By Marcos Ommati/Diálogo September 25, 2017 In March 2017, Peru was impacted by El Niño Costero, a weather event characterized by an unusual heating of the ocean along the coast of Peru and Ecuador. In Peru, the phenomenon affected more than a million people nationwide and left more than 100 dead. Despite the tragedy, Peru co-hosted the 2017 South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC) along with the United States, through U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). Peruvian Minister of Defense Jorge Nieto Montesinos addressed the participants during the opening ceremony. Diálogo took the opportunity to speak with him about some national security issues.Diálogo: Many of the countries present at SOUTHDEC helped Peru with its humanitarian aid efforts after El Niño Costero.Peruvian Minister of Defense Jorge Nieto Montesinos: I want to thank them for that, and I want to thank all of the countries as well as the government, but also everyone here who helped us during the emergency this summer, giving us aid and sending us materials; for example, equipment to be able to respond to the emergency that we had to face in that moment. And I want to reiterate that your aid was very useful and that our Armed Forces and our entire government were able to effectively use it to benefit our people.Diálogo: How is the Ministry of Defense participating in the reconstruction phase?Minister Nieto: We have been very proud of the involvement of our Armed Forces during the response to El Niño Costero. Admiral [José] Paredes, [the chief of the Peruvian Armed Forces Joint Command] is with me on that. He was the one who led the operation for the deployment of troops at that time. Now we are in the reconstruction phase. We are helping with the work we were asked to help with. We are waiting for the process to move forward, for the project to develop further, and we will be expecting to participate in whatever ways we are asked to.Diálogo: What is the significance for Peru of jointly organizing the South American Defense Conference with the United States?Minister Nieto: In the first place, I want to express my gratitude that on this occasion this meeting is taking place in our country. It is a show of friendship and also of trust in the possibility of appropriately doing the work involved in organizing a meeting like this. The meeting, which begins today, is extremely important. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss experiences relating to issues of terrorism, the issue of cyber defense, and issues concerning trafficking, particularly drug trafficking. The experiences our various countries have had in facing these problems are gathered, knowledge is exchanged, and thus we try to improve the capacities of our Armed Forces in order to confront the problems they may be faced with.Diálogo: Are these new problems or threats?Minister Nieto: Just a few years ago, we thought we were entering a much safer world, but a decade, a decade-and-a-half later, that is not the reality. We have the same uncertainties as we had in the past, but they may have changed. Add to that a new kind of uncertainty, and as an old author says, those uncertainties were part of our lack of knowledge about the world. These uncertainties are often the result of our knowledge of the world. The problem that typifies this is global climate change, which stems solely from the actions of humankind and from our capacity for development applied to production without the controls necessary to avoid that aspect of the problem – the environment in which we live. And as such, these new uncertainties that often stem from our knowledge have to be studied from every perspective, given that they are global problems. And these global problems are seen in every corner of the world and therefore generate many perspectives through which to see them. Therefore, we need meetings like this one that allow for an exchange, analysis, and evolution, because we are facing problems that are often new or old problems that have taken on a new form, but about which we are receiving information, having experiences, and getting knowledge every day that needs to be put on the table and exchanged so that we all learn together and so that we are all able to find appropriate ways of making our world more secure.Diálogo: What are the Ministry of Defense and the Peruvian Armed Forces doing to decrease the production of coca in Peru?Minister Nieto: The issue of drug trafficking is an issue for our National Police, which is making enormous efforts to combat it. Our Armed Forces, especially in the Valley of the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro rivers [VRAEM, per its Spanish acronym], have a responsibility, and we support the work of our National Police. They are using every measure necessary to keep it under control. As you know, the problem of cocaine trafficking is not a problem that has only a political solution or only a military solution. There is a set of problems that have to be faced and addressed to be able to reduce cocaine trafficking: from the issue of the global demand that exists for this type of product to everything having to do with the supply of chemical products necessary for its production, or the flow of money through financial channels that allows for specifically controlling this process – this international criminal activity. Our Armed Forces are permanently engaged in this. We have just received various reports on this from VRAEM, and we are working hard on it. So much so, that the problem is beginning to evolve in our country, and areas where the work of criminal groups was mostly based are now being displaced to other areas around the country. We are also working to stay up to date on this. Recently, we had a conversation with Brazilian Minister of Defense [Raul Jungmann] about this issue, to work together in a combined way along our shared border, taking charge of this problem because it is a transnational problem.Diálogo: Is there still a Shining Path presence in VRAEM?Minister Nieto: What we have in VRAEM is the remains of, what is left over from what was once the Shining Path. In reality, it is a family clan, the Quispe Palomino family clan, which has now left behind practically any strategy for power and has basically devoted itself to providing cover and travel services to drug trafficking gangs. So we still have the problem, it’s there. The geographic setting in VRAEM is very complicated. It is a very complex jungle, very intricate, with many geographic complications. They are basically all in one area, and we are working on that. We are working to contain their activities.
House urges govt to resume deliberation of controversial bills that triggered massive protests last year
House of Representatives lawmakers have urged the government to resume deliberation of the controversial revisions to the Criminal Code and the 1995 Corrections Law despite the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.In a hearing on Monday, members of the House’s Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, questioned Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly over the government’s seriousness regarding the two bills, both of which were proposed by the government. Commission III chairman and Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Herman Hery cited the recent passing of a controversial revision to the Coal and Mineral Mining Law as an “inspiration” for the commission to pass the two bills.Commission III deputy chairman Adies Kadir echoed Herman’s comments.Read also: Activists, experts caution against slapdash reform to tackle prison overcrowding“We must resolve the controversy. After all, there has been another bill that was passed despite [public] concerns,” the Golkar Party politician said. Deliberation of the bills was postponed last September following massive student protests in Jakarta and other regions. The students had demanded that the bills be rejected, saying that they were a threat to democracy.Yasonna said he agreed with resuming deliberation but would ask President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s approval first.“I’m ready should the House agree to resume, but I will ask for the President’s approval […] I will officially ask the President’s directions,” Yasonna said.Read also: NasDem calls for fresh start in Criminal Code revision deliberationsThe lawmakers also agreed to ask the House leadership to write a letter to the President to submit a new presidential letter (Surpres) instructing the House to restart the deliberation process.United Development Party (PPP) lawmaker Arsul Sani said the delay in deliberations had hindered the lawmakers’ work in Commission III for almost 10 months, adding that the two bills were on the House’s 2020 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas).“We cannot move on to deliberate other bills, such as the Constitutional Court bill and a bill on judges’ term of office that were initiated by the House,” he said.Topics :
As the writers of ?Point-counterpoint,? Mike Ackerstein and Tyler Mason argued what was the best sport movie (?Point-counterpoint: Best sports movie ever,? Feb. 20). Ackerstein believed it was “Field of Dreams,” and Mason believed it to be the “Sandlot.” Both movies make good candidates, and I have watched them many times. The scene where Ray Kinsella plays catch with his father is very emotional, but there is a better sports movie that has yet to be brought up. That movie is “Remember the Titans.” The reason I believe that it is the greatest ever is that it combines so many elements.The first element has to be the racial boundaries that were very real in the early ?70s. Combining a black high school with a white high school had to be almost impossible then. Not only did the students have to intermix, but the teachers and coaches had to accept the changes as well. The pressures of these racial tensions lead to the football field, where T. C. Williams’ newest head coach ? Herman Boone, who is black?had just replaced Bill Yoast, who was white and was slotted to be inducted to the high school coaches? hall of fame. Eventually, they find out that they are much better together then they are segregated. I still remember the scene when they come out for warm-ups, dancing and singing as one.After overcoming the huge obstacle of racial tensions, the T.C. Williams football team had to overcome hardship as well, when star linebacker Gary Bertier is paralyzed in a car crash after the team wins. This brings the team even closer together as they realize how precious life is. Being an underdog is a role that many sports movies use to create a plot around, but “Remember the Titans” uses this as little as possible. Once losing Bertier to injury, the team is still able to win the state championship.The music that is used throughout the movie incorporates the attitudes at the time. Trevor Rabin was the music director of “Remember the Titans,” and he did an amazing job incorporating the music into the setting. The scene in which the team sings “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” together in the locker room can still be pictured in my mind.The acting in “Remember the Titans” that is done by Denzel Washington and Will Patton can easily be compared to the acting of Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. The acting in ?Sandlot? cannot compare to “Remember the Titans” and “Field of Dreams,? as the names of the actors easily eclipse “Sandlot.” Where “Field of Dreams” loses points on my rating scale is that it cannot connect with everyone, whereas “Remember the Titans” leaves almost everyone accounted for.Overall, my opinion in the end is still just an opinion. I believe that everyone should be able to decide what the greatest sport movie happens to be. I believe this is why Mike Ackerstein and Tyler Mason write these articles to get people thinking about their own personal opinions.Taylor IacarellaUW [email protected]