By Dialogo May 28, 2009 Barcelona stunned holders Manchester United to win their third Champions League crown with a 2-0 victory here. Goals from star forwards Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi gave the Catalans a deserved victory and denied United from becoming the first team to retain the title since the European Cup became the Champions League in 1993. It gave the Spaniards a unique treble having already won their domestic league and cup and meant they repeated a feat United achieved in 1999, which Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson had then claimed would never be matched. It crowned a marvellous debut season for his Barcelona counterpart Pep Guardiola, who at 38 becomes the youngest coach to take European club football’s greatest prize. British newspapers said Manchester were ripped to shreds by a superior Barcelona in the Champions League final, taking Alex Ferguson’s hopes for a place in history down with them. “United leave Rome in ruins,” said The Times, after the 2-0 defeat in the Italian capital on Wednesday. “United fold without a fight,” said the Guardian. There was universal admiration for Barcelona’s performance — and scathing words for United, which had hoped to become the first team to retain the Champions League for a second year running. The Sun said Barca offered a “mesmerising” performance which made United look “as lifeless as the statues that lined the road to the Stadio Olimpico”. “It’s Messi-cre for Fergie flops” said the Sun, referring to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi who scored the second goal of the night 20 minutes from time. “Ferguson’s side, making elementary mistakes at the back, didn’t have an answer,” said one commentator in the tabloid. For Thierry Henry it ended years of frustration especially when his then team Arsenal lost to Barcelona in the 2006 final. “Finally I have won it! I have been waiting for so long for this moment,” said the France great, whose daughter celebrated her birthday as well on Wednesday. “The last five minutes were the longest of my life. Even if we were 2-0 up we were playing the best team in the world (referring to the world club championship title United won earlier this year).” Ferguson accepted defeat with good grace. “We started the game brightly but the goal was a killer,” said the 67-year-old Scot, who looked to have had a good omen when one of his horses Last Three Minutes won a race earlier on Wednesday. “However, they are a better team than us. We conceded two bad goals. Our defence has been good all season but those were two shoddy goals to lose.” Barca overcame early jitters to dominate large parts of the game as the English club never managed to get their usual high tempo game into gear. In a clash billed as the match of the century pitting the best two teams in the world – with each one boasting one of the best two players in the world – only one played to their full potential. And Ferguson may be questioning his team selection having left both Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez on the United bench as Ryan Giggs played off lone striker Cristiano Ronaldo with Wayne Rooney and Park Ji-Sung confined to disciplined roles on the flanks. Both sides made a nervy start with Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes and United’s Park – the first ever Asian player to play in a Champions League final – playing passes straight into touch. But United settled quickest and Ronaldo had a purple patch in which he terrorised the Spaniards for 10 minutes. He hit a 25-yard free-kick that Valdes couldn’t hold and former United defender Gerard Pique had to dive in to deflect Park’s follow-up away for a corner. Ronaldo then lashed a fierce long range drive wide and later, after controlling the ball on his chest, he hit a left-foot volley that sailed agonisingly inches past the post. The reigning champions were enjoying all the ball and chances but out of the blue Barca took the lead. Andres Iniesta played in Eto’o who beat Nemanja Vidic inside the box and although Michael Carrick slid in to try to block his shot, he succeeded only in helping it past Edwin van der Sar. That goal settled Barca into their usual stride and they started to weave the pretty patterns that have been mesmerising opponents all season, carrying them to the remarkable feat of scoring more than 150 goals. As the half wore on United gradually lost their shape and rhythm with Ferguson responding late on by pushing Rooney up alongside Ronaldo and Giggs out to the left. Xavi tried his luck from a free-kick which, like Giggs’s earlier, was too high but by now Barca had wrested control of the game and were keeping the ball with alarming ease. Ferguson wasted no time in switching tactics, bringing on Tevez for Anderson at the break and reverting to a more regular 4-4-2, the Argentine playing alongside Ronaldo and Giggs dropping back into a deeper role. But Barca were first to strike on the counter as Henry cut in from the flank and left Ferdinand on the seat of his pants before shooting weakly at van der Sar on 48 minutes. The Spaniards were totally in the ascendancy and Xavi fired a free-kick off the post on 53 minutes with van der Sar beaten as Barca threatened to run riot. The reigning champions steadied the ship and Ferguson signalled his intent when he threw Berbatov on for Park with a quarter of the match remaining. But just as the tide seemed to be turning, Barca extended their lead from the most unlikely source as Xavi picked out Messi at the back post on the edge of the six yard box, the Argentine wizard’s looping header arcing into the top corner on 70 minutes.
By Dialogo November 30, 2009 Dense jungle surrounds the Payamino River, an important water-way in Ecuador. This river, along with countless others in the eastern provinces of Ecuador, is a lifeline for local communities, the Ecuadorian military and illegal armed groups. Recognizing the importance of Riverine operations, the U.S. Military Group in Ecuador, in partnership with the Ecuadorian Army, began training together in October to enhance the capabilities of jungle units to control the rivers in their zones. “In the dense jungle environment the rivers serve as lines of communication for groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to conduct logistical support and illicit trafficking,” said Maj. Michael L. Burgoyne, a Foreign Area Officer with U.S. Military Group Ecuador. At the request of the Ecuadorian government, the Ecuadorian Army and the U.S. Military Group have been working together since 2007 to create, train and deploy small boat units in jungle terrain and along the border with Colombia. In a recent three week course, held in Coca, soldiers from the Ecuadorian 4th Division “Amazonas” mastered formations, Riverine patrolling, insertions, extractions and battle drills. During the course, the term “River Rats” was used to describe the Ecuadorian soldiers who will take their knowledge to the northern border with Colombia and the deepest reaches of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The training received enhanced the ability of the Ecuadorian Army to deploy their contingency of more than 40 boats and three Riverine battalions consisting of more than 550 personnel. These soldiers will be able to access remote outposts often only accessible by boat or helicopter, thereby preventing FARC units from establishing camps in Ecuador and preventing the flow of illegal drugs through the border. The relationships built and sustained with multinational partners in the Central and South American region through exercises, professional and military exchanges help tremendously in preserving peace and stability in the region. Since the Ecuadorian soldiers understand the U.S. commitment to the region, the two-year program has been successful in turning Soldiers into “River Rats.” “A big watch and cool knife get you only so far. Once they´re convinced you’re serious about their concerns (social, environmental and political) they take you seriously,” said Mr. Marty Martinez, a retired U.S. Navy Special Boat Unit member and Navy Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School instructor. But the learning was a two-way street. “I was able to learn a great deal about how the Ecuadorians maintain remote jungle outposts and patrol in a very unforgiving environment,” said Burgoyne. These types of training exercises are a major component of the U.S. Army’s regional engagement efforts and afford the opportunity to train ser-vice members while providing needed services to communities throughout the region. In conjunction with Vector Watercraft, a U.S.-based company, the U.S. Military Group also provided equipment upgrades to the Ecuadorian Army Riverine Program. As part of the program, the Ecuadorians have received numerous new and refitted patrol boats. These boats are equipped with water-jet engines and do not have the limitations of the outboard motors currently in use. With these new craft, the Ecuadorians can work in even the shallowest rivers to accomplish their mission. Besides creating an opportunity for the armed forces of Ecuador and U.S. Army counterparts to work side by side and learn from one another, this training also offered the opportunity for the Ecuadorian Army to share this training to all their units along their numerous waterways. “We’re very excited about the Riverine program,” said Lt. Col. Paul Lemke, U.S. Army Section Chief in Ecuador. “This is a great opportunity to work with our Ecuadorian partners to enhance their ability to secure their own territory and promote regional stability.
Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva sent a similar message to the Ecuadorian government, expressing gratitude in a press conference “for that presence and for that determination that President (Rafael) Correa also showed (on Wednesday).” Colombian President Alvaro Uribe thanked Ecuador Thursday for its cooperation in the battle against leftist FARC guerrillas in the border region, where separate military operations in recent days by the two countries have left 12 rebels dead. Soldiers destroyed three camps and seized 17 rifles, nine pistols, 300 electronic detonators, 63 grenades, 32 landmines, two grenade launchers and other gear in the operation. “I want to thank the Ecuadorian government for the effort it has made recently in the border area, neutralizing some FARC terrorists,” the conservative head of state told Cali’s Radio Calidad. Silva said the Ecuadorian action facilitated a Colombian military operation early Wednesday in which nine rebels from that same front were killed and six more were captured. The engagement took place early Wednesday in Las Lomas, a settlement on the shores of the San Miguel River in the southern province of Putumayo. He said the neighboring country’s actions are helping “a great deal” in the fight against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups and depends on drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom as the main means of financing its operations. The slain guerrillas belonged to the FARC faction that had been responsible for providing security to Raul Reyes, a top rebel commander who was killed in early 2008 in a Colombian military airstrike on his clandestine camp in Ecuador. “It’s very important here to highlight the cooperation, the collaboration between our two countries, because both nations are victims of narco-terrorism,” the Colombian defense minister said, adding that this new reality is the fruit of the normalization of bilateral relations. By Dialogo January 22, 2010 Very interesting issue. Finally a text describing the difficult and heroic work of the Brazilian military forces in that country in need. The World should thank the courage of all military and other entities that want to help to rebuild Haiti. The text is clear in the efforts to ease the suffering of the people and organize the help coming. Courage to everyone in the field and to the Haitian people. Gold help them. lili Those of us in countries that have lived through one of mother natureâ€™s blows know the damage it causes to human beings and their property. Thank God we can count on public and private organizations that immediately appear to help the neediest. This isnâ€™t the time for politics and ideology. Nature has no politics or ideology and we arenâ€™t prepared it hurts us. Onward multinational soldiers that are helping in Haiti. May God bless you. Very good subject. Intelligent questions, precise and direct. Itâ€™s gratifying to read an interview like this one. Congratulations! By the way, whoâ€™s the author of the story? Gratifying to read an interview that values the hard work of those who venture in a impoverished and dangerous. As a brother of a soldier, I was delighted to read a well thought interview with Coronel Alan. It is unusual to find texts that address the painful work of the military, not measuring efforts and even risking their own lives for those who need help. Congratulations! At last Ecuador understands that the only possible way is through cooperation and institutional support. Actively supporting the guerillas, or doing so by omission is gambling on uncertainty and horror. I am very sad for my compatriots that are suffering from this earthquake. I donâ€™t have the means to help them and I feel very, very badly. I particularly thank all of those countries and foreigners that are helping the suffering Haitians, for example; food, and water for all. I also want to particularly thank all of those Presidents that are consciously helping. Do not forsake the Haitians because they have nothing. I am also Haitian has lived in Chile for two (2) years. It is still not possible for me to take anything. Please think about them. Thanks to the President of Chile and to the future President and to all of the Chileans that have suffered as we Haitians are suffering. Thank you. Crime is crime, fight it off. Donâ€™t associate with crime. Silva said he spoke on several occasions Wednesday by telephone with Ecuadorian Security Minister Miguel Carvajal, who informed him that his nation’s army had killed three insurgents and dismantled a rebel camp on its side of the border. “This presence of our two countries and our armed forces on both sides of the border is going to have a very noticeable, very significant impact on the FARC’s viability in that region. Colombia and Ecuador began talks last September aimed at restoring diplomatic ties, which Correa’s leftist government had severed following the March 2008 bombing of Reyes’ camp.
The United Nations Office for Drug and Crime launched a project on 14 October to improve communication between police and airports in seven West African countries and Brazil to crack down on drug trafficking. Drug runners are taking advantage of the weak coordination to smuggle cocaine from South America to countries in West Africa, which they use as a springboard for trafficking to the European market. Senegalese senior interior ministry official Cheikhou Cisse said that aim of the project, dubbed Aircop, was “to establish secure communication between airports in West Africa and Latin America”. Brazil, Cape Verde, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo are participating in the programme and Guinea and Morocco have been invited to join. Concretely, Aircop, will “bring together all agencies in charge of fighting trafficking and organised crime at the national level into a unit that can work with regional and trans-regional counterparts”, the head of the EU delegation in Dakar, Gilles Hervio, said. Airports participating in the programme will have units of no more than 20 people operating around the clock, he added. Cisse said that according to UN figures 200 to 300 tonnes of cocaine arrive in Europe each year by airplane. “Part of this traffic comes from West Africa,” he said. Out of 822 drug seizures in Europe in 2009, 122 or 13 percent arrived on flights from West Africa, according to the United Nations drug office’s regional head Alexandre Schmidt. Schmidt said that “West Africa has become a target for drug traffickers because of a crackdown in the United States” and because of the weak coordination between various services and governments in the region. Aircop is expected to cost 2.3 million euros (3.2 million dollars), financed mainly by the European Union. Canada is also contributing 300,000 euros. By Dialogo October 15, 2010
Sikorsky, the most important helicopter manufacturer in the United States, is studying the possibility of setting up an aircraft equipment and maintenance center in Spain, although the project is conditional on signing a contract with the Navy for the sale of six second-hand SH-60F Sea Hawks and obtaining another contract for maintenance from the U.S. Sixth Fleet. The first challenge for the U.S.-based multinational, which has revenues and personnel very similar to the European Eurocopter, is to complete the sale of the helicopters, worth nearly 155 million dollars, equivalent to around 114 million euros at current exchange rates, to the Spanish Navy, the daily Expansión reported. The sale, still being studied by the Spanish Defense Ministry, has already been endorsed by the Pentagon, which sent an official notification to Congress on 30 September for its approval, which is expected to take place without major problems, industry sources told Infodefensa.com. The notification from the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) confirms that the Spanish government has requested the approval of the possible sale, which would include six second-hand SH-60F multipurpose helicopters, thirteen T700-GE-401C engines – twelve installed and one spare – and support, training, and inspection services, as well as spare parts and manuals. Modernizing the Navy’s Capabilities According to the agency’s official statement, the possible sale “will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally (Spain) that has been and continues to be an important force for economic and military progress.” Specifically, the Pentagon agency indicates that the SH-60 helicopters would serve to modernize the Spanish Navy’s search-and-rescue capabilities, which would improve its ability to carry out humanitarian missions, airborne medical evacuations, fire-fighting, and anti-piracy efforts. Spain currently has twelve SH-60s and consequently would not be expected to have problems absorbing and operating these additional helicopters. The principal contractor for the engines will be General Electric, and the sale would not generate offset requirements. Sikorsky in Spain According to the daily Expansión, the U.S.-based multinational aerospace firm’s objective is to establish an aircraft equipment and maintenance center in Spain, most likely in Rota (Cádiz), the location of the base used by the Sixth Fleet, and so support its growth in the countries of Africa, “since that continent is one of the most promising markets for the helicopter business.” With this intention, Sikorsky is finalizing an alliance with two Spanish companies that would carry out the work of equipping the aircraft, an activity expected to make up more than 50 percent of the total value of the contract it hopes to sign with the Spanish Navy in the coming year for the sale of the six helicopters, which since they will be second-hand, would require modernization for their new configuration. If it achieves its objective, Expansión says, the group “would create a strong set of maintenance capabilities that would also serve, in turn, to meet the needs of the Navy’s Sea Hawks, as well as those of the U.S. Forth Fleet.” Blow for Eurocopter The business daily affirms that if Sikorsky’s plans materialize, it would be a blow to Eurocopter’s expectations in Spain. The EADS subsidiary is currently renegotiating with the Defense Ministry the sale of forty-five NH90 helicopters, which would be destined for the three military branches. “Nevertheless,” the newspaper says, “if the Navy covers part of its transport needs with the six Sea Hawks, it would be a clear argument in favor of lowering its initial order from the European manufacturer.” In addition, Sikorsky would score a point against another of its global competitors, its fellow U.S. firm Boeing, which tried without success to get a foothold in Spain with a contract to sell its Apache helicopters to the Spanish executive branch. The subsidiary of the U.S.-based United Technologies group had revenues of 4.7 billion euros in 2009 and a profit of 445 million. With more than 17,000 employees, it has manufactured almost a third of all military helicopters flying today around the world. If it sets up a facility in Spain, it would be its fifth installation in Europe, since it has a factory in Poland and is present in Great Britain, Turkey, and the Czech Republic. By Dialogo December 08, 2010
On October 17, Central America was on high alert due to the uninterrupted rains that have left more than 80 dead and affected 200,000 people in the last week. El Salvador, where at least 32 people have died, and Guatemala, with 29 dead and 6 missing, are the two countries most severely impacted by the rains unleashed by two successive low-pressure systems, the first in the Pacific and the second in the Caribbean. Provisional official figures, which threaten to increase due to the risk of mudslides in this mountainous region and with the soil saturated with water, also record 13 dead in Honduras and another 8 in Nicaragua. Considered by the United Nations as one of the regions most affected by climate change, Central America has suffered more than 50,000 dead and tens of billions of dollars in losses due to natural disasters over the last 40 years, according to a study by European and Latin American universities. In this context, the region’s Governments issued disaster declarations and requests for help from the international community. “The intensity of the precipitation, the duration of the phenomenon, and the size of the territory affected mean that we are facing one of the largest emergencies we have ever had to deal with,” Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes affirmed in a message broadcast on radio and television. He also added that “this phenomenon is larger than Hurricane Mitch (1998) and Tropical Storms Ida and Agatha (2008 and 2009, respectively).” A preliminary evaluation indicates that around a dozen bridges have collapsed, and a similar number are damaged. Likewise, 14 primary roads have suffered severe damage, 577 cases of landslides falling onto roads have been identified, and 20,000 people have taken refuge in temporary shelters in the country, the Congress of which has declared a “state of public catastrophe and national disaster.” Following the call for help, several countries responded, including Spain, the United States, Japan, Taiwan, Venezuela, and Cuba, according to the Salvadoran foreign minister, Hugo Martínez, who explained that he is coordinating with them the kind of aid they need and how to effectively deliver it. By Dialogo October 19, 2011
By Dialogo June 14, 2012 Did they comply with everything that they promised? Did they give you all the benefits that they promised if they win? Or why some left the force? For the fifth time in the history of Fuerzas Comando, Colombia has scooped the title of Champion of the Military Anti-Terrorist Olympiad, the most important Special Forces sporting event in the Western Hemisphere. Ecuador and Uruguay took second and third place, respectively, followed by El Salvador and Guatemala. Only a few hours after the victory was announced, the winning team was decorated by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who on June 13 arrived at the Military Fort of Tolemaida to take part in the activation ceremony of three new mobile brigades and four Army batallions. Joined by Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón, the president took advantage of the opportunity to address the seven Colombian commandos who raised their country’s honor during the 10th edition of Fuerzas Comando. “We have the best Armed Forces in the continent (…) nothing compares to our men’s training, men who have additionally been wrought in combat, because we are the only country to continue at war in the whole of the continent,” he said. For their part, the winning team members dedicated their victory to the Colombian people and stated that their source of strength during the hardest moments of the competition was the “eighth” team member. “He trained to be with us at this event, but unfortunately died during a Military exercise on March 5,” explained Sergeant Major Aquiles, who for security reasons changed his name. That same day, the Military Fort was the stage for the so-called “Friendship Jump” in which some 400 Military and Special Forces members from 21 countries in the Americas jumped from an altitude of 12,000 feet with parachutes. Among the paratroopers was General Alejandro Navas, commander of the Joint Staff of the Colombian Armed Forces, who parachuted from a Colombian Air Force plane with commandos from his country as well as from the Dominican Republic, Canada, Guatemala and Mexico. The event began before sunrise and counted on the presence of Ambassador Carmen Martínez, Civilian Deputy to the Commander & Foreign Policy Advisor at the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). During her visit, Martínez expressed her admiration for the participants’ tenacity. “I am impressed with the interaction between the teams, the way in which they help each other out. This is a symbol of what we can do among our countries. People who help each other out, countries who help each other out,” she expressed. Ambassador Martínez also praised the great job done by the event’s Colombian organizers and highlighted the collaboration that these events foster. “Our continent is like a big neighborhood, and if we want to live in a good neighborhood we have to be good neighbors, help each other out. What happens in one country affects the rest, and we can’t remain isolated,” she insisted. Sponsored by SOUTHCOM, since its inception in 2004, Fuerzas Comando aims to strengthen the relationships between the members of the Armed Forces of the Americas, as well as to share skills, techniques and tactics in the fight against terrorism. Chile, which took the 10th place in this year’s event, will host the 10th edition of the competition in 2013.
Fifteen Colombian Soldiers and six guerillas from the leftist FARC rebel group died on July 20 during clashes in southwest Colombia, the Military said. By Dialogo July 23, 2013 The fighting occurred in the town of El Doncello, in the department of Caquetá, a stronghold of the southern bloc of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Military statement said. The Pentagon and U.S. State Department had no immediate comment. The Colombian government likewise was silent on the matter. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it has made contact with leftist guerrillas in Colombia who said they wanted to release a captured former U.S. Soldier. The FARC said it has been holding Kevin Scott Sutay since June 20 in the southern department of Guaviare. The latest casualties of Colombia’s almost half-century-old insurgency came a day after the rebel group announced it had captured a former U.S. Soldier, but said it was ready to release him as a good will gesture in light of peace talks with the government. Three Soldiers were injured and two militants were captured. all fifteen soldiers died in the district of Arauca
“In special cases [of suspicious boats], we also stop boats navigating in the opposite direction,” Oliveira said. Specifically, 70% of the narcotics that enter the Amazonas come in through the Solimões River. To stop them, Troops and police officers launch missions from the Anzol Base, located about 50 kilometers from Tabatinga, where the ferries BA-1 and BA-2 have been docked since the base opened on September 18. The BA-1 is used by nearly 30 police officers to inspect boats and passengers 24 hours a day from its station on the river’s right shore. The BA-2, meanwhile, is used by 15 Soldiers who alternate between two shifts on the left bank. Security forces use technology and trained canines Brazil’s Army, Federal Police, and Amazonas state security forces are working together to combat the flow of drugs entering the country from the tri-border Amazon region where Brazil, Colombia, and Peru converge. Alto Huallaga, located in the country’s northwest, is one of Peru’s largest cocaine-producing regions, while Vale do Javari encompasses parts of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru and is home to numerous cocaine plantations. Two Brazilian Army platoons cover that area: the Estirão do Equador Fourth Special Border Platoon (PEF) and the Palmeira do Javari Special Border Platoon. Security authorities constructed the Anzol Base close to the confluence of the Solimões and the Javari rivers, a location used to transport the majority of cocaine that’s produced in the Alto Huallaga and Vale do Javari areas. The location of the base, near the city of Tabatinga and between two islands on the Solimões, is significant because it allows authorities to use the power plant operated by the Amazonas Electric Company and decreases the chances of boats carrying contraband to evade authorities. By Dialogo November 23, 2015 Brazil is falling apart. People are turning into zombies. Drugs are the worst enemy to society. “Because water routes are the primary means of transportation in the region, almost all of the illicit drugs produced in Peru and Colombia are transported on the Solimões River,” said Alexandre Silveira de Oliveira, Regional Executive Deputy for the Office of the Superintendent of the Federal Police in Amazonas. In that effort, security forces inspected 622 boats on the Solimões River during September – an average of 20 a day – in addition to interviewing or searching nearly 4,800 passengers. Every vessel that navigates the Solimões from Tabatinga to Manaus will continue to be stopped and inspected, except for Navy vessels and boats protected by international treaties. Forces bolster security by using sniffer dogs to find drugs and explosives, and units assigned to BA-1 have equipment that helps them conduct nighttime inspections, record images from the river, and transmit data over the Internet, which allows its personnel to support other police squads’ activities. Additionally, Military and law enforcement personnel at the Anzol Base also combat the illicit smuggling of merchandise and the illegal exploitation of mines thanks to the support expert technicians and intelligence service members. “Our specific mission is to intercept boats that try to evade inspection by BA-1, primarily during the night shift,” said Lieutenant Colonel Marcos Vieira Santana, commanding officer of the Solimões Border Command/8th Jungle Infantry Battalion. “We have a Guardian boat outfitted with two engines and weapons, which provides ideal conditions to fulfill our mission.”
January 15, 2002 Regular News FLREA wins bid to host national mock trial finals FLREA wins bid to host national mock trial finals The best and brightest high school “lawyers” in America will gather in Florida in two years to compete in the National High School Mock Trial Championship.The Florida Law Related Education Association was recently awarded the opportunity to host this student academic program, which will be held in Orlando May 7-9, 2004.“The mock trial experience gives high school students the opportunity to challenge their analytical abilities and learn how to think on their feet in a challenging environment,” said Annette Boyd Pitts, FLREA’s executive director.FLREA has sponsored the Florida High School Mock Trial Competition for the past 11 years.Pitts said the national competition will draw more than 1,500 students, teachers, attorney-coaches, and sponsors from over 45 states and U.S. territories. Teams of six to eight students prepare as lawyers and witnesses to argue both sides of a fictitious case. Attorney-coaches and teachers prepare the students for competition, but once the trial begins the students are on their own to present the case before the judge and scoring jury, Pitts said.“The mock trial program has a definite impact,” Pitts said. “Data from previous years shows that over 95 percent of the students participating agreed or strongly agreed that participating in the program helped them increase their knowledge and understanding of the trial process and courts system.”FLREA’s Associate Director Ernest Abisellán said students who participate in the program gain improved public speaking skills and confidence, and it helps increase their respect for the legal system and legal professionalism.“The mock trial program sparks an interest in many students to pursue a career in law,” Abisellán said.“This academic competition serves as a vehicle for positive student interaction with our courts,” Abisellán said. “The program helps high school students understand the administration of justice and the framework for judicial decision-making.”Abisellán said Florida’s annual mock trial program would not be possible without the generous donation of time and funding from the lawyers of Florida, where hundreds of lawyers annually volunteer their time to advise, coach, and judge the Florida mock trial competitions held throughout the state.He said staging the 2004 National High School Mock Trial Championship — set for the Orange County Courthouse — will require more than 400 attorney volunteers during the three-day event.“Your financial support also is needed to make this national event possible,” Abisellán said. “Individual and firm donations will be accepted.”Abisellán said all donations will be recognized in printed materials and those who contribute will be honored at the national banquet. To learn more about the program, contact Abisellán at (850) 386-8223 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.