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Update on Operation Condor Flight in Ecuador

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Matt Pelak

A career civil servant, Matt has spent over 15 years in the Army on active duty and in the National Guard, including a deployment to Iraq in 2004. Today, he is Team Rubicon's International Operations Chief, and has previously served as a contractor for the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service with multiple deployments to Iraq as well as work in Africa. In the civilian sector, Matt worked as a paramedic for over 12 years and in Poughkeepsie, NY as a firefighter/paramedic.

Team Rubocon member Lauren Ledford examines the ear canal of a young Ecudorian child with an foreign object inside.
Team Rubocon member Lauren Ledford examines the ear canal of a young Ecudorian child with a foreign object inside.

On April 16, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the central coast of Ecuador. On April 18, we deployed a four-man reconnaissance team to Manta to develop awareness of the ground situation, liaise with local officials, and identify logistical arrangements. Then, we sent a 14-person follow-on team, including two members from Team Rubicon UK, to conduct damage assessments and mobile medical operations to assist communities in and around Manta. At the request of the Ecuador government, our members are currently operating in San Isidro.

Team Rubicon members Chris Beswick and Lauren Ledford help haul water with local Ecuadorians to provide clean water to communities around San Isidro.
Team Rubicon members Chris Beswick and Lauren Ledford help haul water with local Ecuadorians to provide clean water to communities around San Isidro.

We currently hold a roster of 35,000 military veterans, first responders, and other skilled civilians. Many raised their hand and registered availability to deploy to Ecuador, and those members are encouraged to remain ready to deploy as we mobilize teams to Houston, TX, in the wake of severe flooding.

To get involved: 

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  • whitelightening69

    “Operation Condor!” ?? You may want to rethink this name. Operation Condor was a notorious convert program of state terror orchestrated by Augusto Pinochet of Chile. It included the entire cone of south America and included assassination, torture, murder and mass disappearances. If you want to do anything in Latin America, best not introduce yourselves as “Operation Condor.” It’s very much an open wound for a lot of people down there.

    • Hey @whitelightening69:disqus – Thanks for your note. The Andean Condor is Ecuador’s national bird and often viewed as a symbol of strength. When we named the operation, we circulated among some locals who were supporting our recon team and they were in support of it. We have nothing but good intentions and to provide support for those affected by the earthquake, so thank you for looking out for the team.

      • whitelightening69

        I know it is the national bird. Believe me when I tell you that THAT is not the connotation most people in Latin America have when they hear “OPERATION” Condor. It is almost as bad as doing a Habitat for Humanity type build in Israel and calling yourself “camp Auschwitz.” I have spent a lot of time down in South America and can tell you it is EXACTLY that resonant. Condor murdered about 60-100K

        • whitelightening69
          • whitelightening69

            I have no doubt about your intentions. Your intentions are my intentions. I am TR as well, after all. And because of that, I would be remiss in not pointing out that this a Godawful name

      • Francisco Pancho Abad

        Good evening Team Rubicon, thanks so much for what you’re doing for Ecuador. However, I must agree with the comment that, even though you have the best intentions in the name, this name brings back A LOT of negative connotations to Latin Americans from the US and CIA operations in Latin America during the Cold War. I understand this might be a mistake due to unawareness of this, but however, the Operation Condor from the CIA is one of the many declassified terror operations used that people know (not just educated people, but most people). I do urge you to consider changing the name of the operation. Thanks so much again!

        • Hi @franciscopanchoabad:disqus We actually updated the op name to Operation Condor Flight to reduce any confusion or negative sentiment about our response in Ecuador. Thanks!

  • Gene Budd

    Guys my sister in law – a nurse and wonderful person – was in Ecuador a month or so ago now she wants to go to Ecuador to help – she is 60 and an amazing person – I suggested she hook up with an org that knew what they were doing – i’ve contributed to you guys and immediately though of you – she is smart and would be the “mother” very smart and with a great bedside manner – what do you suggest – She doesn’t need to be going down there by herself – please let me know at – ehbuddd@bellsouth,net – she has raised her own money to bring with her.

    • Hi there – Thanks for thinking of us! We won’t be sending a follow-on wave to Ecuador at this time, but we do recommend your sister-in-law join our team and get ready for the next operation at teamrubiconusa.org/join-the-team.

      • Alberto Jimenez

        I am trying to get in touch with the team on site in Ecuador, I have been working in the Manabi Providence (San Isidro AO) and have make a good network/logistics. However they local nationals need a more tactful guide ex; operational orders.

        I was provided with a TR POC by a USAID Officer; Bob O. but I haven’t have any luck getting a hold of.

        My POC;
        f.jimenezgalvez@hotmail.com
        Phone: (954) 453-7940

        By any chance can I be contacted to better coordinate and joint forces?
        Thanks

        • Hi Alberto – Our team is back in the States and the operation has wrapped up on our end. So sorry we couldn’t connect. Please email our international ops chief Matt Pelak at pelak@teamrubiconusa.org to learn more about connecting during international deployments. Thanks!

          • Alberto Jimenez

            Thank you for your reply, I will be in contact.