Guatemala will purchase six Brazilian military aircraft Super Tucano, radars and other equipment to combat the narcotics trade traffic of which the Central American country is considered a crucial link between South America and the United States.
Finance minister Luis Velasquez said on Friday that the Central bank had authorized the government to complete the proceedings for the 170 million dollars credit to finance the operation.
“The bill requesting approval for the two credits, 133.3 million dollars with the Bank of Brazil and 33.4 million with a private Spanish bank has already been sent to Congress”, revealed Velazquez.
The six Super Tucano manufactured by Embraer are specially designed for low flying, light attacks, counterinsurgency and pilots’ advanced training. The three radars and air traffic control equipment will also be purchased from Brazil.
The Guatemalan army spokesman Colonel Rony Urizar said the equipments should help “air tracking and monitoring the routes used by the narcotics trade” through Guatemalan territory.
The Guatemalan government admits that every year over 20 tons of cocaine crosses the country’s territory from South America to the jungles in the north where the main cartels have their operations and prepare for the next leg of the trip before reaching the final market in the US.
The so-called ‘northern triangle’ of Central America, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador has become one of the most violent areas in the world even when there is no conventional war waged.
A recent report from the UN office for Development released in Mexico showed that in El Salvador the number of annual homicides averages 71 per 100.000 population and in Guatemala, 52, well above the world’s average of 8 per 100.000 population.
Honduras Peace Commissioner Ramon Custodio warned last week that the average number of homicides per day in the country is 20, which works out an annual 86 per 100.000 inhabitants.