Uruguay and Chile Boost Cooperation against Terrorism and Organized Crime
By Dialogo May 19, 2016
Uruguay and Chile are working together to reach their national defense goals within the context of the 2016 International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE). Uruguayan Vice Minister of Defense Jorge Menéndez Corte met with his Chilean counterpart, Undersecretary of Defense Marcos Robledo Hoecker, on March 31st in Santiago, Chile, for the first political and strategic dialogue between the nations' undersecretaries of Defense.
Held every two years, FIDAE is a Chilean Air Force (FACh)-sponsored exhibition aimed at promoting development in the aerospace, defense, and security industries.
Chilean and Uruguayan officials agreed to update the scope of the Defense Cooperation Agreement, which the countries executed in 2007, to assist each other in achieving their national defense goals and creating a functional mechanism to advance initiatives within that framework.
“Updating the cooperation agreement consists of exchanging experiences, such as how we organize our defense structure, the relationship between the civilian and military spheres from a defense perspective, and the participation of women in defense,” Undersecretary Menéndez told Diálogo
. “All our work in defense confirms the good relations between the two countries."
As part of the cooperation agreement, Chilean and Uruguayan authorities conducted a thorough bilateral evaluation of the region as well as the entities that are part of it. They also discussed their world vision and addressed the existing threats and vulnerabilities facing the region, primarily in the sub-region formed by Chile and Uruguay.
“Terrorism is one of the existing threats that is of concern to all countries and institutions in the world," Undersecretary Menéndez said. "Terrorism knows no borders. We cannot confront terrorism alone; we must face it through recognized actions and other actions that must take place within a United Nations framework. Uruguay rejects and repudiates any type of violence or terrorism. Uruguay supports solutions that are reached through international law. Chile and [Uruguay] are of the same opinion on this sort of threat."
Chile chairs CICTE
On March 4th, Chile assumed the chair of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), which was created in 1999 with the primary goal of fostering and promoting cooperation among members of the Organization of American States, especially when it comes to preventing, combating, and eliminating terrorism. During its term as CICTE chair, Chile intends to promote boosting cooperation and development in security throughout the region, according to Chile's Ministry of Foreign Relations.
In February 2015, a bomb exploded in front of a church in Santiago, but no one was injured. However, in September 2014, an explosion on the Metro left 14 wounded and, a few days later, a homeless person died after handling a bomb. Approximately 200 bombs have exploded in the Chilean capital over the last few years, reported Perú's
daily El Comercio
In addition to exchanging their experiences about how their countries can bolster their wars on terrorism, Chile and Uruguay will work together to fight money laundering, which is a precursor to terrorist activities, and human trafficking, which often is linked to organized crime and drug trafficking. “Chile and Uruguay have very porous coasts by virtue of being located on the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans," Undersecretary Menéndez said. "We have a constant flow of information about certain factors that represent a risk to our countries, such as drug trafficking.
Uruguay is not a large drug-producing nation, but narcotraffickers exploit the country's porous borders with Argentina and Brazil. The Port of Montevideo sees numerous containers to smuggle narcotics including cocaine – the main drug trafficked through the country – Uruguayan daily El Observador
Chile, Uruguay fight narco-trafficking
Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs Heraldo Muñoz called upon the international community to take united, pragmatic action to fight drug trafficking while respecting human rights. Muñoz made his remarks during the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the Global Drug Problem. At the meeting's end, Menéndez and Robledo Hoecker specifically mentioned their countries' significant Military participation in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.
“Today we share missions. We are both in Haiti," Undersecretary Menéndez said. "We are trying to participate in the mission that will begin in Colombia, once the peace agreements are signed."
They also discussed the women’s involvement across disciplines in the Armed Forces under different scenarios initiated by each Ministry of Defense, according to the Chilean Office of the Undersecretary of Defense. The Chilean and Uruguayan militaries will work together closely by exchanging intelligence and personnel, in addition to carrying out joint exercises.
“Relations with Chile are at an optimal point, from a defense perspective," Undersecretary Menéndez said. "Our governments are governments that are on the same page from a multilateral point of view and their mutual respect for each country’s internal decisions.
“Thanks to the intimate relationship we have with Chile, we have refurbished a series of combat items which, essentially, are armored personnel transport vehicles. Chile’s defense industry has refurbished these units. In the Air Force, our Hercules planes have been handled by the Chilean Air Force," he added.