By Dialogo April 16, 2009 The most wanted drug trafficker in Colombia, Daniel Rendón Herrera, alias “Don Mario,” was captured today in a rural area of Urabá, a northern region of the country in which he established a major drug smuggling route, imposed his law, and terrorized the local population for several years. “Don Mario,” a feared paramilitary who earned over two million dollars a month from the sale of drugs – the same amount of reward offered by the government of President Álvaro Uribe for his capture – was responsible for 3,000 killings in the past 18 months, said National Police Director Óscar Naranjo. He was arrested after a police pursuit lasting eight days, and in his final five hours of freedom he was under siege by 300 police commandos mobilized for the raid. “He was surrounded, literally like a dog, eating rice with his hands, which was all that he had left,” said the head of the Judicial Police Directorate (Dijin), Colonel César Augusto Pinzón, one of the coordinators of this operation. The mafia chief, aged 45, was captured in the countryside area of Manuel Cuello, belonging to the town of Necoclí, located in the Caribbean region of Uraba, where in 2006 he created an armed group with more than 1,000 paramilitary troops to control drug trafficking. From Rio de Janeiro President Uribe, who made an official visit to Brazil today, called the event “good news” and was pleased that “after long months of patient persecution, one of those recidivist ex-paramilitaries, one of those drug trafficking criminals most feared in the world (…)” had been captured. In this way, the Colombian police terminated an operation started nine months ago, during which about fifty paramilitaries associated with him were captured, and operating assets valued in more than $100 million were seized. “He was virtually like a dog; he had been cowering under a palm tree for two days,” said Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, to whom the prisoner was “a very valuable target.” Santos made these statements to the press after “Don Mario” was moved from Urabá to Bogotá, where he was immediately taken to the judiciary police after being seen for the first time since he had escaped from prison three years ago. “This individual had become a coordinator of criminal gangs from the Chocó to Guajira (across the northern part of the country from west to east), and in the process he encouraged a war and a number of murders that the country is aware of,” Santos said. According to the minister, there were “more than 3,000 homicides committed during the process of controlling territory for drug trafficking and committing illegal acts.” “Don Mario was Urabá’s controller, but also in his struggle to control territory” he was the “cause of homicides in cities such as Medellín; that is why this capture is of special importance to the safety of Colombians,” added the Minister of Defense. Santos took the opportunity to ask other drug kingpins to surrender, especially Oliveiro Pedro Guerrero, alias “Cuchillo,” leader of the group operating in the eastern plains and jungles of Colombia, now considered the next target of the authorities. “This means that there is no place in Colombia or in the world where these drug lords can hide, no matter how powerful they may be,” Santos said, before congratulating the police for the operation. “I want to say that my problem is inherited,” were the only words that “Don Mario” said to the journalists who had awaited his arrival in Bogotá.
By Dialogo November 29, 2010 The Central American Aeronautics and Space Association (ACAE), with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Religion and the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (ITCR), has begun tests that, at least five years from now, could conclude with the launch of the region’s first meteorological satellite into orbit. The project, named Daedalus, will contribute to high-altitude study of atmospheric pressure, elevation, temperature, luminosity, and humidity, with the objective of improving understanding of phenomena such as climate change. According to reporting by the AFP news agency, the device’s first prototype could be launched in January. The first test was recently carried out, consisting of the launch of a balloon – designed by a Costa Rican student, Yoel Wigoda – equipped with a photo and video camera and a platform carrying measuring instruments. The apparatus, almost two meters in diameter, was launched from the Tilarán university campus, in northern Costa Rica, and reached an altitude of more than thirty kilometers. During its ascent, which took almost three hours, the instruments sent back the first images of the curvature of the earth taken over Central America. This first test cost approximately two thousand dollars. “It’s the first time that this has been done in Central America,” the executive director of the Costa Rican firm Ad Astra, Ronald Chang, affirmed during the presentation. “We can talk about five to ten years at most for sending the first Central American satellite into space,” the engineer estimated. For his part, the president of the ACAE, Carlos Alvarado, affirmed that the program’s financing comes from the Central American Integration System (SICA) and indicated that the first steps are being taken in Costa Rica, but they are making progress toward other nations, such as Guatemala and El Salvador.
By Dialogo July 11, 2011 He gave as another example the need to purchase at least one ten-foot coast guard launch that can maneuver and overtake speedboats, at a cost of between ten and twelve million dollars, while a “piranha,” another kind of boat, which is faster and has up to four motors, in addition to the necessary technological equipment, is much more expensive. The Honduran government is expected to finance the purchase of its new Super Tucano planes, as well as other kinds of equipment for the fight against drug trafficking, through its security tax. The head of the Armed Forces affirmed that a “Technical Committee,” made up of members of the executive branch, the National Convergence Forum (Fonac), and representatives from the Honduran Private Enterprise Council (Cohep), as well as a representative of the Defense Ministry responsible for security, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), will be in charge of administering the funds obtained. “It’s necessary that we have that equipment, because for more than thirty years now, the Armed Forces haven’t had equipment, and everything has deteriorated now,” he noted. This was confirmed on a Honduran radio program in early July by the head of the Joint General Staff of the Honduran Armed Forces, Gen. René Osorio Canales, who indicated that the Central American country’s aerial hardware has not been renewed for approximately three decades. Aside from the Brazilian-made aircraft, the extensive plan to renew the Honduran military’s equipment also includes ships and helicopters, among other items of military hardware. According to General Osorio, a fleet of at least four Super Tucano planes is expected to be acquired for the fight against drug-trafficking activities, the same planes that countries such as the Dominican Republic already “have on order.” Speaking to Radio HRN, Osorio Canales affirmed that the Army has a series of needs, such as the equipment required for the objective of responding positively to the population in the security and defense area. For Osorio Canales, it is also urgent to purchase bulletproof vests, infrared equipment for conducting operations at night, and uniforms, among other items, taking into consideration that “resources are minimal” and have been “optimized as much as possible.”
By Dialogo October 26, 2011 Between January and October 2011, the Ecuadorean Police seized around 13.2 tons of drugs, chiefly cocaine, in the country’s two most populous provinces, the institution announced on October 24. The Anti-narcotics Directorate in the coastal province of El Guayas (in southwestern Ecuador) indicated to the press that 11.5 tons of narcotics were seized in that jurisdiction, compared to 7.3 tons confiscated during the same period in 2010. Cocaine represented a majority of the drugs seized in Guayas, the capital of which is the port of Guayaquil, the agency added. Meanwhile, in the Andean province of Pichincha (the capital of which is Quito), the police seized 1.7 tons from January to October 2011 (including 926 kg of cocaine, 715 kg of marijuana, and 25 kg of heroin), Captain Miguel Egas of the local anti-narcotics division told AFP. Those detained in Pichincha included 120 foreigners, Colombians and Cubans among them, the officer added. In July, the Police reported that 11.3 tons of drugs, chiefly cocaine, were seized in Ecuador during the first half of the year, 10 percent more than the amount confiscated during the same period in 2010. Ecuador seized a record 68 tons of drugs (64 tons of cocaine) in 2009 and 18 tons in 2010, according to the agency.
The organizers of the 17th edition of the International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE 2012) have announced that two specialized forums on the advantages associated with the acquisition of new space technologies will be held as part of the exhibition. The two events are titled “Benefits of the Use of Space Technology for the Development of Countries” and “Development and Space Technologies.” During the symposia, which will take place in Chile on March 27 and 28, 2012, representatives of the international space industry will introduce the wide range of space technology currently in existence to an audience made up of officials, deputy secretaries and members of government commissions, and high-ranking commanders and project directors from the Armed Forces and security services, among others. Delegations from the majority of the continent’s space agencies, most notably those headquartered in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru are also expected to attend the forums. The organizers also noted that the forums will be held at the same time that the defense ministers of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) agreed to create a shared space agency for peaceful purposes and that several Latin American nations are carrying out plans to manufacture satellites and launch them into space or have established alliances with other entities in order to put them into orbit, as in the case of Chile. Other examples are Venezuela, which is working on the construction of a local satellite, and Brazil, which already has seven satellites in orbit and has additional plans to send up a defense satellite in 2014. For its part, Argentina has two satellites in operation and is designing radar satellites. Similarly, the Bolivian satellite Tupac Katari is expected to become operational in 2014. By Dialogo November 30, 2011
By Dialogo February 03, 2012 On February 1, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes ruled out a militarization of public safety in the country, rejecting criticism of his appointment of two retired generals to head the sector’s leading institutions. “The police will continue to be a hierarchically organized corps, but under the responsibility of a civilian authority. The police are not in the process of militarization (…) they’re in a process of professionalization and adaptation to new circumstances,” the president stated. “We should leave prejudices aside, leave that sterile debate aside,” the president added, speaking at a National Civil Police (PNC) event. In late January, Funes named retired General Francisco Salinas as director of the PNC, and in November, he named retired General David Munguía as minister of justice and public safety. According to the president, those appointments are part of “a conceptual change” in how the country will work against crime, organized crime, and especially gangs. “The state’s repressive apparatus and its institutions of prevention, investigation, and administration of justice should be strengthened, modernized, and provided with budgets and tools that can enable them to act effectively,” Funes pointed out. About his decision, President Funes said, “We’re confronting organized groups, with sophisticated systems of information and intelligence, with enormous economic power, and supplied with the most modern weapons,” he indicated. “In addition, they’re powerful gangs capable of corrupting state institutions. The conditions, then, are different; the enemy is also different, has mutated, has evolved,” he added.
“With the measures the countries adopt in regard to security, we hope that the people can feel at peace and regain the development opportunities torn away from them by violence and crime,” said Honduran Vice Chancellor Salomé Castellanos. David Murguía Payés, the minister of Justice and Public Safety of El Salvador, said bolstering the region’s fight against narco-traffickers and gangs should be the initiative’s top priority. “We have concluded that the issue of drug trafficking, mostly small-scale drug dealing, and gangs are the factors that create the most violence,” he said. During the meeting in San Salvador, El Salvador on Jan. 17-18, the representatives of the Supreme Courts, National Judicial Councils, Public Ministries, and Ministries of Justice, Governance and Public Safety of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic asked each country’s legislature to pass the proposed laws quickly so all countries can be on the same page. “It is vital to the project to involve the legislative assemblies in the development of the actions to be carried out by the project and to keep an open communication between the focal points of each country and its legislative counterpart,” the meeting’s final resolution stated. SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Central America and the Dominican Republic are preparing a regional strategy to fight organized and transnational crime, specifically targeting narco-trafficking. The effort implies streamlining penal and procedural laws, as well as strengthening the areas of investigation, detention and reintegration of inmates into society. The initiative to make the laws uniform is managed by the Conference of Justice Ministers of Ibero-American Countries (COMJIB) and the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA), sponsored by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation. “With this initiative, we hope to make a leap in terms of the quality of the fight against organized crime,” said Guatemalan Juan Daniel Alemán, SICA’s secretary general. The mid-range goal is for the region – from Guatemala to Panama, including the Dominican Republic – to have common legislation to use in the fight against organized and transnational crime. Among the topics under discussion are changes to nine penal codes, including what defines and constitutes a crime pertaining to human trafficking, money laundering, gang-related infractions and narco-trafficking. Also being discussed are the following: Involving undercover agents in joint investigations; Simplifying the extradition process; Exchanging information and criminal records; Notifying countries regarding fugitives’ prison sentences, so officials in one country know the punishment levied against fugitives in the countries where they are convicted. By Dialogo February 16, 2012
Despite the fact that organized crime did not have combat power to fight against the Brazilian Army during the pacification of the Alemão and Penha shanty towns, the perpetrators continued to promote hostile actions throughout the entire occupation, especially in the psychological operations field. Communist revolutionaries introduced the techniques, tactics and procedures used by Brazil’s organized crime in this irregular warfare during the 60s in Cuba, China, Albania, and other Iron Curtain countries. Later, the Brazilian guerrilla Carlos Marighela summarized it by writing the Mini Manual of the Urban Guerrilla (1969), known and currently used by the major terrorist and criminal organizations in the world. These lessons were disseminated when members of the armed struggle and common criminals were placed in the same cells inside the Ilha Grande penitentiary, in the early 70s. The Comando Vermelho (Red Command) was born from the symbioses between politicians and common criminals, which was the first organized crime gang in Brazil. Currently, it has international connections with several segments of transnational narcoterrorism, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC). During the pacification of some slums in Rio de Janeiro, it was possible to observe psychological actions directed at several different public audiences in the scenario: the Army troops, the criminals themselves, the local communities and the general public. Similarly, what is known as white, gray, and black propaganda was developed throughout the operation. In the beginning, graffiti on walls was removed by the troops prior to the pacification. However, new drawings and paintings praising the criminal gang and the initials of their main leaders were found in other places, displaying acronyms referring to the Comando Vermelho. More graffiti, including drawings and sentences mocking the actions of the Army, showed up during intervals between patrols. During very tense situations, and taking advantage of riots, banners and posters that were prepared in advance showed up, giving the impression that the mob had been grouped to increase the effect and visibility of the material. There were also very well written pamphlets along with the banners, manipulating and distorting the facts, and trying to create mistrust in the Pacification Force. The Comando Vermelho filmed and still films their actions during conflicts and then they edit the videos, showing the Brazilian forces supporters as targets along with negative images of the Police or Armed Forces, and dissatisfaction of the population because of the social exclusion of the slums. These videos have captions and music in the background, which praise organized crime. After they are ready, they are posted on YouTube and other Internet sites, even on social networks. The criminals also resort to diffusing rumors to threaten the troops and their collaborators through the community, simulating radio conversations (aware they are being monitored). They emphasize strength or association to terror by wrapping the drugs they traffic in specific ways. Besides clearly showing the contents, they use slogans such as “Libyan rebels”, “Somali corner”, “Respect the crime”, or “Missile launcher”. They always have the initials CVRL for the Portuguese acronym of Comando Vermelho Rogério Lengruber, the founder of the group, and some include an image of a drug dealer or a weapon. Maintaining the law of silence in the community is enforced through terror. The drug dealers who have criminal records with the Police have left the area, but those with a clean record remain in the community, fostering small volume illegal activities directed mainly at the local consumers. The collaborators of the Armed Forces have to be very discrete, with the risk of being “brought to justice” by the criminals. There are many rudimentary studios that produce low quality music with extremely vulgar language, praising explicit sex, organized crime, and depreciating the Police or the Army. These songs are very popular inside the slums and they are used to promote the moral degradation of the community to strengthen the criminals and to provoke the supporters of the forces. Though constantly repressed, it is often difficult to identify where the sound comes from inside the labyrinth of alleys and streets in a slum with a perimeter of 10 miles and 400,000 residents. At times, in the middle of the night, pre-set triggers were prepared in homemade devices with a timer to set parked vehicles on fire, but they were neutralized before being detonated. In other instances, barricades were prepared to stop or create obstacles for police vehicle traffic. These actions used to be very well planned because they had many people involved. Some spotters (watchdogs) were spread out in the neighborhood, monitoring the movement of the troops, and using mobile phones to talk or to send text messages, or even 2-way radios. Because of the great number of people benefitting from drug trafficking (vigilantes, salesmen, security guards, wrappers/prepares, carriers, among others), these activities were used to systematically create chaos and to wear down the troops, promoting fights, disobedience, and resistance to order. Normally, women, pregnant women, the elderly, and children who supported the illegal activities formed a barrier to protect the criminals against the troops by causing disturbances, exchanging aggressive words, or throwing different types of objects. This situation used to be extremely delicate, even for the use of non-lethal weapons (pepper spray, rubber ammunition, and others), because most of the time there were people ready to record these actions on tape and to dissipate the images to the media. In many opportunities, having been alerted that there would be a confrontation, journalists were standing by. Once they arrived at the scene, the mobs would form and the hostility would start. As described above, it is clear that members of the Comando Vermelho master many Psychological Operations techniques, directing them to many targeted audiences within the Theater of Operations. They know how to use social networks, the Internet, video editing, music recording, or even more rudimentary activities such as graffiti on walls or simply spreading terror through rumors and threats. The greatest challenge in efficiently repressing these actions by the opposing forces is the lack of legal freedom of the troops because of the rules of engagement. It is important to emphasize that the Army is employed under the Constitution. This means that all residents of the communities (regardless of how violent and outlawed they may be) had their rights and individual guarantees protected. The troops did not have authorization to enter homes to apprehend undocumented vehicles (police mission), or to perform other actions. The decision on the type of actions was made on a political level and caused a great problem to the Pacification Force on all hierarchic levels, but Brazilian Officers adapted to these conditions, detained the actions and accomplished the mission with an unprecedented historical success, turning the communities over to the state of Rio de Janeiro with security scores never before seen in that region. *Fernando Montenegro, retired Colonel of the Brazilian Army and twice Task Force combatant of the light infantry battalion. By Dialogo February 13, 2013 Hello pretty Charlito, Good DayThis article is interesting, but is rather large, I recommend you read it carefully. It is related to the actions of organized crime in Brazil. Crime is not crime, understand? If it isn’t, you can’t understand.
By Dialogo October 25, 2013 Violent consequences The presence of operatives from transnational criminal organizations and an increase in drug smuggling and weapons trafficking are responsible for an increase in violence in RAAN in recent years, according to Mónica Zalaquett, director of the Center for the Prevention of Violence (CEPREV) “All of Central America is being affected by organized crime and Nicaragua is not the exception. In recent years, there has been no only a considerable increase in drug trafficking but also an increase in weapons trafficking,” said Mónica Zalaquett, Director of the Center for the Prevention of Violence (CEPREV, for its acronym in Spanish). The rate of killings in RAAN was 18 per 100,000 residents in 2011. That is higher than the overall rate of killing in the country, which is 11 per 100,000 people. Expelled gang members Gangs rob from drug cartels Nicaraguan authorities are working hard to combat drug smuggling. In 2012, Nicaraguan security forces seized 4.5 tons of cocaine, $14 million in cash, 141 vehicles connected to drug traffickers, and 153 properties allegedly purchased with drug money. Large cash seizure Some Nicaraguan gangs are robbing transnational drug cartels of drugs, which they then sell to domestic drug dealers. These robberies are commonly known as “drug jolts.” Nicaraguan gangs have been committing such robberies for almost 20 years, according to Nicaraguan security analyst Roberto Orozco. “In 2012, there were at least 27 local groups dedicated to ‘drug jolt’ operations, a phenomenon that originated in the 1990s,” Orozco said. Such crimes do not always involve drugs. Gang members also steal firearms and cash from drug cartel operatives, security analysts said. Gang members who steal drugs from transnational criminal organizations are commonly known as “tumbadores.” Once they steal a shipment of drugs, tumbadores will try to transport the drugs as far north as possible, one tumbador said in an interview with insightcrime.org. The farther north the drugs are smuggled, the more that organized crime groups will be willing to pay, the tumbador said. For example, a kilo of cocaine would be worth $11,000 in El Salvador, $15,000 in Chiapas, in southern Mexico, and $20,000 in Matamoros, in northern Mexico, the tumbador explained. The prices are higher further north because drug smugglers have higher risks and greater expenses the farther north they go, the tumbador said. Maritime drug smuggling In addition to collaborating with local gangs, Mexican drug cartels are sending their own operatives into Nicaragua to coordinate drug purchases, authorities said. In August, 2012, Nicaraguan National Police arrested 18 people who were posing as Mexican journalists. Police found $9.2 million in cash inside a van some of the suspects were using. The suspects were probably doing to use the money to pay for a large amount of drugs in Costa Rica, according to Fernando Borge, a spokesman for the Nicaraguan National Police “They were planning to take all the money to Costa Rica to pay for a load,” Borge said. The suspects had press credentials which said they worked for Televisa, a large Mexican television network. Nicaraguan National Police investigators checked with the television network, and confirmed the 18 suspects did not work for Televisa. The press credentials were forgeries, authorities said. One of the 18 suspects, Manuel de Jesus Herrera Pineda, had ties to Los Charros, a gang which smuggles drugs and other illicit items north from Costa Rica into Nicaragua and Mexico. Los Charros has ties to the Sinaloa Cartel and La Familia Michoacana, another Mexican transnational criminal organization. The suspects claimed they planned on covering a criminal trial in Managua. In recent years, U.S. authorities have expelled about 100,000 gang members from the country. These gang members have settled in Guatemala, El Savador, Honduras, and souther Mexico. But very few gang members have started living and operating in Nicaragua, according to security analysts. The number of gang members expelled from the United States to Mexico is relatively low, said Mario Zamora, the former Costa Rican director for migration. This pattern has helped Costa Rica, according to Zamora. Since relatively few gang members have been expelled to Nicargaua, very few have made their way south to Costa Rica, he said. Drug enforcement In RAAN, local gangs help drug cartels smuggle drugs along the Atlantic coast. Local gang members operate go-fast boats which smuggle drugs to and from Sandy Bay, located in RAAN. Local gangs, including the Reñazcos and the Tarzanes, collaborate with Los Zetas and the forces of El Chapo to smuggle drugs into and out of Nicaragua, Petray said. These collaborations have led to increased drug sales in RAAN and other parts of Nicaragua, authorities said. “Central America has stopped being just a transit point for drugs to become an operation and activities center,” Félix Maradiaga, the former secretary general of Nicaragua’s Ministry of Defense, told El Pais. Nicaraguan security forces should continue their strong efforts to combat local gangs, which are collaborating with increasing frequency with transnational criminal organizations, said Roberto Petray, director of the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights. Collaboration between Nicaraguan gangs and transnational criminal organizations, like the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas, is particularly strong in the Autonomous North Atlantic Region (RAAN), Petray said. “Gangs in Nicaragua are starting to work as hit men and also in human trafficking. These activities must be controlled by the National Police because they are starting to happen within the country,” Petray said. I think fighting the drug trafficking groups and gangs should be more constant and frontal. Governments or states should coordinate efforts and truly try to detain these scourge. We shouldn’t be risking the safety of our families and of our society everyday because of a group of thugs
As part of that effort, the Prosecutor’s Office — which is part of the interdisciplinary group that comprises the FTC — has issued search and arrest warrants that include guidance advising security forces to avoid or minimize, if possible, casualties among minors. “We condemn the criminal acts perpetrated both by the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) and the Armed Peasant Association (ACA), as well as other persons and/or groups that commit criminal acts,” the Peace and Justice Service (Serpaj) and the The FTC conducts patrols, inspects vehicles for weapons, and engages in security missions in forests where the EPP and the ACA are believed to be hiding. While the FTC confronts the EPP and ACA, the Paraguayan Armed Forces offer free medical treatment, deliveries of medicine, and other services to communities in the northern region of the country. The FTC does all it can to minimize casualties among young members of the EPP and the ACA. The FTC also captured a 16-year-old suspect. In the aftermath of that battle, civil organizations have criticized the EPP and the ACA for putting young people in dangerous situations by using them in armed confrontations with security forces. In addition to these efforts, the FTC discourages young people from joining the EPP and the ACA. Some parents disregard their responsibilities to protect their children because of economic desperation. Many of the children and young people who join the EPP and the ACA were provided to the two groups by their parents, in exchange for monthly financial support. Office of the Coordinator for the Protection of Children and Adolescents (CDIA) stated in a September 25 press release. As part of that effort, the Prosecutor’s Office — which is part of the interdisciplinary group that comprises the FTC — has issued search and arrest warrants that include guidance advising security forces to avoid or minimize, if possible, casualties among minors. “Regarding our actions to prevent child recruitment, we broadcast messages through the local media warning the parents of children about that danger, reminding them of the obligations that the law imposes on parents to safeguard and care for their children,” Urdapilleta said. Paraguay’s Joint Task Force (FTC) is working to prevent the terrorist Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) and the Armed Peasant Association (ACA) from recruiting children and adolescents. Security forces try to protect minors The FTC conducts patrols, inspects vehicles for weapons, and engages in security missions in forests where the EPP and the ACA are believed to be hiding. While the FTC confronts the EPP and ACA, the Paraguayan Armed Forces offer free medical treatment, deliveries of medicine, and other services to communities in the northern region of the country. Paraguay’s Joint Task Force (FTC) is working to prevent the terrorist Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) and the Armed Peasant Association (ACA) from recruiting children and adolescents. The FTC does all it can to minimize casualties among young members of the EPP and the ACA. In addition to these efforts, the FTC discourages young people from joining the EPP and the ACA. Some parents disregard their responsibilities to protect their children because of economic desperation. Many of the children and young people who join the EPP and the ACA were provided to the two groups by their parents, in exchange for monthly financial support. “We condemn the criminal acts perpetrated both by the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) and the Armed Peasant Association (ACA), as well as other persons and/or groups that commit criminal acts,” the Peace and Justice Service (Serpaj) and the Security forces try to protect minors The FTC also captured a 16-year-old suspect. In the aftermath of that battle, civil organizations have criticized the EPP and the ACA for putting young people in dangerous situations by using them in armed confrontations with security forces. “When we had a confrontation with them, we found adolescents as young as 15,” said Lt. Col. Victor Urdapilleta, FTC chief of communications, speaking about a September 19 gun battle with the EPP. During that conflict, which occurred in Arroyito – about 400 km north of Asunción – FTC forces killed four EPP members. They were identified as Hugo Daniel Martínez, 23; Eduardo Florenciano Vega, 21; Marco Ramón Ojeda Jiménez, 20; and Andrés Fernandez López, 15. “Regarding our actions to prevent child recruitment, we broadcast messages through the local media warning the parents of children about that danger, reminding them of the obligations that the law imposes on parents to safeguard and care for their children,” Urdapilleta said. Office of the Coordinator for the Protection of Children and Adolescents (CDIA) stated in a September 25 press release. By Dialogo November 25, 2014 “When we had a confrontation with them, we found adolescents as young as 15,” said Lt. Col. Victor Urdapilleta, FTC chief of communications, speaking about a September 19 gun battle with the EPP. During that conflict, which occurred in Arroyito – about 400 km north of Asunción – FTC forces killed four EPP members. They were identified as Hugo Daniel Martínez, 23; Eduardo Florenciano Vega, 21; Marco Ramón Ojeda Jiménez, 20; and Andrés Fernandez López, 15.