I’m Lucky To Be Alive, Says Massa

first_imgBy Dialogo August 03, 2009 Ferrari ace Felipe Massa admitted on Sunday he was lucky to be alive after surviving a 275kph horror crash at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Brazilian was struck by a suspension spring which had worked its way off Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn GP, resulting in Massa crashing his Ferrari into a tyre barrier in qualifying in Budapest. Massa needed emergency surgery on his fractured skull and spent two days in a medically-induced coma. “I know I’m lucky to be alive,” Massa told the News of the World. “I don’t remember anything about the accident but I will race again.” He explained: “When I woke up I didn’t know why I was in hospital, so I was asking ‘why am I here?’ “I was pulling all the tubes and Eduardo, my brother, tried to stop me – so we had a fight.”The accident was so unlucky but I know I’m lucky to be alive. I don’t remember anything of what happened. “It was my race, so when I awoke from the coma I couldn’t believe it when they told me Lewis (Hamilton) had won and Kimi (Raikkonen) was second.” Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher will take over from Massa behind the wheel of the Ferrari at the next race in Valencia on August 23.last_img read more

Venezuela Sends In 15,000 Troops To Colombian Border

first_img Venezuela will send 15,000 troops to its border with Colombia to fight drug trafficking, kidnapping and extortion, a military official said on 2 November. “To bolster the fight against drug trafficking … 15,000 military troops will be deployed to the Colombian-Venezuelan border,” the official said quoted on the state news agency AVN. “There will be additional constant patrolling of all border security bases to control violence and effectively combat groups engaging in drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion and other crimes,” the agency said, quoting General Henry Rangel, head of the Operational Strategic Command which handles border security. The announcement came as leftist President Hugo Chavez welcomed his conservative Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos for talks in Caracas. The neighboring countries resumed bilateral ties in August. Santos’s predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, enraged Chavez by saying leftist Colombian rebels were present inside Venezuelan territory. By Dialogo November 04, 2010 I keep the hope alive that we have lasting peace in our AMERICA – I will say one thing– I have deep concern for the arms race that exists in VENEZUELA – as well COLOMBIA – two countries united in a common dream – – economic and social development. MAY THE PURPOSE OF SIMON BOLIVAR BE GLORIFIED. last_img read more

Telemedicine Offers Great Promise for Soldiers Needing Health Care

first_img In the days following Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake, doctors from the University of Miami set up a tent hospital in Port-au-Prince as well as a telecommunications link to the university’s trauma center. That enabled them to consult in real time with their colleagues in Florida and make sure each quake victim got the best care possible — using nothing more than two devices about the size of a laptop, a satellite phone, a video camera and Internet access. In Argentina, the country’s best children’s health-care provider — the Dr. Juan P. Garrahan Pediatric Hospital in Buenos Aires — uses that same technology to deliver remote support for diagnosis to more than 70 smaller hospitals throughout the country. That alleviates the need for patients to travel across Argentina to receive care. And in the isolated, impoverished Ucayali region of Peru, a new telemedicine program will connect the region’s 23 villages with the main hospital in Pucallpa, 400 kilometers away. What works for quake victims in Haiti and indigenous children in Peru already is working for U.S. soldiers in the field. No need to miss an appointment with the dermatologist because a soldier is deployed in the Iraqi desert or the Amazon jungle — as long as a cell phone is available. That’s the promise and reality of telemedicine. “In a remote location, in war or in peace, access to care can be very difficult, and a treatable rash may become a severe problem,” said Col. Ronald Poropatich, deputy director of the Army’s Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), in Fort Detrick, Md. “Telemedicine bridges the gap.” Last March, Poropatich visited the Central Military Hospital of Peru, accompanied by personnel from the Naval Medical Research Unit (NAMRU-6). The trip was to help assess the feasibility of implementing a national system of telemedicine for Peru’s armed forces. In Peru telemedicine holds great promise for regional hospitals lacking specialists and in remote locations because the system would have its own bandwidth and would be effective in disaster situations. “The potential is great, but we also have to be mindful of the cost,” Poropatich said. “I always recommend starting with small steps, for instance, sharing emails with image attachments, which requires no learning curve.” Starting small and with ingenuity Given the absence of a central system, a group of dermatologists in Latin America decided to put together a Facebook page where they can share images and information. Poropatich points out this allows for consultations without the patient having to move, providing care for the patient and a learning environment for the doctors. Because real-time teleconferencing can be expensive, he recommends countries develop low-cost solutions like this one. In-theater in Iraq and Afghanistan, a dermatological telemedicine consultation prevents unnecessary evacuations. “Each time a soldier gets evacuated to Germany for an outpatient service, there is a three-week turnaround time with the resulting loss of duty,” said Poropatich, who is also chairman of the NATO Telemedicine Expert Team. The remote medical technology addresses the three pillars of health care: cost, quality and access. It also conserves fighting strength and saves time and money for the Pentagon and soldiers themselves. What is telemedicine? Telemedicine is the use of electronic communications to exchange medical information to improve patient care, diagnosis and treatment. It extends the reach of quality medical care to both rural populations and soldiers deployed in battle. Internet access — now commonplace throughout much of the world — has brought an abundance of possibilities few could have imagined only a decade ago. In most of the developing world, and even in the United States, specialty care, second opinions and continuity of care have been luxuries available only to those who live in cities or can afford to travel. The U.S. Department of Defense deals with 10 million healthcare beneficiaries in at least 21 time zones and more than 50 countries. Telemedicine is the answer to many longstanding problems. For centuries, militaries around the world have been burdened by the expense and difficulty of caring for soldiers injured in battle by a bullet or a sudden skin condition. Time is of the essence, but the wrong treatment could mean death. An image emailed thousands of miles away can bring the right diagnosis instantaneously. Two types of telemedicine Telemedicine applications fall basically into two categories: store and forward, and real-time video teleconferencing. As a primary care physician in a small-town clinic, “I send the image of your cardiac ultrasound to a cardiologist and get his diagnosis and recommendations. That’s store and forward,” Poropatich said. At that same clinic, a veteran may need a behavioral health consultation with a specialist, and, just as importantly, he may need regular follow ups. Real-time interactive video teleconferencing can greatly expand the clinic’s services. The use of telemedicine applications is not limited just to provider-to-provider communications and consultations. Also important are the possibilities of patient-to- provider communications as well as the potential to improve patient self-care and compliance with treatment, he said. In the patient-centered care arena, mobile phones hold the key to the next big transformation in telemedicine. Privacy and security concerns As in the civilian realm, the military is concerned with the privacy and security of those records, and the whole system is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPPA) Act of 1996. Encryption guarantees that even if a phone call or text message gets intercepted, the data cannot be deciphered. This requires a dedicated network sending messages to another dedicated network. VERY INTERESTING TO APPLY IT TO REALITY By Dialogo August 19, 2011last_img read more

Great Britain: Coming Soon: Invisible Army Tanks

first_imgBy Dialogo January 01, 2012 Be well prepared Argentinean kids, because now it is true that they are not going to let go of Las Malvinas… with so much technology that the English have, I mean they have to preserve their enclaves they have around the world; is that clear?? Technology that makes tanks invisible is expected to make its debut around 2015. Military researchers in the United Kingdom are working on stealth tanks, a design that incorporates camouflage features. The tanks would have sensors that grab images of the environment and display them on the tanks’ exterior, updated in real time. The special technology, called “e-camouflage,” is part of the Future Protected Vehicle program. It consists of seven new armored vehicle and robot designs intended for dangerous missions, clearing minefields, and rescuing injured servicemembers. Sources: www.armedforces-int.com, www.newstodaynews.comlast_img read more

Organized Crime Seeks to Break the Institutions in Honduras

first_img Organized crime groups and drug cartels seek to break the institution of Honduras in order to extend their illegal operations in Central America, reported the U.S. Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, Lisa Kubiske, in a forum. Honduras, in turn, has responded to the threat by passing several laws, such as one to counter money laundering, one to fight terrorism, and an extradition treaty signed earlier this year with the United States, recognized the diplomatic representative. Together with the Honduran authorities, U.S. citizens “have a commitment to fight against organized crime through interagency cooperation,” she said. The statements were made by Kubiske during a conference titled “New Strategies for the Decommissioning of Transnational Organized Crime Groups” that was sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Honduras’s National Banking and Insurance Commission (CNBS). The conference lasts until August 21. President Porfirio Lobo, who also addressed the meeting, said the United States has accepted “joint but differentiated responsibility” in the fight against crime, in recognition that Central America suffers from the drug trade from South America to the U.S. market. CNBS President Vilma Morales, said that the new strategies to combat crime are focused on the implementation of laws such as the ones for money laundering, the confiscation of goods of illicit origin, and the fight against the finance of terrorism. The conference included hundreds of officials involved in the issues surrounding Honduras, who participated in a training session with U.S. and Colombian instructors including, police, judges, prosecutors, CNBS staff and the Supreme Electoral Court. According to official data, 87 percent of drugs pass through Central America en route to the United States, and violent groups linked to cartels act in the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras). The United States, through the Central American Regional Security Initiative, has committed $361 million to fund the fight against organized crime. By Dialogo August 16, 2012last_img read more

Suspects Detained in Attack Against Colombian Former Minister

first_img Colombian authorities announced on August 28 the capture of the five perpetrators involved in the explosive attack that took place in the month of May, against a former minister, and stated that, although they are not members of the FARC, this guerrilla group remains the main suspect in the attack. One of those arrested is a 16 year old who allegedly placed an explosive in the former Minister Fernando Londono’s armored van, which took the lives of two of his bodyguards and wounded nearly 50 people in Bogotá, reported the National Police Director José Roberto León, in a press release. The five arrested in this operation developed in recent days, formed part of a criminal organization, which was operating out of the city of Cali (southwest), noted León. Colombia’s Attorney General, Eduardo Montealegre, indicated that it still needed to determine and arrest the masterminds of the attack on May 15, against Londono, the Interior Minister (2002-2004) under President Álvaro Uribe. Montealegre, who in June blamed the attack on the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), reiterated that the insurgent group remains the main suspect. The reasons for this hypothesis is “the methodology that was used, which was a sticky (tape) that previously had been used by the FARC; the threats against Londono detected in emails and computers, and the existence of a failed FARC attempt years ago against the former Minister” argued Montealegre. President Juan Manuel Santos initially reported the arrest of seven “common criminals” in the operation, but later corrected that figure to five. Santos announced Monday that his government held talks with the FARC for eventual peace negotiations to end the armed conflict of almost half a century. By Dialogo August 30, 2012last_img read more

PANAMAX 2012 The Next Generation of Defense

first_img Cmdr. Omar Hernández Martínez El Salvador Naval Force During a hypothetical scenario that played out on computer screens at Mayport Naval Station, Florida; Headquarters United States Southern Command, Florida; and Fort Sam Houston, Texas, United States, in August 2012, a violent extremist organization used aircraft to assault the Panama Canal. Simultaneously, fictional terrorists launched cyber attacks to divert and disorient forces protecting the canal and its infrastructure. Their goal: disrupt and cripple the global economy. “Our fictional enemies are using increasingly more modern methods to stop the operation of the Panama Canal,” said Lieutenant Cristian Escala of Panama’s National Air-Naval Service (SENAN). He has participated for seven years in PANAMAX, an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise designed to protect and guarantee safe passage of traffic through the Panama Canal, ensure its neutrality, and respect national sovereignty. While in previous iterations PANAMAX has been a maritime-focused exercise using ships and planes, a new dimension was brought forth in 2012 by executing it solely through virtual exercises. Military officials gave their points of view on PANAMAX 2012. PANAMAX “is a source of pride because I participated in the beginning, and the truth is that we never expected it would grow to this level. So far, it has been a source of pride, of satisfaction and also a reason why we must continue to work to improve this relationship that has been built over time.” Deputy Commissioner Jorge Yanis Panama National Air-Naval Service “I believe that the important part of this [interaction] is sharing experiences, expertise and, above all, finding a common approach [against] this type of threat, because we don’t really know what it will be, or when it will threaten our canal.” Capt. Ronald Muñoz Cedeño Ecuadorean Navy Additionally, this year’s exercise included an increased leadership role taken by all the partner nations. Brazil led the Combined Force Maritime Component Command (CFMCC) for the first time, directing simulations held in Florida. Colombia, for the second time, was in charge of the Combined Force Land Component (CFLCC), held at Fort Sam Houston. Brazilian Rear Admiral Wilson Pereira de Lima Filho stated that he does not see a difference with leadership decisions whether the exercise uses actual ships or computer simulation. And, since the potential threat is not easy to predict, he said that it is important to share information in both ways. “That is fundamental in order to have mutual trust,” he said. Rear Admiral Lima Filho believes PANAMAX 2012 was an opportunity for the participating nations to develop friendships, interoperability and learn from one another. In fact, the slogan he chose in Brazil for CFMCC 2012 was “Unidos pelo mar” (Joined by the Sea). “The sea joins countries,” he said. Cmdr. Feliciano Pérez Carvajal Dominican Republic Navy Lt. Cmdr. Carlos Barreto Paraguayan Navy “Having PANAMAX for several years allows us to interact among countries, so that in the event of a real situation we can act quickly and efficiently in protecting the Panama Canal.” “The Mexican Navy has decided to participate in this type of exercise because it is important to work together with other navies. We learn the way in which other navies work and also show them how we do things. And, it is a great opportunity to establish ties of friendship with the other navies.” Capt. Andrés Salas Peruvian Navy Rear Adm. Wilson Pereira de Lima Filho Brazilian Navy By Dialogo January 01, 2013 Military members from 17 Partner Nations formed a multinational combined task force to share information and assist with the coordination of logistics, communications, intelligence and monitoring. Even though the members of these partner nations consisted of all ranks and came from all the different service components, they shared the common objective of protecting the canal, which accounts for 5 percent of global maritime trade. PANAMAX began in 2003 under the initiative of Panama, Chile and the United States, and exercise participation has grown every year since. The participants in the 2012 edition included more than 600 personnel from Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and the United States. PANAMAX 2012 tested command and control of forces across a wide range of operations, including maritime, air, land, space and cyber. The simulated exercise scenarios provided invaluable training on coalition command and control and combined interoperability — the ability to work together seamlessly. Deputy Commissioner Jorge Yanis, head of the Naval Group of SENAN, highlighted the importance of protecting “one of the great bastions of the world.” Yanis said in addition to cyber attacks, another new scenario at PANAMAX 2012 was responding to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, which would require humanitarian relief. “The experience that we’ve gained during [PANAMAX] has been very interesting. More so, to participate and be part of a multinational force. It’s interesting because we share experiences with military members from other nationalities and speak in two languages, Spanish and English.” “For us it is very important that the operations on the Panama Canal are never interrupted, otherwise our exports would stop. More so, those exports that produce income for our country, and obviously our economy would suffer if we begin to use the sea route around the Southern Cone since the freight costs would become more expensive.” “The fact that we are training and carrying out joint exercises, like PANAMAX, needs to be better disseminated. It sends a positive message to the international community, to the world.” “PANAMAX is a good opportunity for training, for camaraderie among the officers who participate, for the training of the staff that operates the electronic equipment, and for crew members of vessels when it is carried out with ships.” Col. Edgar Ortega Martínez Colombian Army “It has been an excellent experience working in a multinational environment. There are many doctrine aspects that are important to know and to learn how to work with other nations on a particular mission.” “We all have our capabilities, we have our knowledge, our unique characteristics and together in this exercise we can share these lessons, these skills.” Capt. Carlos Alberto Mendoza Rovira Mexican Navy Rear Adm. Julio Leiva Molina Chilean Navy last_img read more

Partner Nations Exchange Knowledge on Working Dog Programs

first_img Even though the MWD programs in Colombia and Honduras are in vastly different stages of their development, the importance of the programs to the security of the region remains the same. And while security and stability in the Central American region remains crucial, West and Killian believe lessons learned from both SMEEs can have a lasting impact on MWD programs in the United States as well. During the month of July, a handful of U.S. Army South Soldiers traveled to Colombia and Honduras to conduct subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) with partner nation soldiers and civilians. While these are not an uncommon form of engagement within Army South’s area of responsibility, the topic of these two proved to be an exception. The focus for each one of these engagements centered on military working dogs, or MWDs. During the two engagements, the focus of each SMEE shifted slightly. While Colombia possesses a more robust MWD program, the Honduran Army is in its early stages of development. Colombian soldiers are working with Honduran MWD handlers to train them on the proper use of the MWDs. In September, there is a plan to send 20 Honduran handlers to Colombia for training. The veterinary working group focused on exchanging classes to create better understanding of each country’s Veterinary Corps and MWD programs. The classes led to discussions on challenges each program faces and points of collaboration. During the trip to Colombia, the Army South contingent chose to highlight the proper care of the working dogs to include the detection and treatment of common diseases among the dogs, specifically Leishmaniasis, a disease caused by protozoan parasites that is transmitted by the bite of certain fly species. Leishmaniasis is a disease that affects MWDs and Soldiers, often leaving permanent scars and potentially impacting force readiness. “The Colombian Military fully understands the value of their working dogs in detecting improvised explosive devises and narcotics,” said Killian, who led the veterinarian SMEE. “There is no piece of equipment that can replace these dogs. So, keeping them healthy is critical and requires a deliberate and robust veterinary team. The Colombian Army has increased the number of veterinarians in uniform, from three to 15, over the last year. This investment in veterinarians will certainly extend the working lifespan of Colombian MWDs.” “These dogs are a force multiplier,” said West. “They can detect and locate substances that we can’t see.” Like in Colombia, an emphasis on the care of the dogs was stressed to the Honduran soldiers in attendance. “Our SMEE with the Hondurans focused on the operational planning and utilization, the organizational structure and certification and training of an MWD program,” said West. “This is important in the implementation of a successful MWD program.” Both groups presented veterinary classes, and discussions geared toward mitigating the impact of Leishmaniasis. In addition, the Colombians learned how to collect tissue samples of a working dog with active Leishmaniasis. This was the first time most of the Colombian veterinarians were shown how to collect samples. “It’s a new program and they are reaching throughout the region for assistance,” said West. “The discussions centered on the prevention and treatment of MWDs diagnosed with diseases specifically Leishmaniasis,” said West. “We also discussed other important topics such as the proper care and treatment of the working dogs while they are deployed.” center_img With the cost and time commitment invested in selecting and training a working dog, the importance of an effective breeding program becomes vital. In the U.S., a dog selected to become an MWD does not start training until approximately 15 months of age, while in Colombia, dogs as young as four months begin their training to become MWDs. The Honduran Army commanders see the importance of a strong MWD program in countering transnational organized crime, said West. “The ability to exchange information and dialogue with both armies will have a lasting effect on both countries’ dog programs,” said West. “We can certainly learn just as much from our partners as they can learn from us.” “The Colombian Army’s breeding program appears to have found the right way to breed dogs to become MWDs,” said West. “They have successfully bred more than 140 dogs with a 100 percent success rate.” “Because the two countries are in different stages of their programs, we chose to center our exchanges based on what was important to each of them,” said Master Sgt. Kirby West, the Army South military working dog program manager. By Dialogo August 30, 2013 Prior to leaving Colombia, the Army South contingent toured one of Colombia’s largest military kennels and received information on Colombia’s MWD breeding program. After leaving Colombia, the Army South team shifted their focus to assist the Honduran Army in their implementation of a brand new MWD program. Honduras began the construction of their first kennel and purchased their first MWDs in May of this year. While they currently only have seven dogs, the Honduran Army hopes to have that number swell to 30 dogs by mid next year. During the SMEE, West and Lt. Col. Jerrod W. Killian, the Army South chief of clinical operations and command veterinarian, worked with 15 veterinarians and two dog handlers from the Colombian Army. This exchange was the first time all 15 Colombian veterinarians were gathered in one area for a class. Currently, the working life of a Colombian MWD is about five years. In the U.S., a working dog can be expected to work up to 10 years. With proper disease detection and care of their MWDs, the Colombian Army is hoping to extend the working life of their approximately 3,500 working dogs. last_img read more

Guatemalan Air Force and U.S. Southern Command Cooperate to Promote Safe Aviation

first_imgBy Dialogo February 11, 2015 The training was conducted by three GAF doctors and seven Military physicians from SOUTHCOM who discussed ways to minimize the role of human error in aviation mishaps. “The goal of the conference was to bring the doctors closer to the flying and the pilots closer to the medicine,” said Col. Salazar Martínez. “The priority is to conduct operations safely and minimize the involvement of human factors in aviation accidents.” This will help the GAF “go out and conduct rescue, anti-drug, trafficking, or security missions,” Salazar Martínez said. The FAG will eventually certify Military pilots The capacity to self-certify is “essential,” according to Armando Rodríguez Luna, a security analyst from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). “Guatemala will be a regional training center for aerospace medicine in Central America,” Salazar Martínez said. During the four-day course, from January 12-15, specialists in aviation medicine and crews trained in Aerospace Medicine discussed the best methods to ensure aviation safety, according to the website of the Guatemalan Air Force (GAF). Aerospace medicine studies human diseases and disorders that are associated with flying, and the United States is at the forefront of aerospace medicine. The conference was held at the GAF’s La Aurora Central Air Command. About 60 pilots and 40 doctors, paramedics, and rescue personnel participated in the seminar, according Colonel Luis Alfredo Salazar Martínez, director of the GAF Hospital. The Guatemalan Air Force and a medical team from the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) recently co-conducted the Aerospace Medicine Conference in order to foster safe aviation during medical emergencies in Guatemala. Improving its instruction protocols is part of Guatemala’s effort to “develop its Military capacities, coupled with a series of medium and long-term investments in infrastructure and, of course, in team-building, which obviously must be accompanied with training and coaching,” according to Rodríguez Luna. “The Aerospace Medicine conference exceeded expectations,” he stated. “People were very excited. The goals set by the GAF and the Southern Command went above and beyond.” The training was conducted by three GAF doctors and seven Military physicians from SOUTHCOM who discussed ways to minimize the role of human error in aviation mishaps. “The goal of the conference was to bring the doctors closer to the flying and the pilots closer to the medicine,” said Col. Salazar Martínez. “The priority is to conduct operations safely and minimize the involvement of human factors in aviation accidents.” The FAG will eventually certify Military pilots The capacity to self-certify is “essential,” according to Armando Rodríguez Luna, a security analyst from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Medical personnel at the conference covered a wide array of topics, such as how stress affects pilots and the impact of oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) on aviators during flight. “For the last two years we have had the support of the Southern Command in training both physicians and pilots,” Salazar Martinez said. “To continue the certification process for our pilots, the Southern Command will donate equipment to conduct electrocardiograms, audiograms, and optometry analyses.” The event was an Air Forces South (AFSOUTH) initiative, which is a SOUTHCOM component, in conjunction with the Arkansas National Guard within the framework of the State Partnership Program between Guatemala and Arkansas to further Guatemala’s efforts to develop a first class aerospace medicine program, according to U.S. Air Force Colonel Jimmie D. Bailey, II, Command Surgeon, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH). During the four-day course, from January 12-15, specialists in aviation medicine and crews trained in Aerospace Medicine discussed the best methods to ensure aviation safety, according to the website of the Guatemalan Air Force (GAF). Aerospace medicine studies human diseases and disorders that are associated with flying, and the United States is at the forefront of aerospace medicine. The first two aerospace medicine conferences were held in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The conferences are regulated by the Civil Aviation Law of Guatemala, and the primary goal of the seminars is to prepare pilots, doctors, and crews to make medical assistance decisions, according to the FAG. In cooperation with SOUTHCOM, Guatemala is strengthening its training programs, which will help the Military fight organized crime, including international drug traffickers. The first two aerospace medicine conferences were held in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The conferences are regulated by the Civil Aviation Law of Guatemala, and the primary goal of the seminars is to prepare pilots, doctors, and crews to make medical assistance decisions, according to the FAG. The event was an Air Forces South (AFSOUTH) initiative, which is a SOUTHCOM component, in conjunction with the Arkansas National Guard within the framework of the State Partnership Program between Guatemala and Arkansas to further Guatemala’s efforts to develop a first class aerospace medicine program, according to U.S. Air Force Colonel Jimmie D. Bailey, II, Command Surgeon, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH). The Guatemalan Air Force and a medical team from the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) recently co-conducted the Aerospace Medicine Conference in order to foster safe aviation during medical emergencies in Guatemala. “For the last two years we have had the support of the Southern Command in training both physicians and pilots,” Salazar Martinez said. “To continue the certification process for our pilots, the Southern Command will donate equipment to conduct electrocardiograms, audiograms, and optometry analyses.” Eventually, Guatemala could help train the Air Forces of other countries. The Guatemalan Military Command of the Humanitarian Rescue Unit conducted a demonstration showing how the Armed Forces train to make emergency air transports. The Guatemalan Military Command of the Humanitarian Rescue Unit conducted a demonstration showing how the Armed Forces train to make emergency air transports. Ongoing medical education The recent conference is an example of ongoing cooperation between the FAG and SOUTHCOM. It was the third such gathering, and the first to which several civilian government institutions and emergency workers attended, including the country’s General Directorate of Civil Aviation, the Disaster Reduction Coordinating Agency, as well as civilian pilots and firefighters. “The Aerospace Medicine conference exceeded expectations,” he stated. “People were very excited. The goals set by the GAF and the Southern Command went above and beyond.” The FAG’s clinics conduct dental, optometry, audiometry, and general flight exams on Guatemalan Military pilots. Currently, civilian physicians certify whether military pilots are fit to fly. Eventually, the GAF will certify its own pilots. Improving its instruction protocols is part of Guatemala’s effort to “develop its Military capacities, coupled with a series of medium and long-term investments in infrastructure and, of course, in team-building, which obviously must be accompanied with training and coaching,” according to Rodríguez Luna. The FAG’s clinics conduct dental, optometry, audiometry, and general flight exams on Guatemalan Military pilots. Currently, civilian physicians certify whether military pilots are fit to fly. Eventually, the GAF will certify its own pilots. Medical personnel at the conference covered a wide array of topics, such as how stress affects pilots and the impact of oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) on aviators during flight. “Guatemala will be a regional training center for aerospace medicine in Central America,” Salazar Martínez said. Ongoing medical education The recent conference is an example of ongoing cooperation between the FAG and SOUTHCOM. It was the third such gathering, and the first to which several civilian government institutions and emergency workers attended, including the country’s General Directorate of Civil Aviation, the Disaster Reduction Coordinating Agency, as well as civilian pilots and firefighters. The conference was held at the GAF’s La Aurora Central Air Command. About 60 pilots and 40 doctors, paramedics, and rescue personnel participated in the seminar, according Colonel Luis Alfredo Salazar Martínez, director of the GAF Hospital. This will help the GAF “go out and conduct rescue, anti-drug, trafficking, or security missions,” Salazar Martínez said. FAG has 1,300 Troops serving in three Air Commands or Regions, according to the blog Orden de Batalla. Eventually, Guatemala could help train the Air Forces of other countries. In cooperation with SOUTHCOM, Guatemala is strengthening its training programs, which will help the Military fight organized crime, including international drug traffickers. FAG has 1,300 Troops serving in three Air Commands or Regions, according to the blog Orden de Batalla. last_img read more

Peru Ready for Unexpected Cold Snap

first_imgBy Gonzalo Silva Infante/Diálogo June 21, 2017 In Peru, “friaje” is a weather phenomenon that involves a combination of unseasonable low temperatures, frost, snow, and hail, accompanied by strong winds. Each year, in winter — which runs from May to August — the country suffers from the effects of these low temperatures, which can drop to -10° Celsius, causing respiratory illnesses and even death. Faced with this climatic phenomenon, the government each year develops a prevention plan to mitigate the effects through multisector actions that include food, shelter, housing, productive development, health, education, transportation, and electrification. This year, aid is being extended to 242 districts in 16 regions across Peru. The innovation in the 2017 plan for coping with the climate effects has to do with the inclusion of the Ministry of Defense(MINDEF, per its Spanish acronym), through the Armed Forces of Peru, in preventive operations, when previously they played only a responsive role. That’s why the National Emergency Operations Center(COEN, per its Spanish acronym), is in charge of conducting these operations. “The ‘2017 Multi-Sector Plan for Frost and Friaje’ was developed on February 16th by the Presidential Council of Ministers, with data from the National Center for Disaster Prevention, which sets risk indicators, and with technical information from the National Meteorological and Hydrology Service, to identify the sectors affected,” Brigadier General Jorge Chávez Cresta, a spokesperson for COEN, explained to Diálogo. “We would like to keep our work from being an improvised operation. That’s why it was stated that the Armed Forces should take part, and be immersed in the preventive planning, so they will be better prepared for the response effort,” Brig. Gen. Chávez said. Until now, MINDEF had not been included but based on the successful experience the Armed Forces had during the disasters caused by the Coastal El Niño phenomenon, the ministry has been added to the plan. The objective is to reduce the mortality rate to zero. Last year, it claimed the lives of 69 victims. “During Coastal El Niño, the military’s participation was quite helpful to us. We have gained a lot of experience on how to assist and work with the authorities so they can do a more productive and efficient job, and also on how we can work with the people themselves, integrating ourselves into the process more,” confirmed Colonel Miguel Jiménez Montenegro, head of the Department of Government Support for the 2nd Division of the Peruvian Army. Aspects of the work Armed Forces participation adheres to the three main functions related to strategic planning and deployment. “We have to have helicopters located in strategic regions so that we can assist with evacuations and provide other aid if the temperature drops even lower,” Brig. Gen. Chávez explained. For now, these aircraft have been made available in the regions of Arequipa, Cusco, Puno, and Tacna, where the freezes occur, and in Ucayali and Madre de Dios, where the “friajes” have happened. Secondly, personnel is sought for the potential emergency areas, so the response can be immediate. Through their brigades and their Navy and Air Force units, they must deploy military personnel to the various locations where there is a possibility that the temperature might fall into an emergency range, which could impact the population. “These sectors are going to provide their communication systems so that everyone has a standardized arrangement. Also, they are providing us reports on their vehicles so we know which ones each area has. That way, when a helicopter cannot enter a zone where the temperature has fallen dramatically, we have ambulances and military vehicles at those locations so we can proceed with the evacuation,” Brig. Gen. Chávez said. Finally, the Ministry of Housing, through the Tambos National Program, will be in charge of storing and distributing the aid. “Tambos” are facilities that serve as headquarters for providing support and distributing aid. They are staffed with doctors, nurses, police, and military service members. They maintain communication through an information system that is unique to these facilities, as all of them have internet access. The government has built nearly 280 tambos across the nation, of which 69 have been chosen for this area. Vocation and professionalism “Our duty in these emergency procedures has not only been as manual labor but has also stemmed from our professional role having a specialization in land, sea, and air operations to save lives. That is what we have done. That is our job, and it always will be,” Brig. Gen. Chávez noted. “We don’t want to end up as worker bees. Quite the opposite, we want to show that we are the Armed Forces of Peru, a modern and professional military that is here to assist you when you need us, and in a very special way, in this case, during disasters.” “We feel comfortable, happy, and useful not so much from the admiration we get but because we are indispensable for the Peruvian people. And more importantly, we are now, and when the time comes, we will be, supporting the people — wherever they may be — through our service vocation, which is what each person who enters the Armed Forces of Peru has,” Col. Jiménez said.last_img read more