December 20

CRUZEX V: Many Fighter Planes, One Goal

first_img No aircraft takes off by itself to fight in CRUZEX V. Twice a day, up to forty airplanes arrive together at the start of the Natal Air Base runway for one more mission in this simulated war. These are the so-called “packs,” groups of aircraft that will combine their capabilities to defeat hostile forces. “A pack makes it possible to optimize resources and maximize results,” summarized Lt. Col. Sérgio Bastos, commander of the 1st/16th Aviation Group (GAV), the Adelphi Squadron. According to him, at the same time that attack aircraft take off to destroy targets on the ground, high-performance fighter planes confront possible enemies in the air, while others act to destroy radars and anti-aircraft defenses. A pack may bring together aircraft ranging, for example, from planes that reach twice the speed of sound, like the Mirage 2000, to the turboprop Super Toucan, more suitable for combat close to the ground. In one of these fighter planes, a pilot will have the task of commanding all the aircraft. He is the so-called pack leader, responsible for fulfilling the entire mission and also for maintaining the safety of each aircraft. “We dream of having this responsibility,” Lt. Col. Sérgio Bastos confessed. For him, this is one of the greatest experiences that a fighter pilot can have during an exercise like CRUZEX V. “There’s no such thing as the worst or the best plan: there’s the suitable plan,” he explained. With the experience of someone who has participated in three prior CRUZEX exercises and one Red Flag exercise in the United States, Lt. Col. Sérgio Bastos highlighted the fact that each year the pilot’s challenge increases, and so does the knowledge he gains. “With aircraft capable of carrying better weapons, mission preparation has evolved a great deal,” he states. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the air force. We can interact with other countries, obtain knowledge, and exchange experiences,” he concluded. By Dialogo November 19, 2010 And the Argentine airplanes???? Like they were telling me in a forum that they were the best and they weren’t even able to launch. How embarrassing… last_img read more

December 20

Army Provides Mobile Satellite Communications For Disaster Response

first_imgBy Dialogo January 27, 2011 De hecho, cuando alguien no entiende, depende de los otros visitantes ayudar, y eso ocurre aquí.dgedggddcdffgeef Este sitio web es mayormente un recorrido de toda la información que uno desea saber pero no sabe a quién preguntar. Echa un vistazo aquí y sin duda lo descubrirás. eedkbedcbckfgbdd Sometimes the enemy isn’t an insurgency – it’s a storm surge. Just ask Col. Quill Ferguson. “When you enter into a crisis situation, normally one of the first things to go is your communications,” said Col. Ferguson, G6 for U.S. Army North, which frequently responds to natural disasters. “Having a satellite-based network allows you to bridge some of that infrastructure damage that you normally get, whether it’s an earthquake, a hurricane or another man-made or natural event.” In the years since Hurricane Katrina exposed dangerous information gaps between various government responders, the Army has developed high-tech capabilities that enable rapid, inter-agency communications during an emergency. One of those systems, the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability, or JISCC, has been deployed in response to wildfires in California, the earthquake in Haiti and other disaster areas, said Joseph Cellini, JISCC project lead for the Army’s Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T). In austere battlefield environments, network infrastructure can be nonexistent – leaving Soldiers to rely on imported satellite communications to transmit information by voice, data and video. Back in the U.S., a disaster that wipes out the communications infrastructure can have the same chilling effect. “The advanced, futuristic technologies that we live with go away, and you become very austere,” Cellini said. “You have no electricity, satellite, bandwidth and communications. Think of all the things we do on a daily basis. Now take it all away. That’s really what happens at an incident site such as 9/11 and such as Katrina.” Now, the Army is able to fill that void by bringing in its own communications pipelines. Army North relies on vehicles powered by a generator and equipped with a satellite connection, allowing Soldiers to connect with their higher headquarters on both classified and unclassified networks, said Sgt. 1st Class Alberto Hernandez, who is assigned to Army North. “Once we have established communications through the satellite link, it’s just like being back at the office. You have the same capabilities,” Hernandez said. “It helps immensely.” The familiar, user-friendly equipment for transmitting voice, video and data means personnel don’t confront a “learning gap” in the critical moments, Ferguson said. “We can be on the air in 10 minutes or better, and that means the difference in saving lives and coordinating with the first responders at every level – whether it’s the local, state or federal level,” he said. “The most crucial element of any crisis is information, and being able to disseminate that information, to share it with the right people, at the right time.” In addition to satellite feeds, both the Army North vehicles and the JISCC come equipped with handheld portable radios that can run on various bands and frequencies, permitting different agencies to talk to one another. That provides simultaneous situational awareness for first responders including police and fire departments, Emergency Medical Technicians, state and local governments, and relief organizations such as the Red Cross, Cellini said. “There are no longer these disparate communication nodes he said.”Everyone can talk by doing talk groups. It brings everyone on the same common page.”last_img read more

December 20

Peruvian Detained with Drugs Belongs to Shining Path

first_img One of the five Peruvians detained in Bolivia on 28 June on drug-trafficking charges is a member of the Shining Path armed group, Bolivian Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti affirmed on 1 July. “We can confirm that one of the individuals arrested in Pelechuco belongs to the Shining Path terrorist group; we are exchanging further information with the Peruvian authorities,” Llorenti said at a press conference. Pelechuco is a border town north of the binational Lake Titicaca, where five Peruvians and a Bolivian who were transporting cocaine were detained on 28 June. The minister did not specify the name of the supposed Shining Path member, although several local media outlets affirmed that it was believed to be Ulser Pillpa Paitán, “Comrade Jhony.” Three of the detained Peruvians were wearing the uniform of the Bolivian anti-narcotics police, according to the Bolivian anti-drug force, which indicated that they were surprised while trying to make an illegal seizure of forty-three kilograms of cocaine from the other three detainees, supplanting the authorities. The agency did not specify which detainees were the ones who were transporting the drugs and which were disguised as Bolivian police officers. The six individuals involved in the drug case are being detained in La Paz. Shining Path, a guerrilla group, emerged in Peru in 1980 and had its period of greatest activity up to 2000, when its chief leaders were taken prisoner or died in combat, following a ferocious confrontation with the state that left around seventy thousand dead. At present, a residual group of between two hundred and three hundred men operates in a coca-growing area in southern Peru. By Dialogo July 06, 2011last_img read more

December 20

Judo at the Military World Games

first_imgBy Dialogo July 15, 2011 Judo fights take place on an 8m x 8m tatami. Each fight lasts up to five minutes, if no athlete succeeds in applying the ippon, the perfect move in this sport and one that ends the fight independently of the moment at which it is executed. In the case of a tie, there is an extension of up to three minutes, in which the winner is determined by any point scored. If the tie persists, the referees decide the winner. There are three referees, and each has one vote. Judo points are classified as yuko, wazari, and ippon. A yuko happens when the opponent falls sideways or when he or she is immobilized for between 15 and 19 seconds. A wazari is scored when the rival is thrown backward without the force or speed characteristic of an ippon. Immobilization for 20 to 24 seconds also characterizes a wazari. A wazari is worth half a point. Two wazaris equal one ippon. An ippon determines the winner. It happens when the opponent falls down on his or her back, at the end of a perfect move, finalized by a stranglehold or chokehold, or when he or she is immobilized for 25 seconds.last_img read more

December 20

Interview with Rear Admiral Germán González Reyes of the Colombian Armed Forces

first_img RADM Germán González Reyes: Yes. Coordinated Integrated Action works with the other state institutions and with the private sector to bring certain solutions to the population. We hold development support days that consist of bringing in general practitioners and specialist physicians, delivering medicine, making referrals to hospitals; in sum, we seek the participation of businesses in support of the medicine and of the doctors themselves who provide care. Finally, we have Dispositive Integrated Action, which implements and supports the National Consolidation Plan. At this time, we’re selecting 54 municipalities that today are sites in the process of stabilization, meaning that the state is going to make itself present with security, development projects, production projects, education projects, health projects … in order to shift those red areas to yellow areas and then to green areas. Images of soldiers building a road in a remote location in the Colombian countryside, photos of demobilized former FARC members, and the smiles of children gathering to watch a movie in a town park make up the face of the strategy of Integrated Action, part of Colombia’s Democratic Security Consolidation Policy. During a visit to the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, Florida, in September 2011, Rear Admiral Germán González Reyes, in command of the Joint Integrated Action Bureau of the Colombian Armed Forces General Command, spoke with Diálogo about the achievements and challenges of a strategy that has enabled his country to take steps forward in the area of security and social welfare, earning a vanguard position in Latin America. DIÁLOGO: Why was the Integrated Action strategy created, and of what does it consist? DIÁLOGO: Colombia plays a vanguard role in Latin America with regard to strategies of this kind. How can Colombia’s example be of use to other countries in the region? DIÁLOGO: Is there any kind of agreement with the private sector? RADM Germán González Reyes: We’ve always relied on U.S. collaboration and support in training, in equipment. I can say that projects are currently underway to prevent the recruitment of children and adolescents. The United States has a framework of cooperation with the Joint Integrated Action Bureau to develop a variety of tools that can help to prevent forced recruitment and encourage the demobilization of members of military armed groups through information operations, in order to fulfill the objectives of integrated action. Twelve Integrated Action companies were trained in partnership with the U.S. Government, companies which will seek to position the concepts of legitimacy, strengthening the institutional image, and rapprochement with the civilian population on the operational and tactical level within the Armed Forces, in the context of fourth-generation war. DIÁLOGO: What have some of the successes of the Integrated Action plan been since its launch in 2002? By Dialogo September 20, 2011 RADM Germán González Reyes: There’s an example that we show off with a great deal of pride: the Montes de María. That’s an area located in the northern part of the country, where years ago, there was a presence by irregular groups. There was displacement of the population of those areas due to insecurity. An Integrated Action strategic plan was implemented, and we succeeded in dismantling all the irregular groups in the area. We obtained a state presence with the construction of roads to link several municipalities, and legal crops, such as avocadoes, were promoted. That was done by the National Navy: it served as a bridge, guaranteed security, facilitated agriculture, and arranged for the private sector to come to this area to purchase the crops. Today, the population has returned home, they’re farming, and the security environment is different. We can also mention the case of the Task Force Omega area, La Macarena, where we’re doing a project of the same kind. There were irregular groups there. Joint Task Force Omega was assigned, basic levels of security were restored, and after that, the state began to arrive. Today, roads, schools, and health centers have been built, and production programs have been implemented, giving the population alternatives for growing licit crops, instead of illicit crops such as coca. center_img RADM Germán González Reyes: Irregular groups and drug trafficking always generate insecurity in the areas where they are. Integrated Action does not combat drug trafficking as such; nevertheless, it’s a tool used by the Military that supports military operations before, during, and after those operations (institutional synergy). When the state arrives with the presence of the Military, when it guarantees security and offers rural workers the opportunity of growing bananas rather than coca, and it gives them options for getting them to market and selling them, we are promoting a decrease in illicit drug cultivation. DIÁLOGO: How is the fight against drug trafficking ingrained into the strategy of Integrated Action? RADM Germán González Reyes: Integrated Action is a bridge between the institutions responsible for security and the social side of things. The fundamental objective is the coordination of state agencies and institutions, in order to act in a joint and integrated way throughout the entire national territory, in the social, economic, political, and military spheres, thereby guaranteeing the rule of law, the social recovery of territory, the effective application of the social state under the rule of law, and the neutralization of irregular armed groups. For example, General Integrated Action also has radio stations, with which we reach those remote areas of the country, as well as special psychological-operations groups (GEOS) that take a message of rapprochement to the population as part of military operations. A wide-ranging concept of civil and military cooperation began to be developed in Colombia during the administration of President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, at the time that the Military was assigned the authority and capability to provide social assistance to the most vulnerable communities, helping with the solution of some basic needs. That gave rise to the initial concept of Civic-Military Action, the ultimate purpose of which consisted in obtaining the support and backing of the rural population. Starting in 2002, the Democratic Security Policy develops Integrated Action in full, strengthening a tool that brings together the coordinated and synergistic effort involved in the use of legitimate force. DIÁLOGO: What is the most important challenge faced by your bureau at this time? RADM Germán González Reyes: We have the ongoing challenge of trying to increase favorable views of and trust in the Military among the population. The Military is currently the most favorably viewed institution, according to surveys that have been taken in both urban and rural areas. Maintaining and improving that is one goal. Second is achieving an increase in demobilization and achieving a decrease in forced recruitment by irregular armed groups; likewise, continuing to fulfill the proposed objectives, by helping with military operations, designing tools to neutralize multi-dimensional and situational threats, and increasing preventive capabilities in response to those threats. In addition, it’s important for the bureau to continue developing long-term strategies, to counteract attacks on the state’s legitimacy, and to position the country as a leader and pioneer of information operations in Latin America, in order to generate international technical cooperation offerings. DIÁLOGO: How are the United States and Colombia collaborating in order to strengthen and implement the strategy of Integrated Action? RADM Germán González Reyes: Several countries have visited us for the purpose of learning about the procedures we carry out in Integrated Action and on the operational side of things in general. Currently, support is being provided to Central American countries and to Mexico. We’ve held workshops, talks, training sessions, and meetings on the topic of Integrated Action, where we’ve explained our procedures, generating an atmosphere of cooperation and advising on the structuring of an Integrated Action Doctrine. Likewise, a panorama of integrated action has been jointly constructed in the different countries on our borders and across the Americas, establishing unilateral and joint lines of action that take into account the advice provided on civil-affairs issues and issues of integrated action in general. last_img read more

December 20

Brazilian Air Force Psychologists Bring Their Expertise to Haiti

first_imgBy Dialogo May 07, 2012 For the first time ever, psychologists employed by the Brazilian Air Force have been sent to a United Nations peacekeeping mission overseas in order to identify and understand the stresses that affect troops doing this kind of work. Last December, a team from the Air Force Psychology Institute (IPA) shadowed a Brazilian infantry battalion from Manaus that had been deployed to Port-au-Prince as part of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The objective: to improve the training of soldiers sent on similar missions in the future. “It was a unique professional experience,” said Lt. Fabrícia Barros de Souza, a psychologist. “Our soldiers were very receptive, and contributed in a meaningful way to the data collection. They all showed they are highly qualified and mission-driven professionals.” The Brazilian Air Force offers air support to the Brazilian contingent within MINUSTAH and more recently has begun deploying infantry troops. The first infantry units arrived in February 2011 from the northeastern Brazilian cities of Recife, Natal and Fortaleza, but were later replaced by the platoon from Manaus, which remained until the end of April. “We believe it is of that upmost importance that, along with technical and operational excellence, we consider and constantly monitor the psychosocial aspects involved in a mission of this nature,” said Maj. Luis Felipe, an Air Force spokesman. The aim is to ensure that Brazilian troops — which have been in Haiti since 2004 — perform effectively without any harm to their safety and occupational health. Mission objectives The first contingent of Air Force troops deployed to Haiti underwent psychological assessments to determine if any had personal or family-related problems that could cause problems during or after the mission. “The project addresses the issue of stress in peace operations, as a specific part of the daily work of the Brazilian military,” explained Felipe. “Since this monitoring requires a feedback loop, we included a study of professional profiles and a survey of stressors, which would provide legitimacy to the work done with each new soldier.” Lt. Col. Ana Lúcia Lopez, deputy director of the Air Force Psychology Institute, helped her team conduct individual and group interviews, lectures and videoconferences; team members also participated in the daily routines of the soldiers they observed. “The work routine was intense and its results represent only the beginning of a bold venture that seeks to gain visibility for the role of psychology in the operational realm,” said Barros de Souza. Sources of stress Perhaps because these soldiers are not fighting a full-fledged war, it’s easy to underestimate the many sources of stress peacekeepers face, and the long-term effects of that stress. These include being away from the family, living in a different culture and the local conflicts that characterize these kinds of mission. In Haiti, this stress is exacerbated by the extremely poor living conditions of the local population; verbal aggression from some Haitians; the risk of sickness or death from infectious diseases; vulnerability to acts of violence without the ability to respond with weapons; the lack of communication resources to keep in touch with friends and family back home, and — perhaps worst of all — an inability to significantly improve the lives of local people. “The complexity of peace missions has also to do with placing the military in a new situation,” explained Felipe. “It is different than in traditional war, which from the psychological point of view is identified with uncertainty and the unknown.” In this case, he said, “there is also no enemy, which turns the objective of these operations in something more complicated than merely winning. These obstacles not only compromise the performance of the mission, but affect motivation and endanger a soldier’s physical and mental health.” The way forward The aim of the individual and group interviews was to collect data, but Felipe said “we were at their disposal if there was a need for intervention.” Despite limited contact with the locals, the Brazilian team left Port-au-Prince with the distinct impression that Haitians are quite receptive to MINUSTAH’s presence — especially children, who picked up the psychologists’ names in a heartbeat. “The troops say that the smiles of those children are a motivating factor for their work and, in a way, mitigate the adverse conditions of the mission,” said Felipe.last_img read more

December 20

Colombia and U.S. Seize 2,281 kg of Cocaine in the Caribbean

first_imgBy Dialogo August 28, 2012 A total of 2,281 kilograms of cocaine were confiscated in the Colombian Caribbean and in the proximity of the Dominican Republic, in two operations executed as part of the maritime interdiction agreement between Colombia and the United States, informed a military report on August 23 in Bogotá. According to the report, the confiscated drugs were transported in two boats that set sail from Colombian territory. The United States Coast Guard intercepted the first one, containing 1,181 kg of cocaine, very close to Providence Island. The other boat, contained 1,100 kg of the drug and four crewmembers on board, and was intercepted close to the Dominican Republic. The confiscated cocaine has a value close to $60 million in the international black market, indicated the report. The seized drugs are part of another 1,930 kg of cocaine confiscated this past week during two operations conducted close to the San Blas Islands (Panamá, in the Caribbean) and on the border of Costa Rica, emphasized the Colombian Navy.last_img read more

December 20

US National Security Advisor Visits Panama to Strengthen Collaboration Against COVID-19

first_imgBy U.S. Embassy in Panama/Edited by Diálogo Staff September 21, 2020 U.S. National Security Advisor Ambassador Robert O’Brien visited Panama on August 17 to work together with one of our strongest regional partners to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.The United States has offered $4.4 million in assistance to support COVID-19 response efforts in Panama.During the visit, Ambassador O’Brien announced the signing of the expansion of the América Crece (Growth in the Americas) memorandum of understanding, which aims to promote Panama’s economic development, and spoke with senior Panamanian government officials about creating a U.S.-Panama joint task force to counter corruption and money laundering.Finally, Ambassador O’Brien took part in a ceremony marking the donation of 50 ventilators, 6,600 test kits, and other necessary supplies to fight COVID-19.Ambassador O’Brien met with Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo and spoke about the U.S. assistance to counter COVID-19, economic growth, strengthening security cooperation, and fighting against money laundering and terrorism financing.Panama was the first country to sign the América Crece memorandum of understanding in 2018, which was focused on energy infrastructure. This expanded memorandum will allow to continue channeling resources and knowledge from U.S. government agencies to promote job creation and infrastructure projects in Panama.President Cortizo and Ambassador O’Brien spoke about the creation of a task force to counter money laundering and corruption. The task force consists of training and consulting services from FBI personnel to prosecutors, security agents, and regulatory agencies in Panama. The task force will focus on dismantling money laundering networks and strengthening capabilities to investigate and prosecute corruption and money laundering cases.last_img read more

December 19

Pro Bono Awards: Law Firm Commendation

first_imgPro Bono Awards: Law Firm Commendation April 1, 2002 Regular News THE LAW FIRM COMMENDATIONPresented by Chief Justice Charles Wells The purpose of the Law Firm Commendation is to recognize, when appropriate, a law firm which has demonstrated a significant contribution in the delivery of legal services to individuals or groups on a pro bono basis. Unlike the Tobias Simon and Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Awards, the Law Firm Commendation is not an annual award. Markowitz, Davis, Ringel & Trusty, P.A. Miami The law firm of Markowitz, Davis, Ringel & Trusty, P.A. was established in 1980 by longtime friends Jerry M. Markowitz, Joseph I. Davis, Jr., and Thomas Ringel. This union has resulted in the growth of a multi-disciplinary, mid-sized civil practice law firm with a remarkable devotion to community service, dedication to the needs of employees, knowledge of the law and commitment to its clients. The lawyers are passionate about their pro bono work, a labor of love that has touched the lives of thousands — single mothers, working families and senior citizens facing financial difficulties; immigrants unable to communicate in their own language; grieving families and clergy facing ‘end of life’ decisions; the victims of domestic violence; and the elderly, poor and disadvantaged in need of legal counsel and advice. In 2001, the firm’s partners and associates devoted more than 2,200 hours to pro bono work, and for many years, 100 percent of the firm’s lawyers have delivered pro bono legal services. This statistic is merely the most recent manifestation of a deeply held belief that the grant of a license to practice law comes with the responsibility to serve those who do not have the financial ability to hire a lawyer. Each of the firm’s five shareholders are active community leaders, some serving as officers and directors of some of South Florida’s leading civic and charitable organizations. Since its inception, the firm has received any number of pro bono clients through referrals from the federal and state trial and appellate courts. For over a decade, individual lawyers have worked thousands of hours on pro bono cases. In the early 1990s the firm formalized a relationship with Put Something Back, a joint pro bono project of the 11th Judicial Circuit and Dade County Bar Association, to provide the indigent with access to the civil court system in Miami-Dade County and regularly takes pro bono cases to provide representation to the indigent community in the Southern District of Florida. Jerry M. Markowitz, managing shareholder, is one of South Florida’s leading business and bankruptcy reorganization law practitioners. Markowitz is listed in the directory of Best Lawyers in America. He is a founding member and treasurer of the Florida Receivers Forum, past vice chair of The Florida Bar 11th Judicial Circuit “J” Grievance Committee, and founding sponsor of the Bankruptcy Bar Association of the Southern District of Florida. As the founder of the Annual Bankruptcy Skills Workshop, he gives his time each year as a program co-chair and serves as volunteer, mentor and lecturer at the Bankruptcy Assistance Clinic, a joint program of the Bankruptcy Bar Foundation of the Southern District of Florida, Put Something Back, and the St. Thomas University School of Law. The Bankruptcy Assistance Clinic is the first of its kind in Florida and only one of several such programs nationwide. Currently, the clinic is comprised of 12 law students who, under the guidance of lawyers from the association, including Markowitz, provide free legal services to indigent clients. In addition, he is among a handful of local attorneys who have agreed to act as mentors in the Mentoring Attorney Professionalism Program (MAPP) that provides guidance to newly admitted members of The Florida Bar and instills the importance of professionalism. Founding shareholder Joseph I. Davis, Jr., is a distinguished litigation attorney and is active in the Jewish community. He serves as co-chair of the Holocaust Survivors Committee of Jewish Community Services of South Florida, is a board member of Jewish Community Services, is a member of its legal issues committee and is also co-chair of its Food Service Committee. Davis is a founding member of the University of Florida Hillel Alumni Council and has served as a committee chair for the Maccabi Games hosted by the Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center. Thomas Ringel, an accomplished real estate practitioner for almost a quarter of a century, has served in leadership roles on many of South Florida’s civic, cultural and religious charities. Most recently, he has been named one of the five founding members of the Charter Commission for the Village of Palmetto Bay. The Charter Commission is charged with the responsibility of drafting the first municipal charter in order to balance the needs of area residents’ desire for local government with the need not to unduly harm the remainder of the unincorporated county. Candis Trusty, a probate, guardianship and elder law attorney, is a longtime champion of pro bono legal services to the poor and disadvantaged. Trusty is repeatedly called upon by the probate court for the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County to represent, on a pro bono basis, incapacitated indigent persons. For years, in situations where, because of insufficient resources, the Public Guardian is statutorily prohibited from accepting additional appointments, Trusty has accepted court appointments as a pro bono guardian ad litem to investigate, report and recommend to the court on ‘end of life’ decisions. For many years, Ms. Trusty has played a major role in educating other lawyers about probate and guardianship law. Through the Dade County Bar Association Guardianship and Probate Committee and in conjunction with Put Something Back, Trusty has helped organize, develop and establish ongoing seminars. During her tenure as the president of the South Miami Kendall Bar Association, Trusty helped organize and create a free legal help table. Staffed by lawyers, the effort was organized to reach people who would not ordinarily seek the counsel of lawyers, but who nevertheless have questions about the law. In 1992 and 1994, Trusty received the South Miami-Kendall Bar Association Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award. Thomas Messana, a noted bankruptcy attorney, was the 2000 President of the Bankruptcy Bar Association of the Southern District of Florida. He has spearheaded the effort to create the Bankruptcy Bar Foundation of the Southern District of Florida whose goal is to raise $500,000 within five years. To date, the foundation has raised in excess of $100,000. One of the foundation’s inaugural programs is to underwrite a Bankruptcy Assistance Clinic. Messana has worked with other attorneys on a consumer education project which helps educate indigent pro se debtors about their rights in bankruptcy. Through Messana’s effort, the consumer information guide has been translated into Spanish and Creole and distributed to these underserved communities who reside in large numbers throughout the state of Florida. Inspired by its shareholders, the law firm’s philosophy inculcates all attorneys into a culture committed to providing pro bono legal services. For example, in 1999, the firm’s lawyers led the charge to meet a critical unmet need for volunteer lawyers in emergency domestic violence situations by creating domestic violence training seminars. Since the initial seminar conducted in their offices, Mark Gatica, an attorney with the firm, has distinguished himself in providing hundreds of volunteer hours to clients referred by Put Something Back. Typically, a client will appear on short notice before a scheduled hearing on a victim’s request for a permanent injunction against domestic violence. Gatica has obtained many injunctions in spousal and domestic abuse cases to protect victims who do not have the ability to pay attorneys’ fees. For the past three years, firm lawyers Darrel T. King and Jonathan S. Leiderman have conducted clinics on small claims court. These clinics are designed to help pro se litigants understand the court process and to assist them in advancing their claims. jurisdiction, all of these matters are less than $2,500 in controversy, and experience shows most of these matters are less than $1,000; however, to the aggrieved party, who are often on the verge of poverty, every dollar is significant. Gerald W. Pierre, an attorney with the firm, mentored a high school student enrolled in a legal magnet program at Miami Senior High School. Rachel Lopate Rubio, a law clerk awaiting admission to the Bar, serves as a guardian ad litem and works on cases for Lawyers for Children. The firm’s practice areas focus on bankruptcy and workouts, receiverships, creditors’ rights, mediation-arbitration services, commercial litigation, probate and guardianship, elder law, civil litigation, family and real estate law. The firm was the 2000 recipient of the Dade County Bar Association Put Something Back Pro Bono Award as the “Exceptional Law Firm,” and in 1999 was honored with a Certificate of Appreciation from Metropolitan Dade County for its pro bono contributions to the community. In 1998, the firm received the DadeCounty Bar Association “Put Something Back” Pro BonoAward for Probate and Guardianship. Markowitz, Davis, Ringel & Trusty, P.A. is guided by a different spirit, a rare kind of caring for the needs of others matched by an abiding respect for professional excellence and the law. any measure, the lawyers of Markowitz, Davis, Ringel & Trusty, P.A. demonstrate the finest tradition of volunteer service to the poor and disadvantaged that the Bar has to offer. Click here for more Pro Bono Awards Ceremony coverage.last_img read more