Nicaraguan Navy Conducts Operations to Strengthen Anti-drug War

By Dialogo
August 13, 2012

On August 8th, the Nicaraguan Navy conducted a military training exercise, on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, to strengthen response capabilities in view of the increased drug trafficking penetration in Central American region, noted AFP.

The objective is to prevent the drug cartels from settling down in the territory, which is a “great challenge”, Army Chief of Staff, General Oscar Balladares told reporters.

“Nicaragua must continue strengthening this retaining wall”, he added.

One of the exercises took place across the Puerto Corinto bay, on the Pacific Ocean, 160 km northwest of Managua, before a group of special guests and reporters.

During these maneuvers, which lasted three and a half hours, 14 speedboats, a helicopter, and 124 military personnel participated in simulating the interception and capture of a vessel.

“This is a simulation that demonstrates the training and preparation of the troops” to confront drug trafficking at sea, under “extremely difficult” conditions, said the military spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Orlando Palacios, to the AFP.

Salvadorian Army coastguard participated in the operation, as an observer, as a “symbol of the close relations” with the neighboring countries, expressed Palacios.

So far this year, the Nicaraguan Army has conducted 20 operatives against drug trafficking, during which it seized 3.5 tons of narcotics and detained 11 individuals from various nationalities, among them Colombians, Panamanians, Honduran, and Costa Rican nationals, described the military spokesman.

Also seized from the drug traffickers, were 15 speed boats, 40 rifles, night vision goggles and other military equipment, indicated Palacios.

According to Washington, 90% of all the drugs transported from South America to the United States passes through Central America and Mexico, where cartels have established bases and support networks.