International partnerships, constant training, and comprehensive attention to isolated, impoverished populations through social activities and humanitarian aid are just some of the strategies that Panamanian authorities have used to achieve these positive results. Commissioner Nonato López: What is most notable is that, through this program, we have managed to decrease the rate of attacks on ships, we have created a culture of prevention of minor offenses, and we have decreased the rate of alcohol consumption among fishermen, which in turn has lowered domestic violence incidents and increased peaceful coexistence. When they joined the program, they were registered in a fishing and artisanal boats data base which provides them with a specific numerical ID, as well as an emblem that identifies them as part of the Fishermen’s Watch. They are also part of a population that is vulnerable to drug trafficking, so they have decided to guard their own environment through proper training provided by SENAN. They constitute an important partner force for us because they are part of our prevention and security network. Commissioner Nonato López: We have units posted continually in our air and naval sections. Our troop is 3,296 members strong. We have about 30 ships and 20 planes. Each operation involves a sufficient number of officials to deal with the criminals. The fight against drug trafficking is an ongoing task to which we are all committed. By Dialogo October 23, 2015 All news in support of justice is important. I congratulate you. In 2008, Panama created the National Aeronaval Service (SENAN), a public security agency that continually patrols the country’s two coastlines – on the Pacific and Atlantic oceans – to fight drug trafficking and other criminal enterprises. And since 2009, SENAN has seized 121 tons of drugs, with 13 tons of illicit substances – mostly cocaine – confiscated in 34 operations conducted since January. Diálogo: What do you believe has been the key to Panama’s success in the war on drugs, given that it seizes the third largest amount of drugs after the United States and Colombia, according to information from the United Nations? Diálogo: How have you engaged the civilian population to turn them into partners when it comes to reporting unusual events in coastal areas? Diálogo: How many units do you have for operations between ships and planes? How many men and women are part of SENAN? Commissioner Nonato López: I think that our success is due to the creation of a special force to combat drug trafficking, specifically the National Aeronaval Service. We were specially created for just that purpose, and in addition, we must consider the education and training received by each of our units. We are the only force in the region with training in both air and naval missions. Another factor I would like to highlight again is the joint effort of SENAN and law enforcement in general, and the strategic partnership with the friendly forces of the United States and Colombia. The existence of the Salas-Becker Treaty, which formalizes our international cooperation in drug enforcement matters, has contributed significantly to preventing drugs from crossing Panamanian waters towards Central and North American countries. It is worth noting that this treaty, signed between Panama and the United States on February 5, 2002, is intended to allow joint patrols of Panamanian waters and over our air space to pursue and interdict ships and planes that are suspicious or linked to drug trafficking. Diálogo: What is SENAN’s goal over the next few years regarding law enforcement and security? In parallel with the Fishermen’s Watch program, we have the toll-free 108 telephone line, which allows citizens to reach the Aeronaval Operations Center (COAN) for emergencies and to report a possible crime. Reports on traffic in weapons, drugs or persons are kept in the strictest confidence, so people should not be afraid to report anything unusual that they see. We are always ready to listen to them and offer as much security as possible. Commissioner Nonato López: Engagement with the civilian population is part of our daily activity. SENAN has important humanitarian missions to fulfill, especially along the coasts and in remote settlements, referring of course to air and sea medical evacuations. This is a daily task that we perform for the common good, to ensure the safety of our citizens. And it is because of that commitment that citizens have become our partners. To reinforce these ties of communication and aid, a year ago, we created the Fishermen’s Watch program, a partnership between the Aeronaval Service and men who make their living at sea, given the need to have our fishermen become prevention and security agents. Today, we have 4,000 fishermen involved in this initiative. Commissioner Nonato López: Without a doubt, the direct contact and the exchanges of knowledge and information with partner nations like the United States and Colombia have helped us considerably to deal with drug trafficking in all its varied forms. We have established excellent relationships by working closely together in the fight against international crime, which does not respect borders. We as authorities have had to come together, and we are in constant communication and constantly training in order to face this problem that affects us all. Like other Central American countries, Panama lies along the route transnational criminal organizations use to transport drugs from South America to the United States. Commissioner Ramón Nonato López: All of our strategies are aimed at constant surveillance and at strategic points. Criminals bet on being able to evade law enforcement and established laws and regulations. We are betting on our ability to maintain surveillance at docks, naval stations, coasts, islands, territorial waters, and any spot that could be used as a route for smuggling illicit substances. Our patrols run constantly, without a break, 365 days a year. Every day, criminal organizations attempt to violate the security of our territory, so we are constantly patrolling, day and night. SENAN takes no rest from this labor. Diálogo: Has the program already had a positive impact on fighting crime? Diálogo: What security strategies have you implemented that have led to Panama’s increasing control over its waters and air space? Diálogo met with Commissioner Ramón Nonato López, SENAN’s national director of Aeronaval Operations, to discuss these activities and other action plans that Panama is deploying in its fight against drug trafficking and other illegal activities. Diálogo: How do Panama’s international partnerships with the United States and Colombia in security matters fighting drug trafficking help SENAN in its intelligence work? Commissioner Nonato López: Our goal is to become the premier operational force fighting drug trafficking in this region and the force that makes the most seizures of illicit substances. [We’re] always standing watch because our units are continually updated, maintaining the trust, respect and above all, credibility that we have earned within the community, at the same time as we increase our presence with bases and deployments in each province. We will protect both oceans without pause, keeping criminals away from our waters. This will continue to be the goal for SENAN’s officials today, tomorrow, and always.
PHOENIX >> As if the Angels don’t have enough misery scuffling through another disappointing season, the electricity and wonderment of New York Mets pitching phenom Matt Harvey stings them every fifth day like a fastball to the gut.The pain they feel is the bitter reminder of what should have been.You think Harvey and his darting, dodging 98 mile-an-hour fastball and devastating slider would look good right about now with the Angels?How about Harvey and Jered Weaver joining forces to form a lethal one-two punch atop a deadly pitching rotation? Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “In my mind, growing up where I did, watching the Yankees and Mets and Red Sox, Major League Baseball is what we watched, it’s where you wanted to be,” Harvey said. “It’s where I always wanted to be.”The problem is the Angels never seemed all that interested. They waited until the last minute to extend their $1 million offer, which was half of what Harvey was seeking.“We got one e-mail, declined it, and never heard from them again,” Harvey said. “Obviously, I wasn’t thrilled with the way the whole process played out. I kind of felt like I got played with a little bit.”An admittedly disappointed Harvey reported to college, resigned to the fact his professional baseball hopes were on pause at least another three years.“Once it was obvious it wasn’t going to work out, I had to put things on hold a little longer,” Harvey said. “That’s tough. It was definitely a tough time as a young guy.”By 2010, Harvey pitched his way back into the top of the first round, where the Mets grabbed him with the seventh overall pick.The rest, of course, is history.Harvey spent two seasons in the minors before bursting onto the major-league scene last July.In just over one calendar year he’s emerged as one of the five best pitchers in baseball, flirted with two no-hitters, started and pitched two scoreless innings in an All-Star Game in his home stadium and currently is conjuring up an magical run at the Cy Young Award.In the process, he’s pointed the young Mets toward a bright future while drawing favorable comparisons to Tom Seaver, arguably the greatest pitcher in Mets history.“I have been around. I’ve watched a lot of guys,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I haven’t had, certainly, guys on my team of that caliber.He’s special. There’s no other way to put it.”And getting better every start, as evidenced by the complete-game shutout he threw in his last outing against the Colorado Rockies when he swapped the pizzazz of the strikeout for the economy of ground-ball outs, pounding the aggressive-swinging Rockies in the lower half of the strike zone.“In doing some research, I knew if I kept the ball down I could be successful,” Harvey said.In the big picture of a young pitcher’s evolution, it offered a quick snapshot of Harvey’s willingness to adjust.“He could probably just get by, and do really well, just by relying on stuff alone,” Mets catcher John Buck said. “But he’s the type of person; he’s in my grill after every start asking why’d we call this? Why’d you do this? He has a very good idea of what he wants to do and he’s very much into how to pitch and the right way to pitch.”In a strange, almost extraordinary sort of way, Matt Harvey never has felt as comfortable on a baseball field as he does in the major leagues.That might seem odd considering he’s pitching against the best hitters in the world every time he takes the mound, but Harvey’s comfort level has little to do with opposition and everything to do with a realization he is just now beginning to fully comprehend.And it might explain how someone most scouts considered a No. 2 starter — at best — on a good major-league pitching staff can surface as one of the best pitchers in the game in less than one year, beginning with his major-league debut last July in which he struck out 11 Arizona Diamondbacks in 5 1/3 innings.“My barometer for him was he could be in the top tier of major-league pitchers from his first outing,” said former Mets teammate R.A. Dickey, who won the Cy Young Award last year.That proved to be an astute call.Harvey’s been nothing short of brilliant ever since while taking a 2.26 ERA, 0.936 WHIP and 248 strikeouts over his first 219 big-league innings into tonight’s start against the Dodgers.This year he has a 9-3 record, 2.09 ERA, a 0.858 WHIP and is regarded as one of the top two pitchers in the National League along with the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw.That’s heady stuff for someone who compiled a 3.48 ERA and 1.290 WHIP over 46 minor-league starts and widely was viewed as the Mets’ second-best pitching prospect behind Zack Wheeler.The leap he made from very good minor-league pitcher to elite major-leaguer — not to mention the comfort he’s found at this level compared to the uncertainty he initially experienced — was a bit confusing even to Harvey.That is, until he sat down last winter and took an honest look at everything that preceded his call to the big leagues.And arriving at a very poignant revelation about the intuitive mindset he carried throughout his journey here.“I was always pitching to get where I am right now,” Harvey discovered.In other words, everything he did prior to reaching the big leagues — every pitch he threw, the manner in which he confronted every batter and situation and every bit of advice and coaching he accepted — was thrown, dealt with and absorbed in order to expedite his path to the bigs.“It was always a task. It was always, what do I have to do to get there?” Harvey said. “And there was a lot of unknown knowledge. Do I have to try and throw harder? Do I have to strike everybody out? What is it that I have to do to get there?“In retrospect, it was me pitching to get somewhere rather than to do something.”Now that he’s here, he’s able to boil his focus down to one specific objective.“I just have to get that guy out at home plate,” Harvey said. “As long as I get that guy out, it doesn’t matter what I did or how I did it. I just have to get him out. And if I do that I have achance to be the best.”One year into his career, Harvey is on his way to doing just that.Only he’s doing it with the Mets rather than the Angels.“No regrets whatsoever in how everything turned out,” Harvey said.Angels’ fans would beg to differ. Angels fans probably don’t want to hear this, not with the way Harvey’s taken the Big Apple by storm as one of Major League Baseball’s must-see young pitchers, but it was well within reach if not for a colossal miscalculation by the Halos seven years ago after drafting Harvey out of Connecticut’s Fitch Senior High School with their third-round pick.“I’m still not really sure what happened with all that,” Harvey admitted this weekend from Chase Field in Phoenix.The 24-year-old flamethrower is making his Los Angeles-area debut tonight when the Mets play the Dodgers, but the harsh reality is he’d be pitching regularly in Southern California had the Angels been more aggressive in their pursuit of him back in 2007, rather than mounting a nonchalant, almost disinterested negotiating chase to sign him.“The whole process was really weird in how it played out,” Harvey remembers.The Angels selected Harvey with the 118th pick that June — a steep fall for a prospect considered a potential top-10 pick going into his senior year — but despite the sharp tumble Harvey was more than open to forgoing a scholarship to North Carolina to pursue his professional baseball dreams.