Guatemalan and U.S. Troops Team Up to Provide Health Services to Citizens

first_imgThe Mountain Operations Brigade is providing security, logistical support, and facilities to U.S. personnel, who are administering medical and dental services to thousands of Guatemalans via three Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETEs). The Guatemalan Military is also serving as the liaison to San Marcos’s residents throughout Beyond the Horizon 2016 , which will benefit 100,000 people in the Central American country. The MEDRETEs are providing free medical exams, which include pediatric, optometry, dermatology, gynecology, and cardiovascular services to patients in Aldea Villa Hermosa, Esquipulas Palo Gordo, San Pablo, La Blanca, and San Marcos. Doctors are aided by a clinical analysis laboratory. Guatemala’s Armed Forces and the United States also cooperate to fight organized crime by conducting joint training operations and maritime interdiction missions. The Guatemalan government, which views international cooperation as a key component of its national security strategy, is working with member countries of the Central American Armed Forces Conference, the Inter-American Defense Board, and the Organization of American States. “For these communities, poppy production represents their livelihood,” Maj. Gen. Bor stated. “As the state, we have to go in, attack the activity properly, and bring other satisfactory ways for them to be able to survive. It’s not an easy task.” Security and logistics Beyond the Horizon is also educational for Guatemala’s Armed Forces. “We are learning much as well. SOUTHCOM’s help allows us to take stock of what the communities’ needs are,” Maj. Gen. Bor said. “Reducing conflict and curbing illegal activity are essential to be able to satisfy the needs that these communities have. Education, health, and safety are equal to development.” History of cooperation By Dialogo May 16, 2016 “Brazil has Military personnel working in our country on education issues,” Maj. Gen. Bor explained. “A team of Colombian Military personnel deployed in Guatemala deals with questions of how to fight drug trafficking. Our allies are ready to cooperate.” Five hundred members from the Guatemalan Army’s Mountain Operations Brigade, which is based in San Marcos, joined 400 U.S. Military members from all branches of the Armed Forces for the exercise that will run from February 24th-July 3rd. The U.S. contingent is relieved every 22 days “as a display of support and commitment to our country,” the Mountain Operations Brigade’s Commander, Major General Byron René Bor Illescas, told Diálogo. This exercise gives U.S. Troops valuable training to hone the skills they rely on during combat. Troops receive training in engineering, medicine, and logistics by working on construction projects that include building community centers, schools, health clinics, and water wells in underdeveloped communities, Diálogo reported in March. center_img The civilian population has a high level of trust in the Armed Forces. “ The presence of the Army in the fields of public safety, humanitarian relief, and many other fields is accepted and appreciated by the civilian population,” Maj. Gen. Bor said. “Fortunately, we have 85 percent acceptance of Guatemalans.” Guatemala’s Armed Forces and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) are working together to provide free health services to residents in the department of San Marcos through the humanitarian exercise “Beyond the Horizon 2016 . The joint exercise is part of SOUTHCOM’s Humanitarian and Civic Assistance (HCA) program, an annual initiative that provides medical, dental, and engineering services in Central and South American and Caribbean countries that need social and economic development. Guatemala has a close and ongoing cooperative relationship with the United States. “Relations are at the highest point in their history,” Maj. Gen. Bor stated. “We have open cooperation. It’s the best thing that could be happening to Guatemala through the modernization processes that has been implemented ever since the signing of the peace accords. Our action plan is focused mainly on respecting human rights.” Guatemala’s ministries of Education and Social Assistance, non-governmental organizations, and private organizations are also participating in the initiative. However, the Armed Forces of Colombia, Chile, Canada, and Trinidad and Tobago are participating as observers so they can all broaden their experience with these types of humanitarian relief missions. Guatemala’s Armed Forces and the United States have been cooperating on humanitarian operations since 1993. Beyond the Horizon was held in the departments of Jutiapa in 2001; San Marcos in 2007 and 2012; Puerto Barrios in 2010; Petén in 2010; Cobán in 2012; and Zacapa in 2014. The initiative has also been held in other countries, such as El Salvador. Fighting poppy production San Marcos borders Chiapas, Mexico, and its highland region, known as the “Golden Poppy Triangle,” is home to most of the poppy fields that are cultivated for the production of heroin. The drug has a value of about $30,000 per kilogram at the Guatemalan border with Mexico, El Universal reported on February 16, 2015. The U.S. government is also bolstering education in the Central American country by supporting the construction of two schools: one in Caserío Nueva Florida, in the town of Catarina, and another in the town of San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta. In addition, U.S. Troops are also constructing medical clinics in three villages and towns within the department of San Marcos. “Personnel have been participating during these medical campaigns and have been providing excellent Military-quality service,” Maj. Gen. Bor said. “The final objective is to provide humanitarian relief to people and give them the perspective that we as the Military are at their service. Guatemalan doctors are providing free external consultations in all specialties, including surgeries.” last_img read more

Future of Postal Service Shaky After Financial Hit, Employee Deaths

first_imgThe way we get our mail could soon change yet again.The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant financial impacts on the U.S. Postal Service, which some fear may have to shut down after more than 200 years.“They’re saying the end of September we will be out of money to go ahead and keep the payroll going as it is today,” says Al Friedman, the President of the Florida State Association of Letter Carriers.Friedman adds that the USPS is losing between $2 million and $5 million a day across the country. “Letters are down 42% because companies and a lot of business are not mailing,”USPS is predicting even more significant financial impacts over the next 18 months.During a Zoom call last Thursday, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel said the HEROES Act appropriates $25 billion to the Postal Service for lost revenue. She added that money would also help to purchase personal protective equipment for employees. The bill is now waiting on Senate approval.“If the Post Office does not get its funding by Fall, not only is our vote by mail threatened many Americans get their medicine by mail, certainly getting their unemployment checks by mail,” says Rep. Frankel.Friedman explains that two mail carriers in Florida, one in Sunrise and another in Fort Lauderdale, died because of COVID-19. In addition, more than 100 other postal workers are currently home after testing positive for the virus. Debbie Fetterly, a USPS spokesperson for the South Florida District, released this statement to our news partner, WPTV NewsChannel 5: “The Postal Service is proud of the work our more than 600,000 employees play in processing, transporting, and delivering mail and packages for the American public. We provide a vital public service that is a part of this nation’s critical infrastructure. Our employees deliver much needed medications and Social Security checks, and we are the leading delivery service for online purchases.The Postal Service has a dedicated Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Command Response leadership team that is focusing on employee and customer safety in conjunction with operational and business continuity during this unprecedented epidemic. We continue to follow the strategies and measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health departments. The CDC has information available on its website at https://www.coronavirus.gov that provides the latest information about COVID-19. For more specific information on USPS actions to protect our employees and our customers during this pandemic: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/statements/usps-statement-on-coronavirus.htm.The Postal Service is deeply saddened by the passing of two of our postal family members (Fort Lauderdale, FL and Sunrise, FL) These employees were dedicated public servants, and we extend our deepest condolences to their families during this difficult time. As you may know, under the Rehabilitation Act and the Privacy Act, specific employee medical information must be kept confidential and may only be shared in very limited circumstances. Therefore, the Postal Service cannot share the names of the employees.The COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely affected the U.S. economy, began to negatively affect the Postal Service during late March with declining mail volume, and the impact has continued to worsen since then. On May 8, the U.S. Postal Service reported total revenue of $17.8 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2020 (January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020), an increase of $348 million, compared to the same period last year. It is estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic will substantially increase the Postal Service’s net operating loss over the next eighteen months, threatening the Postal Service’s ability to operate. However, since the Postal Service began experiencing the impacts of the pandemic in mid-March, the pandemic did not have a material impact on its second quarter results, although significant impacts are expected for the remainder of the year. For additional information: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2020/0508-usps-reports-second-quarter-fiscal-2020-results.htm.Here is a link to a “Delivering the Facts” document which explains our current situation beyond the pandemic issues: https://about.usps.com/news/delivers-facts/usps-delivers-the-facts.pdf.”last_img read more