Presently, the Colombian government is deepening its positive relations with the United States and expanding its role in the fight against the illicit industry of drug trafficking. Under a multi-national agreement, they are working together with the Americans to export what they have spent their blood and sweat learning to partner nations that are suffering similar scourges. DIÁLOGO: In your opinion, do criminal gangs —or BACRIM, as they are known in Colombia—have connections to the FARC and to the ELN? After years of confronting a polemic nexus between terrorism and drug trafficking first hand, the Colombian Armed Forces, with the joint support of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), have become experts in confronting this threat to society. Gen. Rodríguez: I think that the strategies that we are implementing in meetings like these in order to guarantee regional security in the face of transnational threats could be improved despite the fact that they have allowed us to achieve many results that are very important. We have to understand that the strategies must be adjusted further and be more effective to have better results and periodically apply lessons learned we gain from this fight. On many occasions, criminal groups communicate more quickly in order to change their strategies swiftly and neutralize the response of those same states where, at times, progress is slower and less expeditious. What I did was invite all those who participate at this security conference in order to generate channels for faster communication in real time to allow us to react to transnational crime in a more effective manner. Gen. Rodríguez: General Kelly’s presence as head of SOUTHCOM, as well as the presence of other commanders, has been very important. We owe General Kelly all our gratitude and appreciation for the collaboration provided to us, not just to Colombia, but also to the entire Western Hemisphere in the fight against the main transnational threats. I believe that General Kelly implemented a very rewarding program and showed his leadership capacity to integrate the most important areas [and for] this cooperation, which is so essential for the fight against transnational threats, to succeed. We have nothing but feelings of gratitude and appreciation for him. [His work] was very rewarding, and the Colombian Armed Forces are very appreciative, first for his support and collaboration, and second for having given us his friendship. We wish him all the best and are immensely grateful to him. As Commander of the entire Colombian military, I salute him and thank him, and we hope that the very good relations that we have had with SOUTHCOM and with the U.S. government and all the governments of the region can continue to stay on that course and create an even more secure situation in the future. By Dialogo September 30, 2015 Exported!!! To the contrary, they should be thrown out, eliminated in spite of having all their armed forces and having 7 military bases, drug trafficking, terrorism, narco politics and crime are at their highest in Colombia, it is sad to see Colombia governed by these scourges!! Where will the World Cup Games be held in 2018? Every effort to fight the “cancer” corroding society is valid, and it’s good to see the forces of good fighting together to combat drug trafficking and other resulting crimes such as arms trafficking and other drug-related crimes. This was humanitarian labor by this soldier… I wonder: In the peace talks in Havana, what does the FARC do to help the people who have lost their limbs, who have been left invalid or incapacitated because of the land mines? Is there anything in the agreement for them to collect their mines or help the victims of these cases? What would happen if there were a leader or member of the higher level of the FARC in the negotiations? We have to see every side of what is negotiated in Cuba. The FARC want to come out of it free and it seems they’ll be successful. It’s not fair to leave the victims hanging. Excellent reports. good to know we’re not alone against the threats. That we have crazy neighbors and terrorists fed by them Excellent article. I dream about this [military] intervention. It’s the only solution for Brazil. What is sad is that not one of the broadcasters, male or female, or hosts, uses Spanish correctly, the only thing the Spaniards brought. Language spoken by millions of people on earth. Lately foreigners are coming close to the language. You say “space of time” “Periods of time”, what’s left now is for you to say “decades of time”. Correction: age, period, century, month, day, lapse, year, etc. all these words translate time by just mentioning them. All day long you say “precisely”, you don’t know how to conjugate the verb “HABER”, that’s why all day long you say “there (plural) will be festivities in Pereira.” “There were (plural) horses on the street”. You’re starting to bother me, I have spoken to people interested in defending our language, and they express their displeasure to me. You made fun of Maduro because he said “a millimeter of a second”, NO, MAKE FUN OF YOURSELVES WHO MURDER THE LANGUAGE AND CORRECT EXPRESSION. YOU HAVE NOT studied Spanish thoroughly, nor do you care to do so. We will file a report against you with the ACADEMIA COLOMBIANA DE LA LENGUA, for language abuse. Horacio Aldana How long will we have to wait to see news about the capture of the head international investors in drug trafficking embedded in governments and financial monopolies in the capitalist world? DIÁLOGO: How do you see civilian-military cooperation in support of regional security? Gen. Rodríguez: Colombia is a country that is committed to the fight against all transnational threats. I would like to mention that this year, between the Armed Forces and the National Police, 175 tons of cocaine hydrochloride were seized, with a value of $4 billion in the United States. This shows that Colombia, its police, and its armed forces are committed to fighting the scourge of drug trafficking which, as you know, acts in parallel with other related crimes such as trafficking of arms, explosives, and munitions, trafficking in persons, laundering assets, and other crimes that affect security. Colombia is very committed to the fight against transnational threats. In particular, last year we had the opportunity to participate actively in the training and capacity building of 24,000 commandos in Central and South American countries, exchanging experiences on the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking with other countries that requested our support and we have stood ready to support them, sharing our experience after spending more than 50 years fighting those instigators of violence. DIÁLOGO: What can you tell us regarding the visit of the hospital ship USNS Comfort to Buenaventura? DIÁLOGO: During your presentation (at SOUTHDEC 2015) you mentioned the gap between what is said when two countries meet in order to discuss something and the action that is taken in this regard. Why did you discuss this? DIÁLOGO: Obviously none of that will work if the state does not invest in the most underserved areas so that especially children do not become involved in drug trafficking. What can you tell us about your Integral Action effort? Gen. Rodríguez: Integral Action is a strategy that has fortunately been used by the Colombian government. It consists of joint, coordinated interagency action between the National Police and other agencies. We have come to understand that the fight against all those agents that instigate violence and against which the Colombian state has had to confront requires a holistic strategy, where the everyone must contribute their piece of the puzzle, not just to prevent all levels of violence instigators from taking action, but also to consolidate this military and political action that is so important through the intervention of each of the roles and responsibilities of other government agencies. DIÁLOGO: Is the model of fighting drug trafficking that Colombia used exportable? Gen. Rodríguez: Drug trafficking has been the common thread in all of these instigators of violence. As you know, drug trafficking has become the catalyst for the economic needs that these illegal organizations have, which agrees with the information we have from our intelligence agencies. They have an economic interest and other interests, while ideology, for example, is relegated to the side. General Juan Pablo Rodríguez Barragán: Yes, I believe that the Colombian model has been a successful model by virtue of its results. Some very important lessons we have learned can be shared with the international community so that this scourge and these criminal phenomena do not affect regional security and security in other countries. Colombia is helping and cooperating with the other countries; we have very important experiences which, as I told you, we have acquired in all this time spent confronting these phenomena of organized crime, and we believe that these experiences are very valuable for these countries which are beginning to suffer this type of phenomena, so that they apply them and avoid the situations we had to confront in our country. DIÁLOGO: At the Seventh F-Air Colombia 2015 Aeronautical Trade Show, from 9 to 12 July, the U.S.’s B52 bomber flew over Rionegro. What is the importance of this flyover for Colombia? Diálogo met with General Juan Pablo Rodríguez Barragán, Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Colombian Armed Forces, to discuss these and other topics during the South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC 2015) which was held in Asunción, Paraguay, from 18 to 21 August. Gen. Rodríguez: I hope that visits like this are repeated periodically. Buenaventura has been very impacted by illegal groups on different occasions, although the Armed Forces and Police have neutralized them. Visits like this, which help the community and create well-being, are very important and in this case, the Comfort’s visit was received very well by all the citizens of Buenaventura and by us as well. We thank SOUTHCOM for this visit which made very important medical care available to the entire population of Buenaventura, and I hope visits like this can be repeated. Gen. Rodríguez: It’s very important for us, because this aeronautical trade show developed by our Colombian force is becoming more and more relevant. The trade show began with a regional presence and now has a global presence. The participation of this bomber was very important for us: it graced the show and generated a better idea of all strategic and aviation capacities. This is what the trade show is about, getting to know the capacities that our Air Forces have at a global level and exchanging them with the ones we have. This event is more important each time and has a significant presence not just at a regional level and for the countries of the Western Hemisphere, but also at a global level. It means that the countries and businesses participating in this event are interested in getting to know what the experience of Colombia and its Air Force has been in fighting diverse instigators of violence and they want to share the technological knowledge that each one of the businesses that participate in this event have in order to improve security and interoperability conditions. DIÁLOGO: General John Kelly will be leaving SOUTHCOM soon to retire. What is your opinion on General Kelly’s three-and-a-half years as Commander, and how were Colombian-U.S. relations and relations between both Armed Forces strengthened during this time?