U.S. Special Operations Forces training missions to Latin America tripled between 2007 and 2014, newly obtained documents by a human rights advocacy organization reveal, offering further evidence that it is “the golden age” of secret operations by these elite fighters.
The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) says the uptick happened during “a period when overall military aid to the region was decreasing” and as overall transparency about these forces, which include the Green Berets, the Navy SEALs, and Rangers, is waning.
Many of the missions these forces took part in, WOLA’s Sarah Kinosian and Adam Isacson explain, were trainings called Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET). While 12 JCETs trained 560 foreign personnel in 2007, the number zoomed up to 36 JCETs training 2,300 personnel in 2014.
Kinosian and Isacson write:
JCETs do more than train U.S. forces. They teach Latin American co-participants military tactics while also “gaining regional access with a minimal footprint,” according to the documents. The reports highlight that “[JCET] activities often enhance U.S. influence in host countries.”
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