Security Conference in Paraguay Discusses Joint Military Action in the Fight against Drug Trafficking

Security Conference in Paraguay Discusses Joint Military Action in the Fight against Drug Trafficking

By Dialogo
August 19, 2015

I hope they really fight not only against those who manufacture it, but also against those who use it. Good measure by the governments to stop this evil in the world The coming together of security organizations all over the continent is more important than ever. Promote PEACE by empowering and training forces for efforts that are ever more difficult and different within the framework of globalization. Crime has also become globalized therefore fighting must also become globalized. It's good

There are two main types of drugs flowing through Paraguayan territory: marijuana, which is produced locally, and cocaine, which is in transit to other countries. Paraguay does not house production labs for it, nor does it produce the precursor chemicals and other substances used to make the narcotic, yet it lies on one of the main transshipment routes for illegal drugs originating mainly in Brazil and Argentina as they head north, especially to the United States.

That’s why Paraguay proposed “Defense Cooperation in Response to Regional Challenges,” as this year’s topic during the South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC), an annual event co-sponsored by the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and a partner nation, which for the 2015 edition, is Paraguay.

Combating transnational organized crime was clearly established as the main challenge alluded by the conference title early on in the event, but drug trafficking follows it closely.

“These issues, while proposed by our hosts, affect all of us …drug trafficking and the spread of transnational organized crime pose direct and significant threats to the territorial sovereignty of every single country in the Western Hemisphere,”said Marine Corps General John F. Kelly, SOUTHCOM Commander, during the event’s inauguration. “No country is immune…and none of us are capable of fighting these powerful networks alone.”

Gen. Kelly reminded the audience that luckily, there are countless mechanisms of cooperation available to support countries that are confronting common challenges, such as the South American Defense Council, the Inter-American Defense Board, the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, and even SOUTHDEC itself, the actions of which can benefit collective efforts.

“We’ve got another great asset on our side…leaders in South America who have long recognized the importance of working together. Your nations have demonstrated an impressive commitment to improving security both within and beyond your borders,” emphasized Gen. Kelly.

General Luis Gonzaga Garcete Espínola, Commander of the Paraguayan Armed Forces, preceded Gen. Kelly, and said that the role of the military is being modified to be better suited to confront current conflicts, which have also undergone change.

“Paraguay’s Military policy calls for current organizations to establish new ways of relating to one another and producing new ways of responding to the way we combat new regional threats, especially transnational organized crime,” he said. “This is the current focus of our priorities.”

Participating at the meeting with Gen. Kelly and Gen. Garcete are military and public security leaders from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico (as observers), Peru, and Uruguay. The Armed Forces’ role in support of humanitarian assistance missions by international military and public security forces to the United Nations’ (UN) peace keeping operations (PKO) are among the topics covered during the three-day event, from August 18-20.

Informally, South America currently contributes almost 5,000 Blue Helmets around the world, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cyprus, Lebanon, and closer to home, Haiti. Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, among others, comprise the backbone of countless UN PKO missions.

“Bolivia and Peru are conducting coordinated and simultaneous operations to confront drug trafficking. Brazil is doing outstanding work with its many neighbors, cooperating on a range of issues from drug trafficking to environmental security. Colombia is making important contributions to the international effort to build security capacity in Central America. And for the second year in a row, Paraguay has sent a contingent of soldiers to train with Colombia to bolster their efforts to fight terrorism. These are only a few examples of exceptional collaboration seen in this part of the world. And this collaboration is great for all of us,” highlighted Gen. Kelly in what was his last SOUTHDEC conference as he prepares to retire later in 2015.

For those present, it was clear that when it comes to issues such as combating transnational organized crime, maritime security or humanitarian crises, borders don’t matter, what matters are the partnerships.