Military Exercises in Latin America: April through May

This post was compiled by WOLA Intern Caroline Buhse. 

  • Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and Panama, April - October: Continuing Promise: USNS Comfort deploying to Latin America
    Purpose of Exercise: Mission is "to increase unity, security and stability, foster partnerships, and improve the lives of many in the region." Focus on humanitarian assistance, subject matter exchanges, medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support and disaster response.
    Participating Militaries: U.S. and local countries.
    Partnered with local governments, medical professionals, militaries and NGOs.
  • Brazil, March 30-April 1: U.S. Navy and Brazilian Navy Operational Naval Committee (ONC) conference
    Purpose of Exercise: Annual conference to plan exercises and theater security cooperation events that the two navies will carry out the next year.
    Participating Militaries: U.S., Brazil.
  • Brazil, March 30-April 1: Navy Representatives of seven countries gathered to plan UNITAS exercises.
    Purpose of Exercise: UNITAS will occur in November, and involve participation by Brazil, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Senegal, Honduras, Cameroon and the United States Navy. The purpose of the conference was to plan the exercises' activities and logistics. 
    Participating Militaries: Brazil, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Senegal, Honduras, Cameroon and the United States Navy. All but one of these states were at the Brazil meeting. Source documents did not name the one that did not attend. 
    "The annual UNITAS exercise series, which consists of two phases - Atlantic and Pacific - supports the U.S. Maritime Strategy, by bringing partner nation navies together to improve interoperability and build working relationships at sea." 
  • El Salvador, April through June 2015: Beyond the Horizon Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE)
    Purpose of Exercise: Construct schools and medical clinics. Provide medical and veterinary care, including hepatitis and tetanus vaccinations, and optometry and dental work. 
    Participating Militaries: U.S., El Salvador.
    U.S. engineers, doctors, and military personnel work together on building three schools and a new medical clinic. Collaboration with local and international organizations. Described as a "military to military presence." At the request of the Salvadoran government, U.S. military personnel work with the Ministries of Health and education to identify areas in need of public health assistance. Many mentions of improving the military relationship.
    Source | Source | Source
  • Haiti, April 8-9: Human Rights Initiative organized by U.S. Southern Command's Human Rights Office, Center for Human Rights Training, and Security Cooperation Office-Haiti
    Purpose of Exercise: Focus on reduction of violence against women, specifically sexual abuse.
    Participating Militaries: Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States.
    Participating agencies and organizations included the U.S. Department of State (DoS), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Haitian Council of Non State Actors (CONHANE), the Centre for Research, Economic and Social Development Training (CRESFED), the National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH), and the Center for Human Rights Training, a Costa Rica-based human rights NGO that serves as the HRI Secretariat.
  • Honduras, April 20-24: Centam Smoke
    Purpose of Exercise: Multinational firefighter training, with the U.S. and six Central American states participating.
    Participating Militaries: U.S., Costa Rica, and five other unnamed Central American states.
    Exercises involved mobile aircraft fires, car and helicopter burns, medical instruction, structural burns and UH-60 Blackhawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopter familiarization training.
  • Honduras, April 22-25: MEDRETE
    Purpose of Exercise: Provide medical assistance including preventative medicine, dental, primary care and pharmacy services.
    Participating Militaries: U.S. Southern Command's Honduras-based Joint Task Force-Bravo, Honduran medical providers.
  • Brazil, last week of April: U.S. Air Force Medical team Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE)
    Purpose of Exercise: SMEE focused on Expeditionary Medical Support training, and best practices. 
    Participating Militaries: US, Brazil.
  • Dominican Republic, May 12-14: Human Rights Initiative (HRI) Seminar
    Purpose of Exercise: U.S. Southern Command's Human Rights Office and the Dominican military met in Santo Domingo to focus on four areas of human rights training for militaries: doctrine, education and training, internal control systems, and cooperation with civilian authorities.
    Participating Militaries: U.S., Dominican Republic.
    "The HRI is a SOUTHCOM-sponsored program, began in 1997, which brings together representatives of military, security forces, civilian government and civil society in 11 nations to develop a model human rights program for military forces."
  • Brazil, press release published on May 20: U.S. and Brazilian Air Force exchange on search-and-rescue best practices
    Purpose of Exercise: Improve search-and-rescue abilities in both states, and improve relationship between Brazilian and U.S. Air Forces. Part of a continual SMEE engagement with partner countries.
    Participating Militaries: U.S., Brazil.
    Involved the Air Forces Southern's 347th Rescue Group and 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron.
  • Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Late May through November: Special-Purpose Marine, Air, Ground Task Force-SOUTHCOM (SPMAGTF-SC) deployment to Central America 
    Purpose of Exercise: Majority of the unit will be based at Honduras' Soto Cano airbase. The unit is on hand in the case of a major disaster. Its deployment coincides with hurricane season. 
    Participating Militaries: U.S., host-nation militaries.
    180 of 280 will remain at the Soto Cano airbase in Comayagua, Honduras, and the remaining 100 will be dispersed among Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras conducting training and security cooperation engagements. 
  • Caribbean Regional, May 31 - July 16: Tradewinds 2015
    Purpose of Exercise: Involves maritime and land operations taking place in St. Kitts and Nevis, then Belize, and later in Miami. Goal is to increase regional cooperation in multinational security operations, and disaster response. Includes human rights trainings. Purpose of exercise is to improve Caribbean nations' ability to respond to natural disasters, as well as land and maritime threats, including drug trafficking. 
    Participating Militaries: 18 nations in the region.
    Participating regional organizations include the Regional Security System (RSS), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Caribbean Disaster Response Unit (CRDU), CARICOM (IMPACS), and the Regional Intelligence Fusion Center (RIFC). Organizations include the Regional Security System (RSS), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Caribbean Disaster Response Unit (CRDU), CARICOM (IMPACS), and the Regional Intelligence Fusion Center (RIFC).
    Source | Source