Wednesday, March 15, 2017

LIP: The Peruvian Army’s Pachacutec Bread

"The Peruvian Army's Pachacutec Bread"
W. Alejandro Sanchez & Brittney Figueroa
Living in Peru
March 15, 2017
Originally published:

As heavy rains and mudslides (commonly known in Peru ashuaycos) continue to ravage significant segments of the Peruvian Andes and coast, the government, including the country’s security and defense forces, has stepped up to offer aid throughout the affected regions. One particular initiative that deserves praise is the distribution of Pachacutec bread, Pan Pachacutecbaked by the Peruvian Army. Though unconventional, the initiative offers much needed comfort to those affected by the storms.
The Pachacutec Bread
This special bread measures 40 centimeters in length, weighs as much as 250 grams, and is reportedly edible for up to seven days. It is named “Pachacutec” in honor of Inca Pachacutec, the patron of the Peruvian Army’s First Brigade of Special Forces where the bread was first baked. According to the Peruvian daily La Republica, by mid-February, over 11,000 individuals affected by the ongoing extreme weather patterns have received this bread as part of government-organized aid programs. The areas where the bread has been distributed (as of mid-February) include Arequipa, the greater Lima region, as well as Piura.
The Peruvian media has covered and praised this relief strategy, with the military leaders, including the commander of the Army, General Luis Ramos, participating in photo-ops with freshly-made Pachacutec bread. Said photo-shoots also feature Peruvian troops baking the bread at the First Brigade’s “Pachacutec” bakery in Lima.
In times of crisis, particularly a humanitarian one such as the one Peru is currently experiencing, the defense and security forces are the tip of the spear when it comes to first response operations; they also play a vital role in long-term humanitarian relief and reconstruction. For example, the naval platform BAP Eten has been sent to Piura region transporting tons of humanitarian aid; meanwhile Army engineers, with tractors and heavy-duty trucks, are helping clear roads in order to reach remote towns. Military medical personnel have also been essential in helping the growing numbers of injured as the rains and mudslides continue.
We must salute the Army’s Pachacutec bread aid as it combines two of the best qualities of Peruvians: their will to help, as well as their culinary taste. Providing sustenance is a indeed a critical part of any humanitarian relief effort, but there is something meaningful about providing tasty food that can help improve spirits in times of extreme grief. Certainly the Pachacutec bread itself will not completely remedy the suffering of the thousands of people who have lost their homes, or have been affected in other ways due to the ongoing extreme weather patterns; as recently as early March, the Peruvian media reported that the inhabitants of some affected areas have complained that they have only received “bread and water” from the government. Nevertheless, the authors argue thatproviding a steady stream of flavorsome food is a (small yet comforting) first step toward reintroducing normalcy.
The Pachacutec bread may never win a culinary award – though it is worth noting that Peruvian bread bakers regularly, and successfully, compete in such international competitions – but it is a clear example of the Army’s willingness to constantly think of new ways to support those in need, once again highlighting Peruvian ingenuity and innate culinary expertise. Hence, it is no surprise that on March 7, a well-deserved ceremony was held, with Defence Minister Jorge Nieto Montesinos in attendance, to honor the soldiers of the First Brigade for this initiative.

W. Alejandro Sanchez Nieto is an international security analyst. Follow him on Twitter.
Brittney J. Figueroa is a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelors degree in Global Studies, and a Minor in Latin American Iberian Studies.
The views presented in this essay are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of any institutions with which the authors are associated.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Working Papers for CAEI

My four working papers for the Centro Argentino de Estudios Internacionales / Mis cuatro reportes pare el Centro Argentino de Estudios Internacionales

“Las Relaciones entre Argentina y Rusia durante la Presidencia de Mauricio Macri”
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Reporte – Working Paper No. 53
Programa Rusia, Cáucaso & Asia Central
Centro Argentino de Estudios Internacionales

"Eligiendo Ganadores: Un Breve Analisis de la Compra de Armamento por el Peru"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Reporte - Working Paper No. 10 Defensa & Seguridad
Centro Argentino de Estudios Internacionales

“Colombia y Peru Necesitan Drones Armados?:
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Opinion - Working Paper No. 10
Centro Argentino de Estudios Internacionales

"Pax Inca: Why is Peru Not a Regional Powerhouse in Latin America?:
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Working Paper #32 - America Latina
Centro Argentino de Estudios Internacionales
November 2013
PDF disponible / PDF available (In English)

LIP: Puno to host World Congress on Quinoa

"Puno to Host World Congress on Quinoa"
W. Alejandro Sanchez & Brittney Figueroa
Living in Peru
20 February, 2017
Originally published:

Peru will host the VI World Congress on Quinoa and the IIIInternational Symposium of Andean Grains on March 21-24, 2017. The event will take place at the Universidad Nacional del Altiplano de Puno in the Puno region of southern Peru. The Congress’s objectives include promoting the nutritional, cultural, and gastronomic aspects of this grain to improve its stance in the global market, and also as a way to “reduce poverty and hunger, particularly in the communities of the high Andes.”
Peru is a global producer of this healthy grain, and is in constant competition with neighboring Bolivia for the title of Biggest Producer. The income gained from quinoa exports, as well as the way it helps promote the “made in Peru” brand across the world, makes the production of this grain a matter of national importance.
Export Numbers – Markets
Data from last year’s quinoa production and exports highlights the importance of this Peruvian crop, with the U.S. being its main destination. According to the Peruvian export association, Adex, between January and August of 2016, the country exported 33,778 tons of quinoa, 36% more than during the same period in 2015. Of this amount, 43% was bought by the U.S., with other destinations being Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. While the developed world continues to favor the grain as part of an ongoing health food craze, Peruvian quinoa is not just for consumption, as it can be utilized to produce cosmetics that Peru aims to export to the Asia Pacific region. Over half a million Peruvians make a living from growing quinoa,according to the Peruvian government.
Meanwhile, Bolivia continues to be a major quinoa producer with exports totaling 25 thousand tons in 2015, and 26 thousand tons in 2016. Moreover, other countries, like France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have their own variations of homegrown quinoa.
While production (in terms of volume) in the latter countries cannot be compared to the Andean states, it still poses a problem, as these are the target export countries for Lima and La Paz. Hence, consumption of locally-grown quinoa decreases the profits the South American countries obtain.

Another problem is the over-saturation of the market, which could reduce profits across the board. This is already happening in Bolivia, as a January 27, 2017 report in the daily Los Tiemposexplained. According to the article, 10% of two thousand Bolivian quinoa growers (members of the national quinoa association ANAPQUI) have stopped growing this crop “due to a fall in the international price and due to a drought.” Although not yet an issue in Peru, the situation in neighboring Bolivia should be of concern for Peruvian quinoa growers as well.
Culinary Diplomacy
A final word should be said about the role of quinoa as a component of a country’s culinary and cultural diplomacy. In 2013, Peru achieved a major victory when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared that year as the International Year of the Quinoa. Peruvian delegations regularly participate in international food fairs, in which different types of quinoa are shown to business owners and the general public. The goal is to not only increase Peruvian exports, (and by default, help the Peruvian state obtain more revenue) but also to establish a globally-known “made in Peru” brand that is associated, in this case, with culinary flavor and richness. Given the saturation of the global quinoa market, it is critical that Peruvian authorities ensure that international consumers regard Peruvian-grown quinoa as the most preferable.
In a 2013 commentary for Blouin News, one author argued, “Peru should embark in an aggressive culinary diplomacy by taking advantage of its rich agricultural resources and well-regarded traditional dishes. Capitalizing on the global craze over quinoa was a well thought-out initiative by the Peruvian government.” Lima has generally followed this suggestion, and the upcoming World Congress on Quinoa and the International Symposium of Andean Grains in Puno should cement a global association between quinoa and Peru. (While not the objective of this analysis, the authors would like to applaud the fact that the congress will take place in Puno, not in the capital, which is a step toward diversifying where international events are held in Peru.)
Quinoa’s importance is multifaceted, not only to Peru, but also to the rest of the world, hence it is commendable that the organizers of the upcoming World Congress include the ministries of Agriculture, Culture, Environment, and Foreign Affairs. The anticipated success of the event will help reaffirm Peru’s position as a global producer of quinoa.
W. Alejandro Sanchez Nieto is an international security analyst. Follow him on Twitter:@W_Alex_Sanchez
Brittney J. Figueroa is a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelors degree in Global Studies, and a Minor in Latin American Iberian Studies.
The views presented in this essay are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of any institutions with which the authors are associated.

NSF: Colombian Crackdown on Illegal Fishing

"Colombian Crackdown on Illegal Fishing"
W. Alejandro Sanchez & Brittney Figueroa
National Security Forum
6 February, 2017
Originally published:

The Colombian government has recently begun expanding their capabilities to combat IUU fishing, revealing a shift in security priorities.
Guest written by W. Alejandro Sanchez
This past October, the government of Colombia took a major step forward in combating illegal fishing when 26 of its citizens were sent to prison for doing just that. According to Colombian media, this is the first time that Colombians have been prosecuted and sentenced for illegal fishing, a major problem for the South American state that is exacerbated by the presence of unauthorized vessels from foreign nations.
Ongoing incidents and data point to the scale of illegal maritime exploitation, and exemplify how illegal fishing will likely not stop anytime soon. For example, a December 2015 Colombian Navy communiqué revealed that, in that year alone, more than 12,400 kilograms of illegally-obtained sea life were seized.
As for 2016, in February, a Colombian corvette, Nariño (CM-55), detained the Costa Rican Anagon in the Pacific Ocean. The vessel had a crew of four Costa Ricans and was transporting one and a half tons of various fish, including shark and tuna. Months later, in June, a vessel carrying a crew of five Hondurans flying the flag of the Cayman Islands was detained off Serranilla Bank in Colombia’s Caribbean waters. The vessel had illegally fished 1.3 tons of northern red snapper. The Colombian media has also discussed the international aspect of this problem. For example, a report by the renowned daily El Tiempo discussed how unauthorized foreign vessels come from neighboring Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Ecuador. Clearly, the transnational security aspect of this issue is on the minds of many Colombians.
It’s not just foreign nationals implicated in this crime. Colombians are also guilty of illegal fishing, as the aforementioned October arrest of more than two dozen Colombians who were found in possession of two tons of 22 different types of sea life, so clearly illustrates. The penal sentences for unauthorized fishing will set an important precedent for future arrests.
As far back as 2012, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos made his intentions clear to crack down on this crime. In January 2012, he critiquedforeign fishing vessels, explaining that “they are violating our territory, the environment as well as our maritime richness.” He also called for the Colombian Navy to “monitor [this crime] with special care.” Certainly, the cornerstone of his presidency has been the peace negotiations with the FARC insurgents, but the Colombian head of state has also supported greater attention against illegal fishing, particularly given its domestic and international security consequences. It comes as no surprise that there have been strong efforts in recent years towards protecting the country’s seas.
In order to crack down on the problem of illegal fishing, the Colombian Navy has obtained new platforms to patrol its maritime territory. Combating illegal fishing, along with other non-traditional security threats, means that there is a growing need for offshore patrol vessels, many of which have been constructed by Colombia’s state-run COTECMAR. The new platforms have helped carry out a string of successful operations to crack down on illegal fishing boats, both domestic and foreign. Additionally, the Colombian Congress is debating (and will hopefully soon ratify) a penal code against illegal fishing. Finally, inter-governmental cooperation is improving. This past May, officials from Colombia and Ecuador met to discuss how to more efficiently combat illegal fishing along their common border. These initiatives give hope that Bogota is approaching this crime with multi-layered solutions.
W. Alejandro Sanchez is an international security analyst. Follow him on Twitter @W_Alex_Sanchez
The author would like to thank Brittney Figueroa for her help. The views presented in this essay are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of any institutions with which the author is associated.
The views and opinions expressed on the Natural Security Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Stimson Center.


"EXPONAVAL 2016 and Latin America's Arms Fairs"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
The Southern Tide
Center for International Maritime Security
January 23, 2017
Originally published:

Written by Wilder Alejandro Sanchez, The Southern Tide addresses maritime security issues throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. It discusses the challenges regional navies face including limited defense budgets, inter-state tensions, and transnational crimes. It also examines how these challenges influence current and future defense strategies, platform acquisitions, and relations with global powers.
“The security environment in Latin America and the Caribbean is characterized by complex, diverse, and non-traditional challenges to U.S. interests.” Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, before the 114thCongress Senate Armed Services Committee, 10 March 2016.
By W. Alejandro Sanchez
Chile organized the 10th Exponaval exhibition from 29 November – 2 December. The arms fair brought dozens of defense companies to northern Chile, where they showcased their latest maritime defense technology with the hope of securing new contracts. Arms fairs are a common event in the defense industry and they regularly take place in locations across the world, hence the success of Exponaval is particularly relevant as it will help Chile, and Latin America, cement its place in the global arms fair circuit.
Exponaval 2016
The Chilean government and Navy give great importance to Exponaval (full name Exhibición y Conferencia Internacional Naval y Marítima para Latinoamérica) as exemplified by the participation of President Michelle Bachelet, who gave a speech on 29 November to officially open the arms fair. The country’s defense minister and military authorities were also present. Unsurprisingly, during her speech, President Bachelet took a moment to praise her nation’s state-run shipyard Astilleros de la Marina (ASMAR) as it is constructing, with support from the Canadian company Vard, a new ice breaker for the Navy, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018. Exponaval 2016 was held at the at the Concon naval base in Viña del Mar, northern Chile. It is also important to note that the recent arms fair was actually a two in one event, as  the 10th Exponaval was also the 5th Trans-Port (full name,Exhibición de la Industria Marítima Portuaria para Latinoamérica), an exhibit of port industries in Latin America.
As for the type of technology that was exhibited, some examples include Russia’s Rosoboronexport, which displayed “Project 12150 Mangust fast patrol boats, the Varshavyanka-class (Project 636) submarines and Amur 1650 class submarines among other vehicles.” A number of British companies were also present, as Mercopress news agencyexplains that “companies exhibiting on the Department of Trade’s Defence and Security Organisation’s stand include: Leafield, SEA, MOD Disposals Agency and Ultra Electronics. Other UK companies exhibiting include BAE Systems, MBDA, Qinetiq, Kelvin Hughes, Lloyds Register and Thales.”
Additionally, there were also important developments among Latin American maritime defense industries. Case in point, a representative from Colombia’s Corporación de Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo de la Industria Naval Marítima y Fluvial (COTECMAR) told the defense news agency IHS Jane’sthat “a joint programme between Brazil, Colombia, and Peru to develop a new river patrol ship is now under way, with design work expected to conclude in the second half of 2017.” The project dates back to 2015, but it is an important development that there is already a (still somewhat distant) deadline for the completion of the design.
Apart from the sales booths, there were several technical presentations via which experts shared their knowledge. According to Exponaval, the presentations included representatives from renowned defense companies like Navantia, MBDA Missile Systems, SAAB Group as well as Chile’s ASMAR.
Even more, the Chilean Navy had  prominent participation in the fair, as it carried out exercises for the audience. This included a simulation in Valparaiso Bay of a vessel carrying radioactive material that is taken over by terrorists, where Chilean naval forces demonstrated how they would react to this hypothetical crisis.
Other Latin American Arms Fairs
It is worth noting that other Latin American countries also have arms fairs, though Exponaval stands out as it focuses on maritime defense technology. For example, Chile organizes another arms fair for aerial technology, the FIDAE-International Air & Space Fair (Feria Internacional del Aire y del Espacio). As for other regional states, Brazil organizes theLAAD Security–Feira Internacional de Segurança Pública e Corporativa (International Fair of Public and Corporate Security); Colombia has the Expodefensa International Fair of Defense and Security (Feria Internacional de Defensa y Seguridad); while Peru organizes the SITDEF–International Show for Defense Technology and Disaster Prevention (Salon Internacional de Tecnologia para la Defensa y Prevencion de Desastres).
Like with Exponaval, other governments and militaries provide support for these fairs in their respective nations. For example, while Exponaval 2016 took place at the Concon naval base, SITDEF 2017 will reportedly be held at the Peruvian Army’s headquarters in Lima.
What is the importance of Latin America organizing arms fairs? This author would argue that the main objective is to demonstrate that Latin America should not be regarded as a sole importer of military technology, but also a producer and a “showcase center” where deals can be made. President Bachelet voiced a similar idea in her welcome message as she stressed how this arms fair “allows a meeting between[suppliers] from the naval defense and maritime industry with official delegations from Latin American navies and the port agencies from other countries.”
In a 22 August commentary for CIMSEC entitled “The Rise of the Latin American Shipyard” the author discussed how various Latin American nations are constructing their own naval platforms and are even attempting to sell them to foreign customers. Since said commentary was published there have been new developments in the region: Colombia’sCOTECMAR has signed a contract with Honduras and another one with Panama for logistic multipurpose vessels; Peru’sServicios Industriales de la Marina (SIMA) has reached an agreement with Bolivia to sell its navy a riverine hospital ship; finally Ecuador’s shipyard Astilleros Navales Ecuatorianos (ASTINAVE) on 10 November “announced it is to construct three passenger boats for the Panama Canal Authority.”
Hence, regional arms fairs are particularly important for Latin American defense industries as they they allow for opportunity to showcase their products to regional navies and international firms in order to attract future sales. The aforementioned deals by ASTINAVE, COTECMAR and SIMA highlight that intra-regional naval platforms sales are already happening, and future arms fairs will benefit these companies in their eternal quest for new customers; hence it should not come as a surprise that SIMA and COTECMAR were present in Exponaval.
This brings us to the obvious question: to what extent do the exhibitions and meetings made during these arms fairs, such as Exponaval, result in actual contracts? Exponaval naturally summarized the recent fair as a success, explaining how over 140 company experts gave presentations, while putting the number of attendees at over nine thousand visits. Additionally,regional navies deployed some of their platforms, including Argentina’s corvette Robinson; Brazil’s Niteroi-class frigateConstitucion; Mexico’s patrol vessel Centenario de la Revolución; while the United Kingdom deployed the frigate HMS Portland and the tanker RFA Gold Rover.
As for contracts, Exponaval’s declared in a statement that deals were made for more than USD $800 million, but “thisamount is related to the projects that the participating navies have in development for the next few years.” Hence, we will have to wait and see if in the coming months announcements are made about contracts between Latin American navies and maritime defense companies, and whether they can be traced back to Exponaval 2016.
Final Thoughts
The Exponaval 2016 arms fair which recently took place in northern Chile should be regarded as a success for local government and maritime forces. It was reportedly well-structured, with over a hundred companies showcasing their maritime defense products, it hosted thousands of visitors, and even featured visiting warships from friendly nations. Santiago also demonstrated the accomplishments of its state-run shipyard ASMAR as well as the professionalism of its naval forces. Ultimately, we will have to wait to see if, indeed, Exponaval (not to mention other Latin American defense fairs) can reliably serve as a place where suppliers and customers can meet and ultimately reach sales agreements.
Alejandro Sanchez Nieto is a researcher who focuses on geopolitical, military, and cyber security issues in the Western Hemisphere. Follow him on Twitter:@W_Alex_Sanchez.
The views presented in this essay are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of any institutions with which the author is associated.