By U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Bureau of Public Affairs June 22, 2020 The U.S. Air Force will temporarily deploy four aircraft and crews to Curaçao to support enhanced counternarcotics operations with international partners targeting illicit traffickers in the Caribbean.Two patrol aircraft, an E-3 Sentry (AWACS) and E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS), supported by two KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft, will fly detection and monitoring missions in international airspace to help U.S. and international law enforcement authorities disrupt and defeat transnational criminal organizations trafficking illegal narcotics in the region. Approximately 200 airmen, including aircrews, maintenance technicians, logisticians, and administrative personnel will support the operation.The aircraft will operate from the Curaçao-hosted Cooperative Security Location (CSL), also commonly referred to as a forward operating location, in Willemstad. U.S. Air Force aircraft have previously conducted similar missions from the CSL under a counternarcotics partnership agreement with the governments of Curaçao and the Kingdom of the Netherlands dating back two decades.Curaçao is a committed regional partner whose longstanding support for multinational counter-drug operations plays a vital role in stemming the flow of deadly narcotics trafficked globally by violent criminal organizations.The United States announced the enhanced counternarcotics operations April 1. Since then, the U.S. has collaborated with international partners in more than a dozen Caribbean interdiction events.To date, U.S. enhanced counternarcotics operations have resulted in the seizure of more than 49 metric tons of cocaine and almost 13,000 pounds of marijuana, an estimated loss of $1.2 billion to transnational criminal organizations. Law enforcement authorities have also detained more than 160 drug smugglers during the operations.This deployment demonstrates U.S. Southern Command’s enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with its partners. Twenty-two countries support counternarcotics efforts as part of Joint Interagency Task Force South. Committed nations contributing to the international effort have been involved in 75 percent of drug interdictions this year.For decades, transnational criminal organizations have sought to exploit the Caribbean region to traffic narcotics, mainly cocaine, to the United States, Europe, and other destinations worldwide. International cooperation against drug trafficking activities in the region denies criminal organizations the ability to establish a foothold, threaten citizen security, and undermine lawful communities in the Caribbean.
NZ Herald 13 Oct 2012Every time I read a report on poverty in New Zealand I wonder whether I’m living in the same country. Do those who are hammering our social conscience with “child poverty” at the moment know anybody in the statistics they study?The experts are invariably academics who have read a lot of other academic work on the subject but their reports leave me with a sense that all of their work is done at a desk.They believe, and want me to believe, there is a large and growing section of New Zealand society, mostly right here in Auckland, living a wretched and desperately unjust existence out of my sight.Newspapers always try to turn these reports into a story with more impact by looking for real living, breathing examples of the problem. The results are usually disappointing.If the search turns up a truly squalid case there is something in the circumstances that doesn’t evoke unqualified sympathy, so more often the published example is a clean and tidy young family that is having a struggle but is getting there.The latter, I suspect, really is the typical picture of so-called “poverty” in New Zealand and the term is wrong.It is not the way these people would describe themselves. It is insulting them and misleading the rest of us.An Expert Advisory Group assembled by the Children’s Commissioner this year has produced a report that finds (statistically) about 270,000 New Zealand children living below “recognised poverty thresholds”.That is a lot of children – about one in four of all the kids in the country. You would think everyone would see them, even those of us who live comfortably off in different parts of town.Well, I think we do see them. The Expert Advisory Group says half of the 270,000 children it calls poor are cared for by sole-parents. Just about all of us these days, no matter where we live, know sole-parents.The divorce rate has been so high in our generation that I’d wager all of us have or have had at least one family member who has brought up children on the domestic purposes benefit.We are probably full of admiration and respect for them. We haven’t pried, but the benefit and accommodation grants and whatever they earned on the side seemed to be enough to get by.The kids were well fed, their clothes were clean and not ragged. The house was warm, the children had medicine when they needed it. They went to school every day, played sport, had pets, watched too much television.Admittedly, they probably had grandparents and an extended family that made up for some of the extras the benefit wouldn’t reach. They would be taken on family holidays, shouted the cost of school trips, birthdays and Christmas would be generous. Income statistics don’t measure these things.All of these children are poor by academic definition if their home receives less than 60 per cent of the median household’s disposable income after rent or mortgage payments.The median must have risen quite sharply in the past 40 years because women entered the workforce in the 1970s and ever since, the two-income household has been the norm. When that trend is combined with a high divorce rate children of sole parents are doubly worse off.Not all of them will have supportive grandparents and wider families. How many? Where are they? Can Whanau Ora help them? I’ve looked in vain for answers in the experts’ report and some of its working papers.They are more interested in statistical abstractions and blanket solutions such as paying a benefit for young children to all parents, rich or poor, increases in family tax allowances and free meals in low decile schools.John Key, who was raised by a sole parent, dismissed the free lunch this week. He doesn’t believe all those children need one. He would sooner leave it to the schools to decide whether food is really the best use of their decile funds.Maybe the schools will put that question to the parents who supposedly can’t afford to provide a child with breakfast and a packed lunch.A few weeks ago the hungry pupils story sent TV3’s Campbell Live on one of those classic quests to turn a problem into real people.Having found very few packed lunches in a low decile classroom the programme went out and accosted a few of the class at a local dairy on their way to school.Two of them were spending money on chips and coke. One had $20. This may be a problem but it is not obviously one of income.We all know families that get by on existing benefits. If some can do it, why not all? If the experts would face that question they could do the children some good.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/social-issues/news/article.cfm?c_id=87&objectid=10840193 read more