Military personnel from across twenty countries, including the Caribbean and North America, will be arriving in Belize in a few weeks to participate Exercise Tradewinds 2022. The multi-national event is primarily focused on strengthening the regional response to narco-trafficking and supporting domestic law enforcement operations. Belize is one of the two host-countries and is currently coordinating through the Belize Defence Force for the upcoming event. Major Victor Briceno, who is the lead coordinator of Exercise Tradewinds, says preparations for the event began last year.
The military forces participating in the exercise will be focused on sharpening their response skills on land, sea, and air. While Mexico will play host for the naval activities, Belize will be used for land exercises. According to Captain Clifford Avila, Officer in Charge of the BDF’s Jungle Wing Training Company, this year is the first time Belize will be offering a qualification course in jungle training.
Apart from strengthening the military relations between participating nations, the event will seek to improve the region’s humanitarian response efforts in the wake of natural disasters. Major Roberto Beltran, Commanding Officer of the Services and Support Battalion, says the exercise will feature the establishment of a new CARICOM task force and is expected to boost military tourism.
This is the first time that Mexico is co-hosting a Tradewinds event since its inception in 1984. The Exercise Tradewinds will see as many as twenty countries taking part with one thousand five hundred uniformed and civilians participating.