While many Canadians are aware of and recognize the role that our National Defence Force plays in Africa, the Middle East, and certain regions of Europe, it is sometimes easy to overlook our military’s accomplishments closer to home. This week, the Canadian Armed Forces wound down Operation CARIBBE for the year. Operation CARIBBE began seven years ago, representing Canada’s involvement in Operation MARTILLO, a collaborative international effort to combat drug trafficking and transnational organized crime in Central America and the Caribbean basin.
In the past year, Canada has become increasingly involved in Central American missions and has played a major role in establishing stability in this region. As a result of their hard work, Canadian military personnel have many successes to reflect on from work within the Operation.
Canada’s key contribution to this mission is aircraft and ocean vessels. Canada’s warships support the program by monitoring suspicious vessels on the seas and sending personnel onboard to investigate as required. In 2012, six ships were introduced by Canada and in that year, 152 metric tons of cocaine along with other narcotics and cash valued at over $3 billion USB were captured, preventing these illegal shipments from reaching North American shores.
This year Canada increased its involvement in the mission. In 2013, seven ships and several aircraft were deployed throughout the year which has been quoted as being one of the most successful to date. In addition to increasing cooperation and strengthening relationships with partners in the initiative, over 30,000 pounds of marijuana and approximately 120 metric tons of cocaine were intercepted.
Operation CARIBBE has overall been a highly effective operation and its success reminds us to take time to recognize the men and women who safeguard our national interests both overseas and close to home.