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News | July 27, 2017

SOUTHCOM Commander visits Paraguay for regional, bilateral meetings

By Jose Ruiz, U.S. Southern Command

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay -- U.S. Navy Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), conducted his first official visit to Paraguay July 23-27, where he met with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartés.

Tidd was in Paraguay to meet the nation's leaders and to engage with senior regional security officials during the annual Fuerzas Comando 2017 multinational special operations skills competition.

Tidd met with Cartés July 26 and then Paraguayan Minister of Defense Diogenes Martinez July 27 to discuss defense cooperation efforts. Tidd acknowledged Paraguay’s hard work hosting Fuerzas Comando 2017, and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral and regional defense ties, while reaffirming the U.S. commitment to a strong security partnership with their armed forces.

During his four-day stay in Asunción, Paraguay’s capital city, the Admiral joined military and civilian leaders from 20 nations during Fuerzas Comando 2017 for three-days of senior-level dialogue aimed at further strengthening the collaborative ties between the region’s premier security forces.

Fuerzas Comando is a SOUTHCOM-sponsored, multinational special operations competition where teams of elite troops test their proficiencies, strengths and skills in a series of specialized events, with their performances scored in a fraternal atmosphere.

Tidd attended the event’s Senior Leader Seminar, where pairs of top officials from each nation, including military commanders and senior government representatives involved in counter-terrorism decisions and policies, focused on transnational and transregional threats, as well as ways to counter the impact those threats have on regional security and stability.

U.S. Army Gen. Raymond Thomas, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, briefly joined Tidd during the seminar’s opening ceremony, welcoming attendees before heading to the competition sites to observe the day’s events.

During his stay, Tidd also took time to meet with U.S. Embassy leaders and staff to discuss U.S. bilateral relations with Paraguay and SOUTHCOM’s security cooperation with the Paraguayan armed forces.

Tidd also joined with Paraguayan civilian and military leaders in recognizing the winners of Fuerzas Comando 2017 during a closing ceremony July 27.

“Fuerzas Comando stands apart from the rest of our multinational exercises.  There’s no other exercise like it. It brings together an elite group of warriors from 20 nations to pit their impressive physical and mental skills against one another,” Tidd said during the closing ceremony.

“The most valuable outcomes of Fuerzas Comando are the trust we’ve built and the friendships we’ve forged.”

The competition was won by the Honduran team, with Colombia taking second place, followed by the United States, Mexico and Panama, respectively. This year marked Paraguay’s second time hosting Fuerzas Comando.