Guatemalan Defense Ministry Budget to Increase in 2013
By Dialogo January 02, 2013
The Guatemalan Ministry of Defense’s budget for this year will increase by about 23% due to the purchase of air equipment and other military equipment, and the addition of military bases.
The Guatemalan Congress approved a sum of approximately 260 million dollars for the Armed Forces, almost 50 million more than the budget for 2012, according to a BBC Mundo publication last November.
According to El Periódico, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez said that the budget extension for the Armed Forces will serve the need of getting equipment for the software intelligence and control commands, as well as radars from Spanish firm Indra and EMB314/A-29 Super Tucano light assault aircrafts from Brazil’s Embraer, which would arrive in country from Brazil in a year and a half. A loan was approved last October for the purchase of air equipment only, in the sum of $ 169 million.
The president also announced that a strategic network will be installed in new military bases in San Marcos, Puerto Barrios and Petén, with the Army, Civil National Police (PNC) and Immigration personnel as witnesses, to combat drug trafficking, smuggling and human trafficking across the borders. “We have several requests to deploy detachments to help in the field of security. For instance, in Puerto Barrios, the presence of additional personnel was requested to restore order in the area,” he stated.
The Marine Brigade will be established in Puerto Barrios, specifically on the premises used by the Kaibil Special Forces Unit, which will be transferred to Poptún, Petén, to increase security controls in the department’s south, and in northern Alta Verapaz.
The High Mountain Brigade will be located on the premises of the old military zone in San Marcos, which will be focused on carrying out operations on the border with Mexico and in the area of the Tacaná and Tajumulco volcanoes.
On the other hand, Minister of Defense Ulises Anzueto, confirmed that the the new operative military bases are worth over half a million dollars, because solar panels will be needed to generate energy, as well as communication satellite systems. “There are many people (personnel) from several institutions – around 150 – that will need our assistance,” he said.
I think the opening of new military bases in San Marcos, Puerto Barrios and PetÃ©n is very appropriate, since it is necessary to improve somehow the credibility of the fight against organized crime in our country, mainly in areas where they can perform operations on the border line with Mexico, and in the area of the TacanÃ¡ and Tajumulco volcanoes.