New Guatemalan President Offers Army More Equipment

New Guatemalan President Offers Army More Equipment

By Dialogo
January 19, 2012

On January 16, Guatemala’s new president, Otto Pérez, offered the Army more equipment and technology, during an official ceremony to mark his inauguration as commander-in-chief of the Guatemalan Armed Forces.

In his first speech as commanding general of the Army, Otto Pérez called on the Military to fulfill its commitment to the country’s citizens, in accordance with the constitutional mandate to fight drug trafficking and organized crime.

“Guatemala is going through a period marked by security concerns, despite having recently reached the 15th anniversary of the conclusion of the internal armed conflict by signing the peace accords. Citizens’ expectations are not being met, setting back not only security, but also social development in other spheres,” the president reiterated.

The goal imposed on the Armed Forces is their participation in coordinating and cooperating with the other institutions responsible for security, in order to achieve the exclusion of external threats and contribute to neutralizing illegal armed groups through the use of military power, by means of recovering and maintaining control of the country’s air, maritime, and land spaces by conducting inter-institutional support operations.

“From now on, this constitutes the Military strategic concept for support in the area of citizen security … in order to ensure that we’re going to work together with you (military personnel) in favor of citizen security and of all Guatemalans,” the president indicated.

To achieve this, President Pérez stated that the aim is to provide the Defense Ministry with resources, with weapons, equipment, and transportation suited to the territory, as well as coastal patrol vessels and speedboats in order to successfully intercept and neutralize organized crime, accompanied by a border security plan to control the crossings and routes used by criminal organizations.

He added that there will be a review of the air and land monitoring system initiative, known as C4i, which foresees the acquisition of planes, radars, and other equipment with loans from Brazil and Spain.

The president reiterated his intention of creating a program of Military special forces and Military police units, combined with joint inter-ministerial efforts, both domestically with the Interior and Defense Ministries and with their counterparts in neighboring countries and elsewhere in the region. The head of state confirmed plans to recruit 2,500 personnel for two new brigades, proposed for June.

“This is due to the fact that Guatemala is being challenged to put her best face forward in order to confront criminal organizations,” he added.