Argentina has been excluded from the UNITAS 2021 international naval exercise due to a lack of parliamentary mandate

UNITAS joint operations are promoted by the United States and tend to integrate Latin American naval forces (AFP PHOTO)

A few hours before the deadline for departure from the port of Ushuaia for naval units that were scheduled to participate in Operation UNITAS 2021 in Peru, The departure of two warships had to be canceled due to the failure to obtain permission from the National Congress for ships to leave national waters. Although parliamentary authorization was given half a sentence by the Senate, the House of Representatives has not taken up the issue despite the file having been on the committee since July. The Navy had placed the ships in the Fujian capital with the understanding that permission would come at the last minute, as it had done on other occasions.

And they specify from the Ministry of Defense the responsibility for the failure of the naval mission abroad by saying: “At the beginning of April, we sent to the Head of State all the necessary documents for the relevant application for permission to be presented to the National Congress for the departure of ships and military personnel. On April 22, the file entered the Senate and was approved on July 15 with immediate referral to the House of Representatives as it was to be dealt with by the Defense Committee and then approved on site. None of this happened and today we had to officially inform the hosts that we refrained from participating.”

It is really annoying, everything is organized, budget items available, staff ready, we have participated in all the meetings we were called and activated all the parliamentary springs so that everything goes in time. The formal request for authorization is usually dealt with on the tables within ten minutes because it is normal activities,” he notes, referring to a former chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces.

Officers of the armed forces of Argentina and the United States of America in the operations room of the Libertad building, during one of the previous meetings of Unitas
Officers of the armed forces of Argentina and the United States of America in the operations room of the Libertad building, during one of the previous meetings of Unitas

The 2021 version of a conventional international military deployment foresees three business scenarios that include operations on the high seas, rivers, and in the Amazon region of Iquitos. Among the tasks before the exercise, virtual and real meetings have been developed in which the role that each participating freedom will play is determined. “Argentina’s absence for reasons of administrative or parliamentary incompetence is not just an international embarrassment, we are forcing the participating countries to reorganize the entire program of activities and reallocate our role to another country.Laments,” one of the military sources Infobae consulted.

The final coordination meeting of UNITAS held in Lima (Peru) in July 2021
The final coordination meeting of UNITAS held in Lima (Peru) in July 2021

Aside from public statements, within the Ministry of Defense and specifically from the area of ​​the Secretary of International Military Relations, comments on this particular situation are far from friendly. “It’s an outright shame and it’s not the first time this has happened. It goes beyond a certain political sign, the problem is that they don’t care, we can’t even talk about the clumsy, it’s more dangerous than that, and it doesn’t warm them up!

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Although it is not a common standard among active military leaders, retired senior officers are invited to point out that since the US Navy has led these exercises for 60 years, the parliamentary rejection is due to obvious questions – ideology.

Infobae consulted military specialists about the possibility of the President of the Nation being himself as Commander in Chief who, by signing the DNU, would have authorized the ships’ departure on the condition of advice from the subsequent Parliament’s approval. “Undoubtedly it could have been done, but certainly in the midst of the political crisis that erupted after STEP, there were no officials concerned about this issue.‘, they maintain.

ARA . modern ocean patrol boat "Popcorn" Specially recruited for Operation UNITAS 2021
The modern ocean patrol boat ARA “Bouchard” is specially listed for Operation UNITAS 2021

Other military spokesmen noted that it was not the first time something similar had happened. As pointed out by the former commander of the naval fleetThey share our absences for budgetary reasons with others – as in this case – the matter is not even discussed in the committee. No one seems to notice the effort and money invested in a task of this nature. ARA Sarandí underwent a very costly overhaul of the Puerto Belgrano dam, which, while necessary, was speeded up precisely on time for the exercise.”

    right Now "Sarandi during his enlistment in Puerto Belgrano (Photo: Franco Favasoli)
ARA’ Sarandi during his enlistment in Puerto Belgrano (Photo: Franco Favasoli)

At this time, the new administration of Secretary of State Santiago Cafiero faces the need to address two fronts of emerging international turmoil in the defense portfolio. On the one hand, the appearance of a request to spend $ 664 million to buy Chinese combat aircraft in the 2022 budget revealed a clear decision that had already been taken despite the fact that five countries ratify it without being officially ratified. There is already a winner. for the last, No formal apology for Argentina’s failure to comply was sent to the Peruvian government.

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On the other hand, the Argentine Navy has ordered the units deployed in the city of Ushuaia, awaiting the permission that did not arrive, to complete the exercise period at sea during which the bouchard will attend the patrol in the ZZEA while the destroyer Sarandi will train personnel during its navigation to return to the Naval Base Puerto Belgrano.

About the Unitas exercise

The UNITAS naval exercise originated in 1959 and within the framework of the TIAR (Inter-American Treaty of Mutual Aid) for many years Argentina has been one of the pillars in the organization of UNITAS and among the countries most present in it are Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Uruguay. This year, in particular, Peru hosts within the framework of the bicentenary of its independence and the creation of the Peruvian Navy.

Traditionally, UNITAS is an ideal vehicle to increase confidence among the navies in the region and also allows the less technologically advanced navies to interact with the latest means and tactics available to the US Navy. On this occasion, in addition to joint military operations, exercises related to containing the civilian population in epidemics, addressing natural disaster scenarios or caused by intentional actions and humanitarian aid will be carried out.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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