Key leaders from the U.S. Army of the South and the armies of the partner countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras participated in the Central America Task Force, or CENTAM Task Force, which was held practically from August 24 to 28.
The CENTAM working group provides the Army of the South and its partners with a forum to strengthen professional relations and improve the capabilities of land forces. Maintaining strong relationships is a cornerstone of Army South’s commitments.
“This will be the first time that we have developed a program similar to the army staff talks but with several countries,” said Marco V. Rosito, head of Central America and the Caribbean, Cooperation Directorate. in terms of security of the southern army. “The great success is above all our ability to come together to work, coordinate and synchronize our activities, objectives and initiatives between countries. Some of them bilaterally between us and a partner country and others bilaterally between two partner countries.
During the multi-day forum, each country presented an overview of its military, security challenges and opportunities, as well as potential areas for regional collaboration identified over the next five years.
Each of the staff representatives involved stressed the importance of the working group and the importance of working together to build capacity.
“I am very grateful to you for exchanging ideas, words and concerns with the aim of trying to improve our countries. It is very important that we see our countries, not as one country, but rather as one nation, a nation called “America”, ”said Honduran Army Colonel José Antonio Reyes.
Guatemalan army colonel Aramis Rosalío Fuentes Orozco, head of the Guatemalan delegation, echoed the same sentiment about the importance of the event.
“These last three days have been very productive because we have been able to express ourselves and tackle different topics, different problems that we share in common,” said Orozco. “I repeat the words of my brothers in Honduras where they have already indicated that we want to come together because these problems do not belong to one, they belong to all of us. And if we are united, we will be able to achieve our goal, which is to prevent the illicit traffic that crosses Central America. “
Speaking on behalf of his country’s army, Colonel Héctor Samuel Reyes Martínez, director of operations of the Salvadoran army and head of the Salvadoran delegation, thanked the planners of the Southern Army for organizing the the event.
“We are grateful to have participated in this very valuable opportunity to exchange our knowledge with all our sister countries as we continue to fight against criminal organizations and entities. At the same time, we would like to thank the US military for providing this wonderful tool to organize these meetings, ”Martinez said.
At the end of the event, U.S. Army Col. Jeffrey Lopez, Director of Army South’s Security Cooperation Division, congratulated attendees and thanked them for agreeing to come together to defend and deter threats in the Western Hemisphere.
“I totally agree with each of your comments. It’s important what you said, “one America, one team”. Because everything we do as a military is in defense of our nation, ”Lopez said. “We therefore consider our relations with our neighbors in Central America as a means of strengthening our defense, of defending our homeland. As you said, we are one America, and it is extremely important that we have strong relationships within our own neighborhood.
Following the CENTAM working group, staff members will continue to develop the areas identified for cooperation until February 2021, when senior leaders representing the four armies will meet in El Salvador to validate and confirm the five-year activities during the period. of the directors’ meeting.
“This meeting is proof that even if we work separately, we can still come together to accomplish our mission and protect our countries,” said Rosito.