U.S. Military Operation Martillo to Reinforce Guatemalan Police
By Dialogo August 23, 2012
A total of 171 United States Marines will provide support, starting this week, to the Security Forces of Guatemala, in an operation called Martillo, focusing on countering drug trafficking in Central America, reported an official source on Aug. 21.
The Guatemalan Defense Minister, Ulises Anzueto, said operations will last two months and will aim to neutralize the drug gangs that smuggle drugs across the Guatemalan Pacific.
“‘We try to counteract drug trafficking and provide the restraint needed for their entry into Guatemalan territory, and if they enter, bring them to a place where we can stop or disrupt their activities,” said Anzueto to the internet newspaper, Prensa Libre.
The actions will cover six departments of southwestern Guatemala.
Operation Martillo is an initiative of the U.S. government to combat drug trafficking, together with Central America and the Caribbean, and so far, it has only been implemented in Honduras.
According to Anzueto, the joint operation will involve some two thousand Guatemalan soldiers.
The Americans used the South Air Command in Retalhuleu, about 105 miles from the capital as a strategic point, but the Brigade Base Paratroops of Puerto San José (South) of Central Air Command, in the capital, will be added to the Task Force operation of Northwestern San Marcos (southwest), explained Anzueto.
The drug traffickers began to use the south coast, especially since the sea is easy access. What they do is unload [the drugs] at sea, and then they use routes to move toward the border of Mexico’, reported the Guatemalan President, Otto Pérez last Monday.
The presence of foreign military in Guatemalan territory, under the Constitution, can only be approved by the legislature, which has not happened so far.