Adm. Craig Faller visited Central America Oct. 19 – 23 to meet with leaders in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica to discuss continued security cooperation and counter narcotics support.
In Honduras Oct. 19, Faller met with Minister of Defense Fredy Díaz, and Chief of the Honduran Armed Forces Gen. Tito Livio Moreno Coello. He also took part in a ceremony recognizing the country's justice, security and defense ministers for their success during Operation Dominio, a Honduran interagency effort in support of regional enhanced counter narcotics operations.
“Operation Dominio was a success because of the trust that we have built together,” said Faller. “I know that in 2020 already, Honduras has taken more drugs off the streets and has more prosecutions than in 2019 combined.”
While in Guatemala Oct. 20, the admiral met with Minister of Defense Maj. Gen. Juan Carlos Alemán Soto to discuss continued counter illicit trafficking cooperation. Faller also met with the new U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, William Popp, to discuss the strengthening of the U.S.-Guatemala security partnership.
In El Salvador Oct. 21, Faller and his delegation met with U.S. Ambassador Ronald Johnson to discuss SOUTHCOM’s role in the U.S.-El Salvador cooperation on security in the region. Faller also met with Salvadoran Minister of Defense captain Rene Merino Monroy as well as with other U.S. senior diplomats and local subject matter experts.
While in El Salvador, Faller visited the Comalapa Cooperative Security Location (CSL), which operates through an agreement between the U.S. and the government of El Salvador. This location is one of just two the centers that operate in Latin America and the Caribbean, and plays a key role in supporting both multinational and interagency efforts to combat Transnational Criminal Organizations.
On Oct. 22, Faller spent time with service members at Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras.
On the final stop in Costa Rica Oct. 23, Faller met with Minister of Public Security Michael Soto to discuss the U.S.-Costa Rica security partnership. He also joined U.S. Ambassador Sharon Day to take part in a ceremony as the United States donated disinfectant supplies to the country to help provide COVID-19 protection for students as they gradually return to classrooms.
“Since the COVID-19 crisis began, SOUTHCOM has funded more than $18 million in Humanitarian Assistance Program projects in 28 countries in the region. The 37 projects totaling $ 2.1 million have already been delivered to Costa Rica, including three field hospitals to support the COVID response. As neighbors, we are all in this together, and together, we can prevail against this pandemic,” said Faller.
Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica are valued security partners in the fight against illicit trafficking in the region and make up the more than 20 nations engaged alongside the U.S. in cooperative efforts to detect and dismantle transnational criminal organizations in the Western Hemisphere.