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News | April 9, 2021

SOUTHCOM Commander Visits Uruguay, Argentina

By SOUTHCOM Public Affairs

The commander of U.S. Southern Command, Navy Adm. Craig Faller, completed a week-long trip today to Uruguay and Argentina where he met with each nation’s security leaders to discuss regional security and continued military-to-military cooperation.

Faller’s visit to Uruguay was the first to the nation by a SOUTHCOM commander since 2016. The visit to Argentina was the admiral’s second as SOUTHCOM commander.

In addition to talks with senior defense and security officials, Faller and the SOUTHCOM delegation -- which included the command’s Civilian Deputy to the Commander, Amb. Jean Manes, and Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones – took part in donations of humanitarian equipment, mobile hospitals and medical equipment highlighting the U.S. government’s commitment to bolster both nation’s security capabilities and support their COVID-19 response.

URUGUAY – April 6 - 7

In Uruguay, Faller met with Uruguayan military leaders and civilian government officials, including Minister of National Defense Javier Garcia and Chief of Defense Gen. Gustavo Fajardo, to discuss the long-standing bilateral defense ties between the United States and Uruguay.  

Faller, Manes and Jones also took part in a roundtable discussion with members of Uruguay’s military who have received training in the United States through the U.S. State Department Bureau of Political-Military Affairs' renowned International Military Education and Training (IMET) program. The discussion also highlighted efforts to support Women, Peace and Security efforts and included Uruguayan women leaders who have made important contributions to the defense sector and peacekeeping operations.

On April 7, the SOUTHCOM delegation was on hand as the U.S. donated helicopter parts and equipment to the Uruguayan military under the U.S. State Department Bureau of Political-Military Affairs' Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). The U.S. is proud to have supported Uruguay in building its internationally-recognized corps of peacekeepers. For more than a decade, SOUTHCOM has worked side-by-side with Uruguay, providing more than $50 million in capacity-building assistance through GPOI.

Faller was also briefed on items donated by SOUTHCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP) to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. To date, SOUTHCOM has committed approximately $4.8 million in pandemic-related assistance to Uruguay, including personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, ICU beds, screening and monitoring equipment, and three field hospitals.

Military-to-military engagement between the United States and Uruguay includes professional education and training, COVID-19 efforts, disaster response, peacekeeping operations, and measures to combat illegal fishing.

ARGENTINA – April 7 - 9

In Argentina, the admiral met with Argentine Minister of Defense Agustin Rossi, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Juan Martin Paleo and other top defense leaders to discuss security cooperation.

Headlining the trip were two U.S. government donation ceremonies to the South American nation.

In Buenos Aires April 8, Faller presided over a ceremony to donate three field hospitals to Argentina to support efforts to combat the pandemic. Argentina’s Minister of Health Carla Vizzotti and Minister of Defense Rossi also participated in the ceremony.

“Since the COVID-19 crisis began, SOUTHCOM has worked closely with its Argentine partners,” Faller said. “Together, we have delivered 15 COVID-related humanitarian assistance donations to support Argentina’s ongoing response to the pandemic, delivering much-needed protective equipment, medical supplies, and monitoring and screening tools.”

In Ushuaia April 9, Faller took part as the U.S. donated search and rescue equipment to bolster the nation’s civil defense capabilities in the southernmost region of Argentina.

Both donations were funded by SOUTHCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Program. Since 2017, the United States has provided more than $8.6M in humanitarian aid to Argentina, including over $4 million for COVID-related needs.

“These donations and commitments build on a long tradition. Over the past two decades, the United States has provided more than $140 billion in global health assistance. The virus has already cost millions of lives around the world. We must continue working together to prevent further tragedy and we are proud to have a strong partner in Argentina,” said Faller.