Ricky Martin Visits Port-au-Prince Neighborhoods Affected By The Earthquake

first_imgBy Dialogo January 20, 2010 Port-au-Prince, 19 January (EFE).- Singer Ricky Martin traveled to Port-au-Prince today to visit the areas affected by last Tuesday’s earthquake, a catastrophe that he characterized as a “living nightmare,” the organization Habitat for Humanity International announced in a press release.” The images that are now in my head will be impossible to erase. Children and families impacted by this disaster will need long-term help restoring their lives, in every sense of the word,” Martin said. Martin called on society to think about the future of the affected children, who, once they have received appropriate care, will need “a safe and decent home.” The organization will provide those affected by the earthquake with kits and tools to repair damaged residences. “We want to provide the widest range of resources available to get families back into their homes,” said Habitat for Humanity’s chief executive officer, Jonathan Reckford, who accompanied the artist. “I think the last thing any of us wants is for a child to be without a home. Together, we need to protect the children and families displaced by the earthquake in Haiti,” said Martin, who asked for donations to the RMF/HFH Fund, created jointly by Habitat for Humanity and the Ricky Martin Foundation.last_img read more

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Haiti Will Receive $25 Million Dollars from Latin America and the Caribbean

first_imgBy Dialogo February 24, 2010 What a good thing you are doing for Haiti. What happened to Haiti was terrible. I’m sorry but I wish I could help. I hope this doesn’t happen anymore in Haiti. Haiti will receive 25 million dollars this week, according to an agreement reached by the presidents attending the Unity Summit of Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexican president Felipe Calderón, the summit’s host, announced. This amount will be in addition to the aid already agreed on in various hemispheric forums following the earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation on 12 January. A “short-term credit package” being prepared by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caja Andina de Fomento will be added to this total, Calderón explained. The thirty-two countries participating in the summit, according to Calderón, agreed with Haitian president René Preval that “more than rebuilding Haiti, it’s necessary to rethink Haiti” in order to decrease centralization in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and achieve “more just and balanced” development. As a result, the Mexican government made a commitment to send the Caribbean country fifty thousand field tents and five million dollars “over the short term.”last_img read more

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Airman Named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most-Influential People List for Haiti Airfield Efforts

first_imgBy Dialogo May 04, 2010 Time magazine editors have named Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Antonio D. Travis to the 2010 Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most-influential people in the world, for his efforts after the Haiti earthquake. Travis was one of the first U.S. military members on the ground at the Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, only 30 hours after the Jan. 12 earthquake and less than 12 hours after the nation’s president requested U.S. assistance. The chief led a team of special tactics airmen from the 23rd, 21st and 123rd special tactics squadrons. With his team of combat veterans, Travis led the largest single-runway operation in history, using hand-held radios to control thousands of aircraft. Their air traffic control tower was a card table set up next to the airport’s runway. “Twenty-eight minutes after touchdown, we controlled the first air landing followed immediately by a departure, and we did not slow down for the next 12 days,” said Travis, who hails from Nelson County, Ky. After establishing control of the airfield there, his team orchestrated an orderly flow for incoming aircraft and dealt with the constraints of the inadequate airfield, which potentially could have limited relief operations. Facing 42 aircraft jammed into a parking ramp designed to accommodate 10 large planes and untangling the gridlock was the first of many seemingly insurmountable challenges necessary to facilitate the flood of inbound relief flights. In the dawn of the U.S. response to the Haitian crisis, Travis coordinated with Miami-based Federal Aviation Administration officials via text messaging on his BlackBerry. His ingenuity paid massive dividends as priority aircraft transited the small airport, delivering lifesaving water, food and medical supplies in support of the U.S. Agency for International Development-led international humanitarian effort. From chaos, Travis established order as his combat controllers reduced a four-hour hold time in the air on Day 1 to less than two hours on Day 2 and less than 15 minutes by Day 3. For 12 days, 24-hours-a-day, the airfield team ran the international airport in Port-au-Prince. Together with more than 200 other airmen from Hurlburt Field, Fla., they tirelessly ensured the safe and effective control of more than 4,000 takeoffs and landings, an average of one aircraft operation every five minutes, and enabled the delivery of 4 million pounds of humanitarian relief to the people of Haiti. Without computers or electricity, Travis and his team controlled as many as 250 aircraft daily, exceeding the normal capacity of the airfield by 1,400 percent without a single incident. By Jan. 25, his team was able to hand operations over to Air Force air traffic controllers with a portable control tower. While directing the airfield operations, Travis also supervised a group of pararescuemen, known as PJs, and medical technicians who augmented a search-and-rescue team from Virginia. These teams were credited with 13 technical rescues and 17 additional saves. Additionally, the special tactics airmen he led surveyed nearly 100 sites for use as potential humanitarian relief supply delivery sites. His teams’ technical expertise and unflagging commitment ultimately led to successful air deliveries by C-17 Globemaster IIIs of humanitarian aid that included more than 150,000 bottles of water and 75,000 packaged meals that subsequently were delivered to earthquake victims by helicopter. Travis is the chief enlisted manager of the Air Force Special Operations Training Center at Hurlburt Field. He served seven-and-a-half years in the Marine Corps before transferring into the Air Force as a combat controller in 1993. As a senior combat controller, he has supported combat, combat support, humanitarian, and search-and-rescue operations throughout the United States, the Pacific and European theaters, and at many austere locations across the globe. Like Army Rangers and Navy SEALS, Air Force special tactics airmen are an elite force of special operators. They are combat controllers, who conduct tactical airfield operations and close air support; PJs, who conduct combat search and rescue; special operations weathermen, who provide tactical weather forecasting and environmental reconnaissance; and tactical air controllers, who integrate close air support into special operations missions. Time’s full list and related tributes of all those honored appear in the magazine’s May 10 issue, available on newsstands and online.last_img read more

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South American Police Forces Coordinate Search For Small Plane Missing In Peru

first_imgBy Dialogo June 16, 2010 The police forces of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru and Interpol are investigating the location of a small plane that disappeared last week with nine people on board while flying over the Nasca lines, in southeastern Peru, the local police announced Monday. “We are pursuing several theories. The investigation is at an advanced stage, and we are in contact with elements of the police forces in other countries, along with Interpol,” the director-general of the Peruvian National Police, Miguel Hidalgo, told the press. “In the next few days an official finding will be made about the disappearance of the plane,” he added. The Peruvian authorities and the company that owns the Cessna plane have ruled out the possibility of an accident. “The radars detected it away from its planned route,” Peruvian defense minister Rafael Rey said Saturday in reference to press reports that have located the plane near the border with Bolivia and Brazil hours after it went missing. The initial supposition was that the plane had suffered an accident, but as the hours passed and after a fruitless aerial search, a possible act of piracy began to be suspected. The suspected kidnappers rented the plane using false identities and documents Thursday, for a tourist flight over the enigmatic pre-Inca Nasca lines, four hundred kilometers south of Lima.last_img read more

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Defense and Security Ministers Take Office in Argentina

first_img Arturo Puricelli took office Wednesday as Argentine defense minister, and Nilda Garré did the same at the head of the brand-new Ministry of Security, created amid the crisis generated by the seizure of a city park by thousands of homeless people, which left three dead. Puricelli – who is replacing Garré at the head of the Defense Ministry – is an old acquaintance of President Cristina Kirchner and of her late spouse, former president Néstor Kirchner, with whom he was in conflict in various disputes about the government of the province of Santa Cruz (in southern Argentina). Sixty-three years old, he was governor of the Patagonian province from 1983 to 1987 and has been serving since 2006 as the top manager of the state-owned military manufacturer Fabricaciones Militares, a post in which he developed ties with the armed forces. Nilda Garré (sixty-five years old), a lawyer with youthful ties to the Peronist left, was elected to a congressional seat in 1973 as a Peronist and again in 1995 as a member of the Frepaso (center-left) coalition. In addition, she coordinated the government’s Special Investigative Unit looking into the attack on the AMIA Jewish community association until October 2001 and was ambassador to Venezuela until 2005, when she took on the Defense portfolio. The creation of the Ministry of Security was announced by President Cristina Kirchner on Friday, amid the conflict over the occupation of a city park in Buenos Aires by thousands of shantytown residents. The new ministry is intended to respond to complaints about insecurity, which is among citizens’ greatest concerns. A survey by the Latinobarómetro NGO, published at the beginning of December, indicated that 36 of every 100 inhabitants reported having been the victim of a crime and that for 75% “living in Argentina is more unsafe every day.” By Dialogo December 17, 2010last_img read more

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Honduran President Launches “Operation Lightning” against Crime

first_imgBy Dialogo October 28, 2011 On October 26, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo launched “Operation Lightning” to counter the rising wave of violence in the country with greater police deployment. “We have to go in with deterrence (…) and I’m going to hire many more police officers, and many more soldiers as well; that has been decided,” Lobo announced at an event at the city hall of San Pedro Sula, 240 km north of the capital. “I’m not satisfied (with the work of the police authorities), and I’m taking on the task of keeping faith with my people in giving them security,” he promised. The crimes committed against two young people – one of them the 22-year-old son of the rector of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, Julieta Castellanos – whose corpses appeared on the side of a road on October 22, raised the level of alert due to the wave of homicides in Honduras even higher. The press, which has extensively covered the two crimes and the violence in general, called on the government to punish those responsible. Operation Lightning entails reinforcement of the patrols conducted by police officers in the country’s major cities, Lobo said. Coinciding with Lobo’s announcement, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) warned in a statement that “the phenomenon of violence and insecurity has become a serious problem affecting Honduran society.” “In a society where violence claims 20 victims a day, 47 percent of whom are young people aged between 15 and 29, young people as a group feel themselves severely threatened by insecurity and crime, making it necessary to seek and implement concrete solutions immediately,” the statement stressed. Honduras is the country with the highest homicide rate in the world, 82.1, followed in the Central American region by El Salvador with 66 and Guatemala with 41.4, according to a 2011 worldwide study by the UN that considered 207 countries.last_img read more

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Chilean Navy is Negotiating Acquisition of 12 AAV-7 Amphibious Vehicles

first_img The Chilean Marines are negotiating the acquisition of 12 AAV-7 tracked armored amphibious vehicles from U.S. Marine surplus stocks. This potential acquisition is part of the expansion of capabilities associated with the recent incorporation of the amphibious assault ship Sargento Aldea, acquired from the French Navy. The LVTP-7 Amphibious Assault Vehicle, a spacious 29.1-ton vehicle constructed on a base of welded aluminum plates, began production in the early 1970s and quickly became the Marines’ standard amphibious platform. In the late 1970s (or early 1980s, according to other sources), a program to extend the vehicle’s life was contracted, including modifications that created a configuration subsequently known as the AAV-7, with a more robust motor (Cummins VT-400 Diesel) and transmission (NavseaHS-400-3A1) and a new weapons station (Cadillac Gage) with a .50-caliber machine gun and an Mk-19 40-mm grenade launcher, powered by electric motors instead of the potentially dangerous hydraulic system previously used, as well as simplifying the maintenance procedures, among others. The increase in weight was not followed by modifying the vehicle’s suspension, an obvious oversight that was subsequently corrected in an undetermined number of vehicles. The vehicle’s large, completely watertight interior compartment enables it to transport up to 25 soldiers with all their gear, in addition to the three-person crew: driver, commander, and gunner. The soldiers exit via a wide rear ramp. Three versions of this vehicle exist: the AAVP-7A1 for transport; the AAVC-7A1, which has an entire set of communications equipment, for command and control; and the AAVR-7A1 for recovery. According to unofficial reports, the Chilean Navy is believed to be considering the acquisition of 10 transport units, one command unit, and one recovery unit. An extra armor kit also exists, the installation of which requires the further installation of another kit that ensures the vehicle’s stability at sea. The AAV-7A1 is capable of speeds of up to 72 km/hr on land and 5 knots at sea. It has an approximate range of 480 kilometers. By Dialogo January 23, 2012last_img read more

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Chile Will Build First Research and Rescue Submarine

first_img It can be equipped with high-resolution sonars, echo sounders, and a hyperbaric chamber that can enable specialized divers to work at great depth for periods of up to three hours, among other equipment. The construction of the prototype is expected to take between 12 and 18 months. In reference to the project, Allamand said, “In the event of accidents that other submarines might have, or in the event of emergency situations that might be related, for example, to an environmental disaster, there are no submarines in this part of the world that have the high level of rescue capabilities that this project has (…) This is a submarine that could render enormous service to the country in all areas related to scientific research, the study of tides, bathymetry studies; we’re therefore looking at a project that points toward the concrete possibility of being able to move forward on building a rescue submarine that could, if it is so decided, carry out some tasks in the defense area.” With 250 tons of displacement, 33 meters in length, a hull diameter of 3.5 meters, a crew of 14 but the ability to operate with only four crew members, the ability to descend to a depth of up to 300 meters, and low operating costs, it has an approximate construction cost of over US$10 million, but varies according to the level of equipment. center_img By Dialogo April 24, 2012 Very interesting. They should think of a submarine like this for Brazil. Eight years of research have enabled Grupo Vapor Industria to start the construction phase of what will be the first research and rescue submarine in Chile and South America. Chilean Defense Minister Andrés Allamand recently attended a presentation on the characteristics of the Crocodile Class 250 Submarine project, in Santiago. last_img read more

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Nicaraguan army naval unit seizes cocaine shipment

first_imgBy Dialogo July 18, 2012 MANAGUA, Nicaragua — The Nicaraguan army seized 432.8 kilos (954.2 pounds) of cocaine on the country’s Northern Caribbean coast after a shootout with four drug dealers who escaped, authorities said. The drug traffickers were spotted by a vessel of Nicaragua’s Army Naval Force July 14 in Sandy Bay, a beach area located in the country’s Autonomous Region of the Northern Atlantic. “Boats from the Naval Force pursued [the narco-traffickers],” the army said. “[The narco-traffickers” then opened fire against soldiers, with no casualties registered.” The dealers escaped in a jungle area close to the beach, authorities added. After boarding the abandoned vessels, soldiers found the drugs inside 17 sacks, along with a shotgun, seven cell phones, five barrels of oil, 15 communication radios, waterproof boots and bodysuits, balaclavas and lifeguard vests. [Laprensa.com.ni (Nicaragua), 17/07/2012; Nicaraguahoy.info (Nicaragua), 18/07/2012]last_img read more

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JTF-Bravo Helps Save 9 Passengers off Honduran Coast

first_img A UH-60 helicopter crew from Joint Task Force-Bravo’s 1-228 Aviation Battalion rescued two Americans, one Canadian and six Hondurans on July 3 from a vessel reported missing off the coast of Honduras, near the island of Roatán. “The passengers have been adrift for several days,” said Boccardi. “According, to one of my pilots it was one of the hardest rescues he’s been a part of during his 20 year career. The waters were choppy and the boat was swaying, but the highly trained aircrew members were prepared for the very technical rescue. Although the individuals were dehydrated they were ecstatic to see their rescuers.” JTF-Bravo supported U.S. Southern Command’s coordinated search and rescue efforts that began on July 2. United States Coast Guard aircraft and Honduran surface vessels participated in the search. By Dialogo July 10, 2013 Last seen boarding a boat in Roatán, on June 30, the individuals were hoisted into a U.S. Army Utility Helicopter-60 (UH-60) and flown to Roatán for medical attention. “In close coordination with U.S. Coast Guard and Honduran authorities, we were able to combine our abilities, which attributed to the successful rescue,” said Thomas D. Boccardi, JTF-Bravo commander. Joint Task Force-Bravo, as guests of our Honduran host-nation partners at Soto Cano Air Base, conducts and supports joint operations, actions and activities throughout Central America.last_img read more

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