Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa, Minister of Sustainable Development Orlando Habet, and Minister of Border Security Florencio Marin did a helicopter fly-over of the Chiquibul Forest today.  The three government ministers were accompanied by the Friends for Conservation and Development, who co-manages the forest.  After the aerial tour of the protected area, Executive Director Rafael Manzanero spoke to the press about the purpose of the tour, as well as some of their needs to improve management of the area.

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, F.C.D.

“From the air, they were able to see the landscape perspective and get a firsthand view of what’s happening along the western border.”

Reporter

“So, what happens next in terms of how do we move forward after this trip?”

Rafael Manzanero

“Well, what we wanted to project on this trip is for them to look really at the true conditions, so based on that we would hope that strategies that the government will employ will certainly go online to better secure the western border. We flew over the conservation posts, starting from Machaquilha starting which is in the Columbia River, and way up to the northern one which is the caballo conservation post, so from there they got the angle about the incursions; agricultural farming; cattle ranching. So, I am hoping that the strategy then is line with the true reality occurring on the ground.”

Reporter

“What is needed on the ground for greater, more positive progress – as I understand it progress is being made in this area?”

Rafael Manzanero

“I believe we need to have a much more efficient system on the ground, and that mean for the joint forces operations to have more of their mobilization capability to be able to have much better equipment, that includes foot patrol equipment that they will need. The conservation post is one of the strategies and so that is already there on the ground.”

Channel 5