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El Salvador and Guatemala Strengthen Common Border Surveillance

first_imgBy Lorena Baires/Diálogo February 11, 2019 Salvadoran and Honduran armed forces improved and strengthened their surveillance strategy in their 200-kilometer border to prevent trafficking networks that smuggle humans, weapons, drugs, and other illicit goods from taking advantage of unofficial border crossings. Both armies deployed more infantry battalions and increased binational operations since November 2018. “Every month, both countries deploy units that work along the border, particularly in areas where we know organized groups smuggle weapons or drugs,” Salvadoran Armed Force Brigadier General Juan Guzmán, commander of the Tomás Regalado 2nd Infantry Brigade, told Diálogo. “Our checks and patrols help disrupt these groups’ criminal activities.” Presidents and border unit commanders of the Northern Triangle hold binational or trinational meetings to coordinate patrols. “We work in an operational environment that facilitates interagency operations, reducing situations that would affect our citizen’s everyday lives,” said Guatemalan Army Colonel Mario Hernández, commander of the Maximiliano Aguilar Santamaría 3rd Infantry Brigade. The 12th Northern Triangle Border Military Units Trinational Meeting, held in El Salvador’s Santa Ana department in November 2018, helped evaluate results and exchange intelligence on the operations being conducted. “Thanks to that assessment, patrols allowed us to identify that local drug dealing not only supplies our countries locally, but also contributes to moving the drugs to Mexico,” Brig. Gen. Guzmán said. “A small amount remains in our country, while the rest moves toward the north.” El Salvador and Guatemala implemented 23 patrols in 2018. For 2019, coordinated units from both countries will be responsible for more than 30 operations to protect citizens. Real-time information Undocumented migrants traveling to the United States is a reality that Guatemalan and Salvadoran service members face on a daily basis; they stop human traffickers on routes that wind through both countries. Since the migrant caravans started in October 2018, military units have become a strategic support for public security and immigration authorities. “We work in coordination with the Civil Police [PNC, in Spanish] and the Migration and Foreign Affairs General Directorate [DGME, in Spanish]. Our presence at unofficial border crossings enabled us to collect and exchange information about how human trafficking networks operate,” said Brig. Gen. Guzmán. The common objective for PNC, DGME, and both countries’ armed forces is to exchange information in real time. That was arranged at the 3rd Northern Triangle Security Ministers Meeting, which gathered officials from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala in January 2018 in El Salvador. “We suggested a defined stance and position toward our partner, the United States, in the sense that we need to recognize the correlation of responsibilities as a region,” Guatemalan Minister of Government Enrique Degenhart told Diálogo. “Regional security is an integrated responsibility, because what happens in a country also affects the security of others.” Brig. Gen. Guzmán and Col. Hernández acknowledged the support of U.S. Southern Command with continuous training, equipment donations, and health programs. “We’ve been trained in urban combat and instructed in the use of special communications equipment, individual and group weapons maintenance, and armored vehicle maintenance. Also, Guatemalan and Salvadoran officers had the opportunity to train in specific fields in the United States,” they said. “We are committed to countering criminal groups, no matter who they are, because it’s important for both countries to have the same strategic lines. Our interagency coordination helps us have a much quicker response,” Mauricio Ramírez Landaverde, Salvadoran minister of Justice and Public Security, told Diálogo. “The armed forces of El Salvador and Guatemala are committed to raising coordination levels and gradually increasing the number of binational patrols. We both consider it crucial to stop human, illegal goods, and drug trafficking,” he concluded.last_img read more

EA1 Leads to One of Europe’s Largest Archaeological Digs in 2017

first_imgThe onshore works for East Anglia ONE underground cable have unearthed a historical treasure for the Suffolk area. So far evidence from the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman period, Anglo-Saxons and into the medieval period has been found, making this one of Europe’s largest archaeological digs this year, according to ScottishPower Renewables.Image: ScottishPower RenewablesThe archaeological excavations have been funded by ScottishPower Renewables, prior to the construction of a 37km underground cable, which will connect the 102 turbines from the East Anglia ONE Offshore wind farm to a new electricity converter station at Bramford.Wardell Armstrong was commissioned to oversee archaeological works across 60 hectares of Suffolk countryside, working closely with Suffolk County Council. Up to 400 archaeologists have been involved in the work since February, with a peak on-site workforce of around 250 at any given time, as well as 20 members of the Ipswich and District Metal Detector club.Joanna Young, Stakeholder Manager at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Hundreds of archaeologists and metal detectorists combing over fields in Suffolk is not the first thing you think of when you imagine an offshore windfarm – but it highlights the wide range of efforts needed to build a major energy project like ours.“We decided early on to invest in underground cables to take power from the offshore windfarm to the National Grid, rather than building pylons. This means laying cables under the ground and roads and rivers and railways across a 37km stretch. We need to make sure that we do this work in a sensitive manner, and it is important to record all items of archaeological significance.”The cable laying project for East Anglia ONE will begin in the next few months, ScottishPower Renewables said, and construction work is already underway at the onshore substation site in Bramford.Offshore work begins in 2018, with the 102 Siemens 7MW turbines due to be installed in 2019, before the project is fully operational during 2020.last_img read more