U.S. Donates 42 Armored Vehicles to Guatemala
By Dialogo June 19, 2013
The U.S. government will donate 42 armored Jeep J8 vehicles to the Guatemalan Army and Police forces, to be used for public security joint tasks; 20 of the units were delivered in late May.
Official sources stated that the vehicles, which cost a total of $ 5.5 million, will significantly contribute to reinforcing the activities of the Tecún Umán Task Force, made up of military and police officers, allowing them further mobility and capacity for flexible and quick support to the Guatemalan forces.
Tecún Umán Task Force is about to start operations on Guatemala’s coastline area of San Marcos. In early June, Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla reported that the U.S. government had already sent 20 of the 42 armored vehicles for that unit, and that the rest of the vehicles would arrive at the end of the month. “They may formally arrive by early July, when we begin operations in the whole area,” the official explained.
López Bonilla added that the task force will be integrated by a contingent of 250 Soldiers and police officers, who are already training at the Military Police Brigade at San Juan Sacatepéquez. The unit will be in charge of countering drug trafficking and smuggling.
Tecún Umán is one of the three joint task special squadrons between the Police and Military that will be implemented in Guatemala to counter violence caused by common and organized crime.
Specifically, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez announced that three new security squadrons composed of Military and Police officers will start to operate soon in order to secure those departments with a higher homicide rate.
“Three squadrons are ready. Its members have already been recruited, and they are being trained; the team is all set,” the official said, adding that the squadrons will be made up of 500 elements and they intend to locate them in troubled Guatemalan areas, such as Escuintla, Izabal and Chiquimula.