Special forces from 17 countries in America and the Caribbean today put their skills to the test in the Caribbean Sea of Panama, in the framework of an event considered a "military and police Olympics", one of the organization's leaders told Efe.
It was the aquatic event within the framework of the Command Force 2018 competition, which began on July 16 and will end next Thursday.
In Command Force 2018, special forces from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States and Panama participate, according to official data.
On Tuesday, a total of 119 troops according to data from the Ministry of Public Security of Panama, conducted exercises at the base of the National Aeronaval Service (Senan) in Sherman, in the province of Colón, in the Panamanian Caribbean.
"The Command Force exercise is like a military and police Olympics, where the best Special Forces men from the countries of the region participate," Commissioner Javier Rodríguez, director of the Special Forces of the National Police of Panama and coordinator for the country of the event, told Efe on Tuesday.
The exercises involved in the competitions were designed "to improve the regional and multinational cooperation, improve the enlistment, the preparation, the training, and the capacity of the Special Forces to be able to face a symmetrical threat", added the Panamanian official.
Panama hosts the fifteenth version of this event, which last year was held in Paraguay and in 2019 will take place in Chile, Rodríguez said.
The captain of Special Forces of Honduras, Félix Víctor Pastrana Olivera told Efe on Tuesday that "the competition has been very hard" in Panama, not only because of the level required by the exercises but also because of the weather conditions.
"But anyway, these are the Special Forces," he added, stating the Honduran team is doing its best to repeat the victory it won last year in Paraguay, where it was the champion.
"All countries are prepared to win, we are fighting," said Pastrana, who noted the team he has trained is made up of the 7 best officers of the Special Forces of Honduras.
The Ministry of Public Security of Panama informed in a statement at the beginning of the event it is sponsored by the Southern Command of the United States.
The Security Minister of Panama, Alexis Bethancourt, said in a statement the event includes a series of exercises to test "not only the physical capacity but the psychological resistance" of the uniformed officers.
The delegations of the 17 participating countries compete in a friendly way in the forced march, stress shooting, stalking, combined assault, the obstacle course and the aquatic event, among other exercises, according to official information.
The first edition of these exercises took place in El Salvador in 2004, Bethancourt said.