended the Administration’s decision to remove Value Added Tax (VAT) on private education and to grant tax-free status to leave passage allowances for employees in the Private Sector.FITUG vented further of the Administration’s decision to not increase the Income Tax threshold, something to which it said workers were eagerly looking forward. The Union feels the 2018 Budget did not advance any serious policy regarding job preservation and job creation, in addition to the absence of a clear policy to assist the implementation of the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).FITUG also decried the treatment of thousands of workers who stand to be affected by the reduction of the sugar industry, seeing the moves as “ill-considered”. Commenting on the oil and gas industry, the Federation says it is concerned that there is an absence of definitive statements on the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). Additionally, FITUG highlighted the stance taken to abandon the Amalia Falls project despite compelling arguments for it to be pursued.FITUG surmised that workers were in a different boat from “The Journey to the Good Life continues” tag announced by the Finance Minister.On Monday last, Government tabled in the National Assembly a budget to the tune of $267.1 billion where several measures to support its green agenda and improve various key economic sectors were announced. However, Finance Minister Winston Jordan noted that the initial projected growth of the economy was 3.8 per cent, which was revised by midyear to 3.1 per cent after the economy only grew by 2.2 per cent in July of this year. The budget debates begin tomorrow.last_img read more