BLUEFIELDS, El Salvador (July 26, 2013) -- The United States donated nearly $6 million worth of speed boats, equipment and facility construction to the Nicaraguan Navy to bolster their capabilities to fight transnational organized crime.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, Phyllis M. Powers, formally handed over the donation during a ceremony July 26 at the Naval Base in El Bluff, in the town of Bluefields.
The grant includes the construction of an operations center, a storage warehouse and a boat ramp with a connecting road to the naval base of El Bluff, and two maritime interception boats.
The boats have sufficient patrol range and are capable of intercepting speedboats typically used by traffickers. Five U.S.-trained Nicaraguan sailors will operate and maintain the boats.
The Navy of Nicaragua has been successful in countering drug trafficking and other transnational criminal threats despite resource constraints. The Chief of the Naval Military Group U.S. Embassy, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Robert Colon-Cruz, says the new equipment and capabilities will improve Nicaragua’s ability to deal with threats.
SOUTHCOM estimates that 90% of the cocaine that reaches the United States transits through Central America and the Caribbean.