Wednesday, April 15, 2015
killed as protesters fired on a military unit. The marine died of a gunshot wound to the head in the April 13 incident. It wasn't the first Chilean casualty in Haiti. In 2012, another sergeant was gunned down outside a bar, and a soldier committed suicide while on leave. The latest death was the first as a result of political violence, and it comes at a time when Chile and other nations are running out of patience with the 11-year-old Haiti mission. Argentina has already announced a sharp reduction in its Haiti forces. In social media, Chileans are urging to bring the boys back home. Among politicians, there is growing skepticism. In May 2014, Chile authorized a one-year extension of its participation in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH. With that authorization nearing an end, Chile may find itself ready to withdraw. There are political and military reasons for getting involved in peacekeeping missions. Multinational deployments increase cooperation among countries and nations earn a bit of global goodwill for helping out in areas of crisis. For the military, peacekeeping can provide training and a legitimate role for troops. Even if Chile pulls out of Haiti, it seems committed to peacekeeping. It has a training facility for peacekeepers and it formed a joint task force with Argentina. Countries agree to provide troops for "blue helmet" missions with the assumption that risks will be lower than in combat. But casualties do occur. The UN lists 67 deaths of military personnel and 33 police who have served with MINUSTAH.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
|Trading rifles for shovels|
Sunday, March 29, 2015
The arduous job of clearing Chile's minefields reached a milestone this month, when Isla Grande in Tierra Del Fuego was declared free of landmines. But the achievement also served as a reminder of just how much more work is still needed to rid the country of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. After clearing more than 96,000 anti-personnel mines, the task is barely half completed. In the far south region of Magallanes, 78% of mines are gone. The minefields near the borders with Peru and Bolivia are farther behind. Still, Chile has a target date of 2020 to complete the job, which is obligated to perform as a signer of the Ottawa Convention. The mines were Chile's answer to the threat of war with Argentina in 1978, when Argentina had a far superior military and Chile was coping simultaneously with a threatened attack from Peru. The crises eventually abated, but the landmines remain a legacy of those tense days. Traditionally, mines have served the weaker armies with an effective way to confront adversaries. Mines have a deleterious effect on maneuver forces, if not a lethal one. At least the problem is manageable in Chile, which charted all of its minefields. In many other countries, it's anyone's guess where mines have been laid.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The Air Force is making some modest acquisitions, including two or three Black Hawk helicopters and jet engines for the F-16 fighter. The commander of the Third Air Brigade in Puerto Montt confirmed the helicopters would be added to the single Black Hawk that FACh already operates out of that base. That helicopter, of the S-70A-39 version, was acquired in 1998. Chile did not exercise options to acquire 11 more, leaving it the only Black Hawk in the Air Force inventory, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The commander did not say what country is selling the helicopters, and there's no confirmation from the Pentagon. The U.S. Defense Dept. did list a contract to Pratt & Whitney to rebuild F110 engines, the type used in the F-16, for Chile. The contract is part of a modernization program for the front-line fighter fleet.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
|More women rush to recruitment tables|