Top US Military Official Visits Quake-Hit Haiti

first_imgBy Dialogo March 01, 2010 The top military adviser to US President Barack Obama visited Haiti on Friday to evaluate the situation more than six weeks after a massive earthquake devastated much of the country. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, was expected to leave the country later in the day, said David Johnson, a US defense spokesman in Haiti. “It’s a chance for him to come out and get his boots on the ground and visit with his troops,” said Johnson, who could not give details on Mullen’s schedule. “He’ll also get a brief on … where we are right now and maybe what it looks like down the road.” It is Mullen’s first visit to the Caribbean country since the quake. The United States has reduced its troop numbers in and off the coast of Haiti by about half from more than 20,000 just after the catastrophe. US officials have said they expect to further reduce numbers as aid operations gather pace. More than 200,000 people were killed in the January 12 earthquake, which also left some 1.2 million people homeless.last_img read more

South American Defense Leaders Gather in Lima for Defense Conference

first_imgBy Dialogo August 03, 2010 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) leaders are meeting with senior South American security officials Aug. 2-4 for the second annual South American Defense Chief’s conference which aims to improve security cooperation in the region. This year’s South American Defense Chiefs Conference, co-hosted by the Armed Forces of Peru and SOUTHCOM is being held in Lima, Peru. The conference’s focus is on military support to humanitarian assistance and disaster response along with security issues and threats and the way forward as the United States and regional partner nations work to better address those threats. One of the conference’s main objectives is to encourage participants in frank and candid dialogue among on security issues and examine areas of mutual interest for collaboration and cooperation. Last year’s conference, held in Cartagena, Colombia focused on the future challenges and missions for South American forces. Previously, these security conferences were split into two regions; ANDSEC (Andean Ridge Security Conference) featuring the countries from the Andean Ridge, and SOUTHDEC (Southern Cone Defense Conference) which featured countries from the Southern Cone. The conference participants are security leaders from 8 nations and representatives from various regional organizations including the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB); the Inter-American Defense College (IADC); and the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS). Mexico and Panama were invited as observers for this year’s conference.last_img read more

Colombia, Peru, and Brazil Agree on Joint Military Actions on the Border

first_imgBy Dialogo October 25, 2010 Colombia, Peru and Brazil have decided to carry out joint operations against drug traffickers and guerrillas in their shared border in the Amazon – operations that have been undertaken before on a bilateral basis. “We have decided that in the future, we will carry out three-way operations to fight drug trafficking and terrorism on our shared border,” said Gen. Francisco Contreras, chair of the joint chiefs of staff of the Peruvian armed forces, at the conclusion of a meeting with his counterparts Edgar Celi (Colombia) and Jose Carlos de Nardi (Brazil) in the Colombian border town of Leticia. According to Contreras, such operations have already been carried out with good results, but only bilaterally, Colombia with Peru and Colombia with Brazil. During the four-hour meeting held on 21 October, the military commanders fleshed out the details of mechanisms for border cooperation and strengthened the ties among the armed forces of the three countries, the Brazilian general de Nardi maintained. The Colombian admiral Celi emphasized that at the meeting “cooperation mechanisms to protect the border region were set in place, and communication channels were established to close the three-way border to crime and drug trafficking.” In addition, he stressed that from now on, “the exchange of information and of training and skills development for the members of the armed forces of the three countries” will play a larger role. “Beyond increasing our footprint in the region, it’s a matter of establishing more effective mechanisms for cooperation and work,” he said. According to military sources, the three countries have assigned nearly 3,000 military personnel to the Amazonian border region, of which the largest component belongs to Colombia with around 1,600, followed by Peru with nearly 1,000 and Brazil with around 450.last_img read more

Panamá, U.S. Sign Air Security Agreement

first_img Varela visits U.S. By Dialogo December 03, 2010 As a reader of the aspects of security I find this Alliance a positive one as it offers travelers more confidence in the use of this form of transport and more in the case of the Airline Copa. Panamá and the United States signed an agreement Nov. 29 to work closely together in securing the international aviation system against terrorism and organized crime. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed during a visit to Panamá by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. “The security of the international aviation system relies on close cooperation and global information sharing,” Napolitano said. “This MOU underscores the shared commitment of the United States and Panamá to enhance our mutual security and secure air travel through enhanced information sharing and cooperation.” Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli and Vice President Juan Carlos Varela met with Napolitano during her visit and took part in the signing ceremony. Napolitano also met with representatives from several other Central American nations to discuss the United States’ continued collaboration with the region’s governments to bolster aviation security and combat multinational threats. Juan Carlos Varela, who in addition to his duties as vice president also serves as Panamá’s foreign minister, said in a statement that the agreement would improve security in airports and at the borders of both countries. “This allows us, as a country, to prevent our airports and airlines from being used for organized crimes,” Varela said at the end of the ceremony. “All of the information agencies from both governments will put information into a database, not just about drug trafficking, but also about human trafficking, terrorism and all kinds of crimes.” Varela said the agreement would allow for greater access to information about organized crimes. The agreement also is timely, as Panamá’s Tocumen airport is undergoing an expansion that will increase capacity by more than 50 percent by mid 2011. There also is a new airport in the works for the city of Colon and the David airport is being expanded. While other specifics of the security agreement between the two nations were not made public, the Department of Homeland Security has bolstered security at airports throughout the United States by deploying law enforcement personnel, behavior detection officers, air marshals, and explosives detection canine teams. The department also is expediting the deployment of new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) units to help detect metallic and non-metallic explosives and implementing enhanced security measures for all air carriers with international flights to the United States. The AIT units are the so-called “body scanners” that recently met with controversy in the American media when some travel groups threatened to boycott the machines during the busy U.S. Thanksgiving holiday travel season. The protests, however, never materialized and numerous polls have shown a large majority of Americans support use of the scanners and other security measures. Panamá’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on its website that the agreement underscores the “efforts of the governments of presidents Ricardo Martinelli and Barack Obama to fight drug trafficking and organized crime in all its forms and manifestations.” It goes on to say that specific steps to implement the initiative will be developed through an additional “Operational Protocol.” In addition to President Martinelli, Vice President Varela and Secretary Napolitano, the signing ceremony was attended by Minister of the Presidency Demetrio Papadimitriu; Security Minister José Raúl Mulino; Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance Frank De Lima; Ambassador of Panamá in the United States, Jaime Alemán; the U.S. Ambassador in Panama, Phyllis Powers; the Director of the National Police Gustavo Pérez; and Director of Civil Aviation Rafael Barcenas. center_img Vice President Varela traveled to Washington DC shortly after the signing ceremony. During an official visit to the U.S. Capital, Varela is scheduled to meet with senior administration officials and members of Congress in order to address issues of common concern, including free trade, tax information exchanges and regional security issues, according to a spokesman with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Varela also took part in a ceremony Nov. 30 where Panamá’s Copa Airlines signed a sales agreement with Boeing for 22 new 737-800 airliners. The company had recently announced the lease of 10 of the aircraft to COPA, with five to be delivered in 2011 and five in 2012. “We thank Copa Airlines for this significant order and are very proud to partner with one of the most successful airlines in the industry,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Copa’s exceptional business model, ideal geographic position and modern and efficient fleet will continue to drive its leadership in the Latin American aviation market.” Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa also attended the ceremony in Washington. “These 22 firm aircraft plus 10 options, which deliver between 2015 and 2018, are an integral part of our medium term growth plan,” he said. “This is the largest aircraft order in Copa’s history, which is a reflection not only of our confidence in the future of Latin America and Panamá, but also of our successful business model, which has made our Hub of the America’s the best connecting point for intra-Latin America travel.” The 22 airplanes are valued at approximately $1.7 billion at list prices and nearly double Copa’s existing Next-Generation 737 fleet. The order is the largest new aircraft order in Copa Airlines’ history and is part of the airlines’ plan to continue to grow its fleet to meet market demands for new-generation, more fuel-efficient airplanes, the company said in a news release. The new airplanes will benefit from performance improvements expected to result in a 2 percent reduction in fuel consumption through a combination of airframe and engine improvements. Operating out of the “Hub of the Americas” in Panamá City, Copa provides service to 46 destinations in 24 countries. In the past two years, Copa has purchased 37 next generation 737-800s new from Boeing and entered into leasing agreements for an additional 10.last_img read more

Guatemala to Create Battalion against Crime along Mexican Border

first_img The military battalion will operate in San Marcos, one of the four Guatemalan departments located along the 900-km border with Mexico. “We’re trying to aim for what could be called a mobilized unit, a kind of mobilized battalion, and right now, we’re looking at the elements that could be drawn on to make up this unit, but we would expect that this would get off the ground before July,” stated president Pérez. According to the Guatemalan president, each of the vehicles will transport around four or five troops with “considerable firepower and immediate response” in the event of attacks by organized-crime groups. The measure comes in response to a request by the mayors of San Marcos to declare a state of emergency in that area, in view of the boom in drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal immigration, and weapons trafficking, among other things. “This is a joint task that we would be doing with the United States. They would be providing the vehicles, some armored, others not, but mobilized in three or four units in order to be able to keep an eye on all the routes and areas along the border” with Mexico, the president explained at a press conference. center_img President Otto Pérez announced on 10 April, Guatemala will create an elite military battalion with U.S. support and supplies of armored vehicles, to combat drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime along its shared border with Mexico. The unit will also have to patrol along Guatemala’s Pacific Coast near the border with Mexico, he specified. By Dialogo April 12, 2012last_img read more

Olympics: Colombians to watch in London

first_img CALI, Colombia – Keep an eye on these Colombian athletes competing in London: Yuri Alvear, Jamundí, judo: Alvear, 26, will compete in her second Olympics. In Beijing, 2008, she finished seventh in the 70-kilogram (154-pound) class. She won bronze medals in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara; in Buenos Aires in 2009 and Montreal 2007. She won gold at the 2010 Medellín South American Games. María Luis Calle, Medellín, cycling: Calle, 43, will participate in her fourth Olympics. She already won a bronze medal at the point trials during the 2004 Athens Games. She will participate in the omnium and individual time trials in the 29-kilometer (18-mile) race. Juan Esteban Arango, Medellín, cycling: Arango, 26, won the omnium gold medal at the World Track Championship in London last February. In addition, he won gold medals in the 2011 Pan American Games (omnium and team pursuit) at the 2010 Central American Games (madison, omnium, individual and team pursuits) and in the Medellín South American Games (individual and team pursuits). In London, Arango will also participate in the individual and team pursuits. Luis Fernando López, Pasto, racewalking: López, a 44-year-old police officer, will compete in the 20-kilometer (12.4 mile) race. He took fifth at the 2009 Berlin World Championship and a bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last year. Mariana Pajón, Medellín, BMX: Pajón, 20, will carry the Colombian flag at the Opening Ceremony. The BMX specialist comes from a family of athletes. Her father raced cars and her brother races karts. Last year, she won the 2011 World Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark. She also holds five UCI world titles. Jackeline Rentería, Cali, wrestling: Rentería, 26, won bronze in Beijing in 2008 in the 55-kilogram (121-pound) class. She won the gold medal at the Finland Pre-Olympic Wrestling Tournament in May. By Dialogo July 26, 2012last_img read more

Military Forces from around the World Assist Ecuador in Earthquake Recovery

first_imgBy Dialogo April 26, 2016 Hours after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Ecuador on April 16th, leaving more than 650 dead and over 16,000 wounded, countries from around the world instructed their security forces to help rescue survivors, deliver humanitarian aid, and remove bodies lying in the rubble. In most cases, aid arrived on military planes from nearby countries, such as Peru and Colombia, and countries as far away as Spain, and in other cases the assistance arrived by sea aboard naval vessels. Peru, Ecuador’s neighbor to the south, has already provided 61 tons of humanitarian aid. The Air Force of Peru (FAP) used Hercules and Spartan aircraft from the Military Air Group No. 8 to ship the aid, while the Peruvian Navy also sent the vessel Tacna, its largest naval logistical support unit. The BAP Tacna is endowed with multiple capabilities, such as the ability to supply water and fuel to remote areas, carry up to 11,000 tons of supplies, and operate at a range of up to 30 days. Peru also provided Ecuador with three military helicopters that were assigned to the more isolated areas of the country. The assistance from Colombia, Ecuador’s neighbor to the north, was commanded personally by President Juan Manuel Santos, who landed at the port city of Manta, one of the cities most affected by the earthquake, on April 23rd, together with approximately 25 tons of humanitarian aid brought in by four flights and two ships with food and water. “[We want] to tell the Ecuadorean people [that] the Colombian people are here, ready to help in any way that we can. This help is only the tip of the iceberg… we will do what they ask of us and what we can do ourselves. It is in these difficult times when the true friends show themselves; and the Colombian people and the Ecuadorean people are more than just friends; we are brothers, which is why we are here,” Pres. Santos said on his arrival. “[Ecuador’s] corps of engineers are here working hard and have conducted surveys of critical areas, the overall infrastructure, and the current conditions,” Ecuadorean Rear Admiral Rafael Poveda, commander of the Naval Infantry, who is in charge of the deployment of military forces during the earthquake emergency, said in an interview with Diálogo. “The complementary assistance that the international teams provided us was very good; [they have been] very professional, and the teams came from different countries, such as Colombia, Peru, Venezuela,” said Rear Admiral Poveda. “A significant delegation also came from Mexico, as well as Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, France, Spain, and Russia. They have done an outstanding job.” World response Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, meanwhile, ordered the activation of the “Protocol for the Delivery of Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Services”, sending a Federal Police Boeing 727 to Ecuador with a contingent comprising members of the Navy, Army, Federal Police, Mexican Red Cross, and Civil Protection Service. The Argentine government sent a Hercules C-130 with 21 Air Force service members who were authorized to participate in the tasks of logistics and the supply of equipment for the identification of bodies. Argentina also sent tents, water purification tablets, blankets, basic care medicines, hygiene kits, and kitchen sets. The Bolivian Air Force also used a Hercules C-130 to send humanitarian aid consisting of 3,000 liters of water, a half ton of medicine, and 50 search and rescue specialists from the SAR-FAB group, accompanied by a trained dog to search for survivors caught in the rubble. El Salvador sent a group of 25 rescuers from the National Fire Department, the Police, the Red Cross, and three other Salvadoran first responder units. Chile sent 49 specialists from the Search and Rescue Unit of the Fire Department of Chile to aid the affected population in Ecuador. It also sent six tons of equipment needed for search and rescue operations to find people trapped in the rubble. Likewise, Spain sent an Air Force Airbus aircraft with 50 members of the Military Emergency Unit, rescue dogs, and autonomous lighting material. France deployed 64 civil rescue specialists and more than 30 specialized Soldiers for water purification projects. For their part, South Korea, Norway, and the Netherlands announced that they would be sending funds to help with the Ecuadorian emergency. Close coordination In addition to the formal protocols between the Foreign Ministry of Ecuador and their colleagues in other countries, Ecuador has assigned a military coordinator to direct the work of the various delegations that have arrived in the country with humanitarian aid, rescue specialists, and demolition equipment. “There is ongoing coordination between the foreign ministries of these countries. There are already established protocols, and as a result of those protocols they can enter our country depending on the needs that we have,” explained Rear Adm. Poveda. “When the teams come in, there has been a military coordinator who directs the teams to the disaster areas that need the help of rescuers. That has been the method. There has been an ongoing rotation of staff based on the work being carried out. That control has been carried out by the Armed Forces.” “After the [rescue] stage, which is almost complete, we move on to the next stage, which is related to the implementation of heavy equipment, focused on debris removal and controlled demolition,” concluded Rear Adm. Poveda. Carolina Loza contributed to this story from Quito, Ecuador.last_img read more

Brazilian Armed Forces and Police Perform Combined Operation in Rio de Janeiro

first_imgBy Andréa Barretto/Diálogo June 27, 2018 The state of Rio de Janeiro is under federal intervention since February 2018, with Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) General Walter Souza Braga Netto as its commander. The measure is in response to increasing violence in the state’s inland cities, and in the state capital of Rio de Janeiro, home of the country’s top drug and arms traffickers. After a series of high-profile missions against criminals, the operation escalated on June 7th, with the largest number of troops since the intervention began. More than 5,000 men, including 4,600 service members and 760 police officers, deployed to six strategic locations in the western zone of Rio de Janeiro. Units used helicopters and Urutu and Guarani armored vehicles to surround the region home to around 200,000 people, including armed traffickers and gangs. “We anticipate this operation will last a little longer than normal,” said EB Colonel Carlos Frederico Gomes Cinelli, spokesperson for the Federal Intervention Office. The main focus of this intervention is to weaken the Comando Vermelho faction and for the 18th Military Police Battalion to retake control of security in the favela known as Cidade de Deus. Comando Vermelho is one of the biggest Brazilian organized crime groups, controlling a network that extends through several states, from Rio de Janeiro to Amazonas. While some police and military teams take over the streets of those communities, others block potential criminal escape routes. At the same time, the Civil Police checks criminal records of favela residents and executes court orders. The 4,600 service members deployed in this operation rotate in groups, Col. Cinelli explained. “The teams [of service members] include all necessary logistics, such as reservists changing shifts or on leave, so the troops are fresh at the beginning of each rotation. So, 4,600 is the sum of several steps in this operation.” Joint maneuvers The operation under way in western Rio de Janeiro was coordinated with another security operation in the southern zone, on June 9th, where Rocinha is located. The Armed Forces occupied the favela—known for competing criminal factions of drug traffickers—for a week in 2017, due to fierce confrontations between enemy groups. The Federal Police joined the operation on June 9th—the first time since the intervention began. The agents’ mission was to execute federal warrants. “Our objective was to provide temporary support to the [Public] Security Office through the execution of outstanding warrants. There were confrontations when we arrived, and one of the detainees was injured. But no civilians or police were injured. We arrested 16 people, including the member of an important criminal faction,” Col. Cinelli said. The state’s service members and police officers spread across Rocinha and three other communities in the southern zone, just like in the west, to arrest wanted individuals, clear routes cut off by criminals, and search pedestrians and vehicles. The operation in the southern zone lasted just one day. The operation in western Rio de Janeiro will continue indefinitely, with an increase in social programs for residents in local communities. “We are past the stabilization phase, and now services are required,” Col. Cinelli said. On June 9th, the Federal Intervention Office, in partnership with public institutions, provided services such as medical and dental care, document issuance, job resources, and legal advice. Around 11,000 people benefited from the services. Constant combat The large-scale operation of the Armed Forces and security forces is the second in western Rio de Janeiro in less than a month. On May 18th, close to 3,500 men completed missions in seven favelas in that area. Service members and police surrounded the area and removed barricades blocking access to some sections of the favelas. According to The Public Affairs Office of the Eastern Military Command, authorities also carried out random searches of people and vehicles. On May 19th, day two of the operation, the top drug trafficker from the Barão community, known as Da Russa, wanted for two years, was killed in a confrontation with military police. Since the federal intervention began in February, the Armed Forces carried out a total of 51 operations in the state of Rio de Janeiro, most with police support. In addition to arresting criminal suspects, authorities seized 185 rifles, weapons, and drugs during the operations.last_img read more

The Role of the Brazilian Armed Forces in Support of Venezuelan Refugees

first_imgBy Rodney Lisboa* June 20, 2019 Although the Venezuelan migration flow into Brazil is significantly less than in other countries, the increasing entry of Venezuelan refugees causes a direct social and economic impact on the government of Roraima, which has limited resources to manage such a high number of immigrants. Operation Shelter Within this context, the Ministry of Defense, in collaboration with the United Nations and in partnership with different government agencies and civil society entities, created Operation Shelter. The operation carries out distinct activities and responds to emergencies to meet 10 priority areas: social protection and health care; promotion of educational activities; professional qualification and training; guaranteeing human rights ; protection for women, children, teenagers, the elderly, the disabled, indigenous populations, and traditional communities; infrastructure and sanitation supply; public safety and border control strengthening; logistics and distribution of supplies; mobility, distribution within the national territory and relocation support. Based on the above, the Brazilian Armed Forces put into action their well known experience in civil and social operations, to conduct support and humanitarian aid operations to help Venezuelan refugees, and promote the control and organization of immigrants entering the border. A contingent of about 600 service members from the Army, Navy, and Air Force leads the Armed Forces’ tasks, providing support to nearly 8,500 people staying in the shelters built in the cities of Boa Vista (state capital) and Pacaraima (near the border with Venezuela). An estimated 180,000 Venezuelans have crossed the Venezuela-Brazil border since 2017. Responsibilities of the Armed Forces As part of Operation Shelter, the Armed Forces are tasked with the following responsibilities: to provide support for logistics and humanitarian transportation, in addition to the mobility and relocation of Venezuelan immigrants to different Brazilian states (Air Force); to promote emergency assistance to shelter Venezuelan people in vulnerable situations, by planning and providing basic health services, urgent medical services, laboratory exams, zoonosis control, as well as operations to ensure food safety (Army and Navy); to conduct infrastructure work, organize the setup of tents for shelters, and ensure public safety and increase border control (Army). The government of Jair Bolsonaro, along with 13 other countries (Lima Group), does not recognize Maduro as the leader of the Venezuelan government, due to the worsening crisis in Venezuela and the controversial electoral process that reelected Nicolás Maduro. The Brazilian government signaled the need to increase funds for the military operation carried out in Roraima, due to the scale and complexity of the operation, as well as the position Brazil took regarding the current situation in Venezuela. The deterioration of democracy and the political and economic failure of Chavism (leftist ideology associated with Hugo Chávez), created a serious social and humanitarian crisis for Venezuelans, which increased crime levels and heightened feelings of insecurity. The growing flow of Venezuelan migrants, mainly to South America and the Caribbean, is a direct result of this shortage and lack of security. * Rodney Lisboa is a military historian with a Master of Maritime Studies from the Brazilian Navy War College.last_img read more

Venezuela: Parliamentary Elections Move Forward Despite International Pressure

first_imgBy Diálogo November 05, 2020 The Nicolás Maduro regime insists on holding parliamentary elections on December 6, despite pressure from the international community to postpone them, in addition to persistent uncertainty about the logistic viability of conducting the voting.According to the former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, Milos Alcalay, Maduro’s purpose is “to destroy the legitimate National Assembly [AN]” and remove Juan Guaidó from the presidency of that institution.Guaidó maintains his position not to participate in the parliamentary elections, which he describes as fraudulent due to the illegitimate appointment of National Electoral Council (CNE, in Spanish) officials — something that fell under the AN — and the unconstitutional 66 percent increase in parliamentary seats, among other electoral irregularities. “To participate in an electoral fraud is to legitimize the dictatorship. For a free and democratic process to exist, it requires […] conditions that are not in place today in Venezuela,” Guaidó told the nongovernmental organization Transparencia Venezuela.Sanctions and negotiationsOn September 4, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned officials of the Maduro regime for undermining the democratic order in Venezuela and interfering in the electoral process in an attempt to prevent free and fair parliamentary elections from taking place in December.“An unfair and unfree parliamentary election will only deepen Venezuela’s crisis. All those who seek to deprive Venezuelans of a democratic future should consider themselves on notice — the U.S. will stand firm against authoritarianism,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter.The sanctioned individuals include Reinaldo Enrique Muñoz Pedroza, the country’s attorney general; as well as Indira Maira Alfonzo Izaguirre and José Luis Gutiérrez Parra, both CNE officials.Subsequently, the Department of the Treasury sanctioned five political leaders on September 20 for taking part in a scheme to rig the December parliamentary elections by “placing control of Venezuela’s opposition parties in the hands of politicians affiliated with Nicolás Maduro’s regime, undermining any credible opposition challenge to that regime,” the institution said in a statement.For its part, the European Union (EU) sent a diplomatic mission to Caracas in late September in an attempt to postpone the elections. However, it did not achieve its goal.The Maduro regime’s decision “only serves to worsen the political situation in Venezuela,” Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said before the European Parliament.“The EU cannot even consider sending an election observer mission,” he said.For Roberto Abdul, a representative of the civil organization Súmate, which monitors Venezuelan elections, the risks of conducting an electoral campaign and voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic are enormous. In addition, due to the quarantine, the electoral schedule was delayed.One of the most sensitive issues relates to voting machines. After a fire in the CNE warehouses in March, at least two-thirds of the machines were rendered unusable. The regime announced that the import of 15,000 machines, with an unknown voting system, is underway.“There is no certainty at all. The [CNE] officials themselves have shown concerns about the process going forward,” Abdul said.last_img read more