Newsletter: The INL Beat, Summer 2009
In This Issue:
INL Helps Lead Interagency Investigator Training Surge for Mexican Federal Police
The U.S. Embassy Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) Mexico coordinators and contractors have been embedded with SSP officials for the past month to shape a five-week course that will cover forensics, investigative techniques, surveillance, interviewing, and crime scene management at the SSP base at San Luis Potosi. It will follow a seven-week basic police training course that the SSP will teach to the new recruits in universities around Mexico City. The connection with universities, and the intake of large numbers of university graduates into the federal police, is a key part of the vision of Public Security Secretary Garcia Luna, who wants a police force that is not only well trained and properly vetted, but which is a part of mainstream society.
At the inaugural ceremony for the new course, attended by 12 members of Embassy Law Enforcement agencies, 1,500 new recruits were formed at the SSP Command Center of Iztapalapa in suburban Mexico City, an impressive gathering not only for the numbers but the quality of the new officers. In addition to comments by Secretary Garcia Luna, President Calderon in a video feed told the new recruits that the promulgation of the new police law and the inauguration of the new course, would be a new era for Mexico’s police. One of the several university rectors who spoke said that his daughter called him recently from Ciudad Juarez with the news that she was joining the new investigative police. He said, perhaps this time things really would be different and Mexico will develop a capable federal police force that can turn the corner on increasing cartel violence. The NAS team, which in addition to the trainers and coordinators, includes an essential back office staff of accountants, procurement specialists, and program assistants, feels privileged to be in on this historic effort from the beginning.
Afghan Humanitarian Mission
Merida Prison Reform Program Underway
“INL, through a Memorandum of Understanding with the New Mexico Corrections Department, is training and mentoring prison staff from Mexico at the NMCD Training Academy in Santa Fe.”
INL, through a Memorandum of Understanding with the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD), is training and mentoring prison staff from Mexico at the NMCD Academy in Santa Fe. Using an INL/Government of Mexico approved curriculum, the courses are being taught by NMCD certified instructors.
On Friday April 24, 2009, the first class of twenty-four federal correctional instructors from Mexico (22 men and 2 women) graduated from NMCD Training Academy in Santa Fe, New Mexico. These officers are now working as the initial cadre of instructors at Mexico’s federal corrections academy in Xalapa, Veracruz.
The Mexican instructor candidates began their six-week training class at the NMCD Training Academy on March 16. They received basic instruction for four weeks, defensive tactics instructor course for one week, and during the final week, train-the- trainer instruction. Dignitaries from Mexico and the U.S. Department of State were present for the graduation ceremony.
While the corrections instructor candidates were training in New Mexico, 22 personnel from Mexico’s prisoner classification section were in Colorado participating in training on the latest in modern prisoner classification and intake systems. Like that in New Mexico, this training was provided through a Memorandum of Understanding between Colorado and INL. At the conclusion of the training on May 1, 2009, these 22 personnel returned to Mexico where they began work on reforming the current classification and intake systems.
Additional training to support the Merida Initiative’s prison reform program is scheduled to occur in New Mexico and Colorado throughout the remainder of 2009. In addition to this training, INL is providing mentoring programs in Mexico and Central America through the recent deployment of two corrections program coordinators. One coordinator is based in Mexico and the other is based in Honduras.
Women’s Sewing Project Begins for Recovering Drug Addicts in Kandahar
“Significantly, the 60 women who attended the first two courses all have remained drug-free since graduating.”
Throughout the course, the CNAT Gender Affairs Officer will give daily educational presentations on the harmful impact of drug cultivation, distribution and abuse, sharing messages with the women to take back to their families and communities.
Upon graduating, participants will receive sewing machines, fabric, thread and other supplies to enable them to start their own tailoring businesses. In addition, CNAT will give the graduates basic household items such as blankets, cooking supplies, cleaning supplies and backpacks for their children.
This is the third sewing project in Kandahar. Jointly funded by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and INL, and organized by CNAT, the roughly $7,000 project has been hugely successful, inspiring similar projects in Helmand and other provinces.
Last year, Kandahar participants made 660 school uniforms over the duration of the two-month course. Significantly, the 60 women who attended the first two courses all have remained drug-free since graduating.
CNAT Background: Launched in 2006, the Counternarcotics Advisory Team (CNAT) program is a year-round campaign that aims to reduce poppy cultivation by conducting local outreach activities and providing direct support to Governors in seven key provinces (Badakhshan, Balkh, Farah, Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Uruzgan), which together account for over 90 percent of Afghan poppy. Teams rely on Afghan officers to conduct outreach, provide cultural and language knowledge, and work within traditional leadership structures. Building Afghan ownership and investment in the fight against drugs, from the bottom up, is at the heart of the CNAT model and represents the way forward for our greater counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan.
OAS Drug Commission Plans Review of Strategy and Work Plan
The 34 Commissioners at the gathering in Washington, D.C., agreed to review and update the Hemispheric Drug Strategy and the CICAD plan of action in accord with the finding of a similar exercise conducted under the auspices of the U.N.’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). Brazil will spearhead this effort beginning with an experts meeting this September in Sao Paulo.
Johnson, who heads the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, expressed the United States’ firm support for CICAD policies and programs, noting the Administration’s keen interest in using drug awareness, treatment and rehabilitation programs to best advantage and especially in terms of update scientific findings. “It is timely to reflect on CICAD’s direction for the next decade, against the backdrop of the policies and agreements embodied in the hemispheric documents as well as through the United Nations,” Johnson said.
INL’s Assistant Secretary will assume chairmanship of the CICAD Commission at its November 2009 meeting in Miami, Florida, the first time the U.S. has held this leadership role in the Commission’s 22-year history. The November meeting will be supported by Suriname as the vice chair.
Better Living Through Sports
Sports help maintain mental and physical health, and exercise is important for the development of young people. The Embassy organized three programs focused on sports that the United States and Bolivia have in common.
In the first program, the Embassy brought two soccer experts to work with young players and their coaches in La Paz, El Alto, and Yungas.
In the second program, the Embassy worked with baseball players in Tarija along with the active participation of the Embassy’s Military Group members.
In the third program, the Charge d’Affaires, Krishna Urs, led dozens of Embassy employees and their family members on a 160 kilometer bicycle ride on the road between Potosi and Sucre. The group stopped in two small towns along the way to play friendly games of soccer, and to give bicycles and art supplies donated by INL’s Narcotics Affairs Section of the Embassy to the winners of a painting contest called “A Healthy Life Through Sports.”
|Narcotics Affairs Section Opens in Juba|
Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security also visited Juba along with Charge D’Affaires a.i. from Khartoum, Mark Asquino and toured Juba’s police training facility accompanied by Major General Marol Makur, SSPS Director of Training. They met with over 300 police recruits in open-air classrooms. Recruits in Rumbek demonstrated their parade maneuvers during a recent visit by the INL team. INL Juba is currently working with International Donors in building a training compound outside of Juba to alleviate crowding in the current facility.
INL Juba also has police training advisors in Rumbek and Bor, both remote locations with little or no infrastructure. Classroom training is conducted outside under “tukels” often with only straw roofs. Since sanitation conditions are poor and many recruits are in ill health, INL Juba must focus on improving health and hygiene conditions before moving into literacy programs and basic police training.