AES breaks ground on largest battery storage unit in the U.S.

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):More than twice the size of the largest battery system currently operating in the United States, the AES Alamitos Energy Battery Storage Array in Long Beach, Calif., signals much bigger things soon to come for electrochemical energy storage on U.S. power grids.This first 100-MW/400-MWh phase of the system, on which owner AES Corp. recently broke ground, is underpinned by a 20-year contract with Southern California Edison Co. starting in December 2020. Relying on lithium-ion batteries, the system could eventually triple in size with its permit to expand to 300 MW.Among contracted U.S. battery storage projects, the Alamitos array is surpassed by Vistra Energy Corp.’s 300-MW/1,200 MWh Vistra Moss Landing Energy Storage system, near Santa Cruz, Calif., which has a 20-year agreement for the entire installation with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., or PG&E. Co-located at another major combined-cycle gas plant, Vistra’s Moss Landing CC, the project is also scheduled to start operations in December 2020.Planned to come online at the same time and in the same place is the PG&E Corp. subsidiary’s 182.5-MW Tesla Moss Landing Battery Energy Storage Project (Elkhorn), an approved utility-owned project to be supplied by Tesla Inc. Other major utility-scale battery projects, some coupled with solar farms, are planned around the country, including in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, New York and Utah.While the PG&E projects could see delays, or even cancellations, related to the utility’s ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and restructuring process, batteries could ultimately satisfy “a substantial portion of U.S. peak capacity needs,” the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, concluded in a new report, “The Potential for Battery Energy Storage to Provide Peaking Capacity in the United States.” Assuming current conditions and demand patterns on the U.S. grid, the analysis identified a practical energy storage peak power potential of about 70,000 MW. That includes approximately 28,000 MW from four-hour battery storage arrays, 8,000 MW from six-hour storage systems and 34,000 MW from eight-hour storage projects.More ($): AES starts building largest battery peaker, highlighting technology’s potential AES breaks ground on largest battery storage unit in the U.S.last_img read more

RWE, Mitsubishi to develop floating wind project off the Maine coast

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:After years of development, the University of Maine has landed two major energy investors for its floating offshore wind demonstration project, announcing that units of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. and German utility RWE will buy and build the project — a potential door-opener for the U.S. floating wind market.RWE Renewables and Mitsubishi-owned Diamond Offshore Wind have formed a new joint venture, known as New England Aqua Ventus, that will acquire, develop and eventually operate the single-turbine floating wind project that is expected to cost $100 million.The joint venture hopes to finalize the design work in 2021, sign the supply-chain contracts in 2022 and build the project in 2023, said Wojciech Wiechowski, senior manager at RWE Renewables, in a Wednesday interview.RWE claims to be the world’s second-largest developer of offshore wind projects, after Denmark’s Ørsted. Aqua Ventus will be its first project in U.S. waters, and one of a small handful of floating demonstration projects it’s investing in globally, Wiechowski said.UMaine, whose Advanced Structures and Composites Center has been researching floating wind technology since 2008 and has carried the project this far, will own the intellectual property behind the VolturnUS floating hull concept and will license the technology to the Aqua Ventus project — and hopefully more to come.Aqua Ventus’ latest design calls for using a single turbine rated at 10 to 12 megawatts. That’s at the upper end of the range of offshore turbines available commercially today and would break new ground for the emerging floating wind market. The largest floating offshore project in operation is Equinor’s Hywind Scotland, which uses five 6-megawatt turbines.[Karl-Erik Stromsta]More: Maine’s $100M floating offshore wind project finds major backers: RWE and Mitsubishi RWE, Mitsubishi to develop floating wind project off the Maine coastlast_img read more

Sheltowee Trace Association Honors Hikers

first_imgThe Sheltowee Trace Association recently honored 17 people who hiked 307 miles of Kentucky’s longest trail in 2014. Each year, the Sheltowee Trace Association leads a series of guided section hikes on the entire length of the Sheltowee Trace called the Hiker Challenge. Hikers are able to complete the Trace in 11 months by hiking one weekend a month.Among those who completed the trek was Kaner “Rudy” Davis, 71, of Lexington, making him the oldest to complete the Hiker Challenge. Twenty-three participants completed the challenge in 2013 and 13 completed the Challenge’s first year in 2012.  Thanks to the Hiker Challenge, more adventure-seekers have completed the Sheltowee Trace over the last three years than in the previous 32 years.The Sheltowee Trace covers 269 miles in Kentucky, and the remainder is in Tennessee. The trace begins above Morehead, Kentucky, and travels in a southwest direction through the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest, into the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and into Tennessee.Also recognized at the Dec. 6 event in Livingston was the first runner to complete the trail. Matt Hoyes, of Bardstown, completed the entire trail in eight days. The association also honored at the event “Team Turtle” from this year’s Bourbon Chase, a 200-mile relay race. The turtle refers to the symbol of the Sheltowee Trace and the association. Sheltowee was the Shawnee Indian name given to Daniel Boone that translates to “Big Turtle.”Hikers who completed the Sheltowee Trace Hiker Challenge in 2014:Laura Stoehr, Cincinnati, OhioJeff Darpel, Milford, OhioNikki Van Frank, Cincinnati, OhioKaner “Rudy” Davis, LexingtonJames Davis, LexingtonRandall “Buck” Stewart, SomersetJamie Dougoud, LexingtonJohn Miller, AlexandriaRobert Trent, GeorgetownMike Henson, FrankfortPaul Wright, BereaLois Fishman, Jeffersonville, IndianaTodd Fishman, Jeffersonville, IndianaMike Fawbush, LondonBill Radford, East BernstadtAl McLerran, Jamestown, TennesseeNorma McLerran, Jamestown, TennesseeThe 2015 challenge will feature two teams of hikers. One will be a “drop and go” team that receives minimal assistance, while the other will be a fully supported team.To register for the 2015 Hiker Challenge and to learn more about the Sheltowee Trace Association, visit the website at  Registration is open through Jan. 13, 2015.Both Morehead and Livingston are certified Kentucky Trail Towns, which cater to hikers on the Sheltowee Trace, as well as a number of other users of local recreational attractions.  There are another five communities currently working to become Kentucky Trail Towns that will also serve users on the Sheltowee Trace.Visit the Office of Adventure Tourism’s website at read more

Fridays on the Fly | An Ode to the Bronzeback

first_imgBorn and bred in a merciless climate. Hot summers, cold winters, heavy rains, and drought; a never ending onslaught that will either kill him or make him stronger. From the very beginning he has adapted to this environ and leads his kind in both ferocity and tenacity. Every day challenges his strength and mettle. The striped cheeks, olive and bronze war paint with ornamented mottling disguise this skillful and discerning predator.Engaged in battle, this ferocious creature has no equal. Exceptional strength accompanied by aerial lashings will test the true courage of those brave enough to dabble with his unique kind. If the opponent is worthy and steadfast they may join the realm of those that have admired his sleek, muscular, and captivating piscatorial body deserving of the highest esteem.scott smally 2The smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) enchants the minds of anglers seeking a truly spirited and fulfilling quarry in the greatest and lesser known rivers of the Southeast.  Tracing it’s lineage to ancestors from the upper Mississippi river and St. Lawrence-Great Lakes system, the smallmouth bass has successfully spread throughout the United States and found it’s home east of the Appalachians just prior to the Civil War. The hardiness of this species has allowed it to take up a wide variety of habitats while many other fish of the Southeast are limited in their ranges.scott-smally-960x600Truly crafted as an efficient and deft predator, the smallmouth is an opportunistic hunter. As the thermal environment ebbs and flows during the year our smallmouth regulate their metabolic needs with a grand diversity of forage species in our river systems. Crayfish, sculpins, baitfish, hellgrammites, cicadas and damselflies are only just a sampling of what’s cooking on a daily basis. Often seeking refuge in dark ledges, logjams or undercut banks, the smallmouth will ambush their prey and be found in water akin to wild brown trout. Riffle laden, rocky, and structurally complex areas of our rivers are inhabited by this brilliantly adapted fish.Targeted on foot or via watercraft, the smallmouth epitomizes the best qualities of a dynamic game fish on fly tackle. Throughout the six to seven month period of activity the diversity of flies and methods in our pursuit is incredibly broad. From sinking lines and multi hook flies to surface poppers and frog imitations the behavior of this fish dictates how we target them. Often striking with phenomenal power and conviction, the bronze shoulders and wide olive flanks of the smallmouth utilize river currents and their natural vigor to test even the most experienced anglers’ fortitude.smally rivannaBleary eyed and fairly motivated, I leave the comfort of my hammock flanking the beautiful, serene morning waters of the James River. I stride slowly waist deep into cool and inviting late summer currents searching for where my fish will be. The buzz-cracking of cicadas jars my awakening senses and indicates to me that a popper will be a suitable addition to my tippet. Long and tight loops form in my line landing the bug a foot off of the bank, with a subtle mend and gurgle my fly comes to life. As it drifts a wake displaces water as I discern a nose and slurp, the bug vanishes.smally wiggle minnowA big strip set electrifies the line and the fish leaps with a flip and tumble displaying his strength and beauty. He buries his head and the fight is on. Left, right, ripping line, testing drag and the limits of my tackle this fish is a force to be reckoned with. After many blistering runs and jumps, the familiar sand-papery skin of the lower lip rests calmly under my right thumb. The scarlet eye of this tired and trusting fish peers at me as he rests peacefully in the water, gaining strength. This moment of serene admiration connects our worlds and fills my dreams of wild places and wild fish. As I watch him swim away, the satisfaction of preserving life, while fully enjoying it becomes present, and awe inspiring.Scott Osborne is a fly fishing guide at the Albemarle Angler in Charlottesville, Virginia. Check them out on Facebook.last_img read more

Mountain Music Festival

first_imgJam band lovers need not worry as Saturday night will feature MMFest favorites Big Something who have been on the bill every year since the festivals inception in 2014. Look for The Floozies to bring a funky electronic mix that Wonderland Mountain has never seen before. Jam early into Sunday morning as a double header late night show goes down at the campground’s Strange Stage with The Kind Thieves and Fletcher’s Grove. Rather stay dry? Sign up for one of the zip line canopy tours and fly through the trees as you zip from cliff-top to cliff-top. Navigate this course on the rim of the gorge as your traverse nine different zip lines and two sky bridges. The grand finale is a 40-foot freefall off the plunge tower. Plus there are a ton of other activities to choose from including paintball, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, rock climbing, rappelling, and more. With over 25 bands coming to the mountain there will be no shortage of great music at all hours of the day and night. There will be plenty of action on the mountaintop main stage but don’t miss out on some of the incredible up and coming bands at the festival’s two side stages. Wake up each morning and wander over to the Strange Stage for coffee and great regional acts. The Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company Lake Stage will keep music flowing on the beach and at the waterpark all day Saturday. Aside from incredible music there are over 30 visual artists, 25+ vendors, free workshops, and great people all over the mountain. The New River Gorge in West Virginia is known around the world as a top-notch adventure sports destination featuring some of America’s best whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Mountain Music Festival attendees are smack in the middle of all this action and ACE has the best guides to get your adrenaline flowing in the outdoors. Take a half-day rafting trip down the river and experience over 20 rapids, scenic views, and finish your trip underneath the famous New River Gorge Bridge. This is the most popular activity and ACE’s guides have been leading trips for almost 40 years on this wild and wonderful river. This year’s lineup features rising Americana star Tyler Childers who is returning to the mountain after playing MMFest in 2017.  We really wanted to bring the festival back to its Americana roots so we setup a Friday night show that will compliment Childers nicely. Fellow Kentucky boys The Wooks and Justin Wells alongside Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound will all be supporting. Although not from Kentucky Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band will be bringing their fiery energy to mountaintop stage. Mountain Music Festival is truly a summertime music event like none other you have experienced. From the beautiful mountaintop camping, to the friendly welcoming vibes, and the amazing music all weekend this is the place to be May 30th  – June 2nd. Advance tickets are on sale now and you can save $20 OFF your festival pass with promo code BROLOVE. Make your plans, call off work, and tell your friends to join you on the mountain! This summer ACE Adventure Resort in the New River Gorge, West Virginia is gearing up for the 6th installment of Mountain Music Festival. This year’s weekend May 30th – June 2nd features four days full of great music, visual art, epic adventures, tasty food and craft brews. Advance tickets are on sale now and this is looking like the biggest MMFest yet. Find out why everyone who visits this festival falls in love. last_img read more

Chile and U.S. Agree to Cooperate on Security in Central America

first_img Chile and the United States are working together to strengthen their cooperation on citizen security issues in Central America, the senior State Department official responsible for Latin America, Arturo Valenzuela, declared on 12 January. “Very concretely, what’s being looked at is how to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in Central America. This has to do especially with citizen security issues,” the U.S. assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs said at a press conference. “For the United States, the Central American issue is very important right now,” he added, describing the issues discussed in his earlier meeting with the Chilean foreign minister, Alfredo Moreno, as part of an official visit to Chile. The official explained that the United States is already moving forward on these cooperation programs with Mexico and Colombia and is now seeking to expand them to Central America, where there are high levels of crime-related violence. By Dialogo January 14, 2011last_img read more

The Guerrillas’ Child Armies

first_imgBy Dialogo April 01, 2011 It is incredible that situations like this, which harm our children, are happening in this day and age. So, what’s going on with the International Organizations that were created to defend and protect children? Why aren’t they vigorously performing their work? Growing abuses by the Shining Path in Peru In Peru, the outlook is equally as bleak, with the recruitment of minors showing a similar rising trend despite the Convention on the Rights of the Child having been in effect since 1990. In addition, Peru is a signatory of the optional Protocol on the Convention on the Rights of the Child concerning child participation in armed conflicts, promoted by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Despite these agreements, terrorist groups ignore these international protections. The Peruvian terrorist group Shining Path, or SL, has approximately 300 people captive, including more than 70 children, according to the intelligence directorate of the Peruvian Ministry of the Interior. Various media in the country have also reported extensively on cases of SL kidnapping children. These children are abducted from their homes in Andean towns and forced to live in the jungle around the valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or vRAE, to be indoctrinated into the Maoist ideology and terrorist activities, according to Peruvian news site RPP Noticias. The articles and videos show children marching in unison to the sound of Maoist chants, while carrying weapons bigger than they are. In January of 2010, a joint operation between the Peruvian Armed Forces Joint Command, or CCFFAA, and the VRAE Special Command resulted in the rescue of a 9-year-old child from the hands of a SL camp in the VRAE. “Carlitos,” whose real identity has been protected, was found in extremely poor condition, having endured more than three years of physical and mental torture while in captivity. His body showed the marks of brutal beatings and burns to his feet and hands, inflicted by a SL militant known as “Camarada Sergio,” who was also captured during the operation. CCFFAA authorities transferred the boy to a children’s home run by the National Comprehensive Program for Family Welfare, or INABIF, since he did not know who his family was or where he came from. The home ordered that the boy receive urgent psychological care to treat the after effects of his experiences. In a TV report by Punto Final, INABIF psychologist Gianfranco vacchelli explained that Carlitos couldn’t put his experiences into words when he arrived, though he managed to depict them in drawings. The color red (for blood) was prominent in his drawings, which showed machetes and mutilated children, as well as images of his kidnapper killing another child and cutting off his limbs. Given the national outcry against the recruitment of minors in the country, UNICEF condemned illegal armed forces for their exploitation of minors, the international NGO Corresponsal de Paz (Correspondent of Peace) reported. In addition, in support of the VRAE Special Command, CCFFAA launched a campaign to rescue children kidnapped by SL. While U.N. Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflicts Radhika Coomaraswamy declared in September 2009 that there were some 250,000 minors involved in conflicts around the world, the NGO Save the Children estimates that today there are some 300,000 child soldiers in Latin America alone. Likewise, Coomaraswamy emphasized that governments, international agencies and nonstate actors have made relative progress in preventing the use of minors by terrorist groups and militias and that they are now more aware of the problems associated with the protection of minors in situations of conflict. In 2000, the U.N. General Assembly approved the optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflicts. While in 2005, the U.N. Security Council approved Resolution 1612 on reporting violations of children’s rights in armed conflicts. In a speech to the U.N. Security Council in April 2009, U.N. Secretary-General Bam Ki-moon called for compliance with the international humanitarian law for the protection of minors and for all civilians. He highlighted the need to hold violators responsible: “We must send a resounding message to the world that those who commit vicious crimes against children in conflict situations will be brought to justice,” he stated. The message is clear: New solutions are needed to counter the threats to children in conflict areas. Raising awareness, improving legal mechanisms and tools do not necessarily lead to actual change, said Coomaraswamy, who emphasized the need for action. “We have created national and international frameworks to protect the rights of children — now we need to implement them,” she said. The internal armed conflict in Colombia is increasingly destroying the lives of children, according to nongovernmental organizations working to protect minors in the country. The guerrilla war being carried out by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is not only affecting the livelihood of children in the remote areas where it operates, it is also enlisting them into its ranks as child soldiers. Likewise, the Peruvian terrorist group Shining Path follows similar practices, abusing Peruvian children through recruitment and violence. Seventeen thousand minors are involved in the conflict in 2011 according to Nuestra niñez Tarea sin fin (Our Children an Endless Task), a Colombian non-governmental organization, or NGO. Another NGO, the International Tribunal for Children affected by War and Poverty, estimates that 6,000 to 11,000 minors in Colombia were enlisted as child soldiers in 2009. Half are believed to be among the ranks of the FARC. “They are using children as young as 6 for intelligence work, laying anti-personnel mines and transporting explosives,” said Sergio Tapia, director of the State’s tribunal. These figures put Colombia in fifth place among countries where illegal armed forces recruit minors, according to Colombian magazine Cambio. Figures from the Colombian Humanitarian Aid for the Demobilized Program, or PAHD, however, reveal that the average recruitment age in the country is actually between 6 and 14 years old. According to León valencia, director of the NGO Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris (New Rainbow Corporation), terrorist groups are recruiting these youngsters to offset their militant casualties and defections. “New narco-paramilitaries need cheaper labor, and the easiest to exploit, use and discard are children,” according to a report by Colombian NGO Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento (Human Rights and Displacement Consultancy). The fact that these youngsters come from social backgrounds with little or no opportunities influences their decision to join the guerrilla ranks, seeing it as their only option for escape. Natalia Springer, a Colombian political analyst, reveals in the analysis “Combatant Prisoners” that more than 70 percent of demobilized minors interviewed confirmed having had no access to land, education or money in order to create a future for themselves. In fact, more than 80 percent of those interviewed stated that they received only a very basic formal education before joining the guerrillas. “The simple fact of living in an area of violence, being in a dysfunctional family environment subject to poverty, displacement and conflict over wealth, make children easy prey for war,” said Springer. A related consequence of recruitment is the forced prostitution of girls, Mauricio Romero of the New Rainbow Corporation stated in a report published in the Colombian magazine Semana. According to the ombudsman’s office of Colombia, 92 percent of girls who become pregnant while part of the guerrilla organizations are forced to have abortions. In a video published by the Colombian Ministry of Defense, a demobilized girl, with her face covered to protect her identity, said she joined the ranks of the FARC before the age of 14 and described the abuses she suffered. “There were these three guys, and the three of them grabbed me and raped me,’’ she said Later, she added, “They injected me with something and I started to feel these really horrible, horrible pains,” she said. “I started bleeding, I got ill … then they took me to a room where they performed an abortion on me. That’s nothing … after they took out the baby, they punished me severely.” Despite agreements signed in the late 1990s by the illegal Colombian armed groups the National Liberation Army, or ELN, and the FARC promising not to recruit minors under the age of 16 and 15, respectively, reports show that this practice not only continues but also is on the rise. last_img read more

OAS Summit in El Salvador to Highlight ‘Citizen Security’

first_imgBy Dialogo April 21, 2011 In the heart of San Salvador’s Parque Cuscutlán, the solemn Monumento a los Desparecidos [Monument to the Disappeared] bears the names of over 25,000 victims of El Salvador’s long-running civil war. The 85-meter wall of black granite stands as a stark reminder of this country’s violent past. “We come here every year on November 11, the day of the offensive, and also on November 2, the day of the dead,” said Carolina Solis, a middle-aged woman and staunch supporter of the Frente Farabundo Martí de Liberación Nacional (FMLN), the leftist rebel group whose successors are today running El Salvador. Solis was here to honor the memory of her brother, Edwin Omar Solis. The FMLN guerrilla was only 17 when he was killed in a 1989 battle in Nanastepeque, a tiny village in the department of Cabañas. Yet the country has made tremendous strides since then. A peace treaty in 1992 ended the 13-year civil war, which killed an estimated 75,000 people and created millions of refugees. The economy eventually rebounded, and in 2009, former journalist who became a member of the FMLN Mauricio Funes became president, defeating Rodrigo Avila of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) in balloting widely deemed to be free and fair. It marked the first time in 20 years ARENA had lost an election. On June 5, El Salvador will host the 41st General Assembly of the Organization of American States. The theme of the three-day gathering is “Citizen Security in the Americas,” coming little more than two months after the historic visit of U.S. President Barack Obama, who pledged $200 million to help El Salvador fight drug trafficking and gang violence. El Salvador’s minister of defense, David Mungía Payés, told journalists that the struggle waged by Mexican authorities to combat drug trafficking in that country poses one of Central America’s gravest threats.” “As you press on the north, the cartels strategically move south into Central America. The presence of the Los Zetas drug cartel in Guatemala is serious, and they are also in Honduras now,” he said at a recent press conference in San Salvador. In December, the government of Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom declared a state of siege in the department of Alta Verapaz, where Zeta smugglers have turned the area, near the border with Mexico, into a center of operations. Mungía Payés, underlining the gravity of the situation for all of Central America, warned that “Honduras has become the main route for drug traffickers” because the ongoing political crisis in that country “has led the Honduran government to focus more on political issues than security issues.” No wonder, then, that “citizen security” is the theme of the OAS General Assembly to take place in San Salvador. “Your choice of topic speaks of your understanding of what is important to the Americas,” said Albert Ramdin, assistant secretary general of the OAS, during a recent meeting in Washington with El Salvador’s foreign minister, Hugo Martínez. “Security and development are both issues of main concern for our people, and therefore the eyes of the world will be on El Salvador during the first week of June.” Ramdin added that “we should be proud that a country like El Salvador — a relatively small country but an important member of the OAS — makes itself available to host such a meeting, with all the costs it implies.” For his part, Martínez reaffirmed his country’s willingness “to strengthen the hemisphere and take concrete actions that benefit the peoples of the Americas, especially in an area that is very sensitive, such as security.” These days, El Salvador’s biggest problem is not political violence but rather rampant violence caused by drug traffickers that have terrorized the region. Even so, Funes —despite a struggling economy and rising crime — is still backed by some 79% of voters, making him Latin America’s most popular leader. One of those Salvadorans who support Funes is businessman Eduardo Quiñónez Caminos, a director at real-estate developer Grupo Agrisal. “This is the first time we have a leftist conservative government,” said Quiñonez, whose company owns the Crowne Plaza Hotel, official venue of the upcoming OAS meeting. “Most people expected a Marxist-Leninist approach to government after the FMLN came to power. But this president has proven that he’s not so left-wing. He’s more of a centrist, and he has the biggest popularity ratings of any president we’ve had in the past 20 years.” Asked what the biggest obstacle to doing business in El Salvador, Quiñonez replied “security” without any hesitation. “Our crime rates are still very high, and there’s a big problem with the maras [gangs],” he said. “The government is heading in the right direction with these issues, but of course it takes time to fight crime. Everybody feels threatened.” El Salvador — with the collaboration of the other Central American countries and the United States — is organizing an international conference directly after the OAS General Assembly to focus on regional security, Martínez said. The meeting will address issues such as finance, technology and cooperation in aviation and maritime patrols to intercept drug traffickers. “The U.S. has a specific vision for Central America. Before, this whole area was seen within the context of Plan Mérida, and Central America was diluted,” he explained. “We’ve always told them that if there’s a Plan Colombia in the south and a Plan Mérida in the north, then the pressure from both sides would push all the narcotraffickers towards the center.” The result has been a U.S. program called the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). Yet since that program’s establishment in 2008, funds allotted to CARSI’s seven members amount to around $260 million — less than one-fourth of Mexico’s share of counternarcotics assistance. The irony is that Central American nations have confiscated more than three times as much cocaine as confiscated in Mexico — about 100 metric tons per year. And the northern half of the isthmus, comprising Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, is now the most violent region in the world outside of active war zones. “We don’t only want to punish criminals, we also want a social development plan,” said Martínez. “Even though we must combat crime with all our strength, we must also generate opportunities for the new generation. If we don’t, they will become the perfect targets for criminals.”last_img read more

Uruguay: Cyber Security Best Practices

first_imgBy Dialogo October 01, 2012 Representatives of 18 nations gathered July 10-13, 2012, in Montevideo to coordinate and exchange cyber-security policies and best practices. The workshop was conducted by the Cyber Crime Working Group of the Organization of American States (OAS), the U.S. Departments of Justice and State, and the Uruguayan Agency for Electronic Government. All Spanish-speaking OAS members and Brazil took part. Participants from the public and private sectors and civil society broke into three simultaneous workshops to discuss incident response techniques, collaboration on cyber issues, and securing critical infrastructure and industrial control systems from cyber threats. At week’s end, the working group prepared a report that stated that fraud, money laundering, intellectual property and narcotrafficking are all related to the flow of information on the Web. Sources:, read more

Peru Empowered to Confront Drug Trafficking

first_imgBy Dialogo October 16, 2012 Ten military bases will be set up in Peru’s main coca producing valley in December, as part of a new government policy which is promoting a law to empower the Armed Forces in the fight against drug trafficking, a move considered risky by analysts. The ten bases will be located in the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro River Valley (VRAEM), a vast mountain region that extends from the southeastern jungle to the central jungle, where drug trafficking gangs operate jointly with remnants of the Shining Path guerrilla. On October 9, the Congressional Defense Committee approved a bill to eliminate constitutional obstacles in order to broaden the Armed Forces’ capacity to act, according to pro-government congressman José Urquizo, head of that parliamentary group. For his part, Prime Minister Juan Jiménez stated on October 12, that “a theater of operations of war is taking place in the VRAEM, where terrorists want to jeopardize the State, and this calls for the military intervention of the armed forces during a state of emergency.” In turn, Minister of Defense Pedro Cateriano, indicated that the government is confronting two enemies: “the Shining Path guerrillas and the drug traffickers that fund them. Together, they intend to weaken Peru’s democracy, and the government’s decision is to confront them.” Former antidrug czar during the current government Ricardo Soberón, said that “the tendency to militarize the fight against drug trafficking while strengthening the military institution instead of the civil sector is worrisome.” The expert indicated that the military influence is risky if not accompanied by other elements, such as “citizenry empowerment and democratic strengthening. But all this is missing in the government’s speech.” Soberón stated that the decision was influenced by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s official visit to Peru on October 6, during which he met with President Ollanta Humala.last_img read more