MIAMI (April 21, 2023) -- The commander of U.S. Southern Command, Army Gen. Laura Richardson, visited Argentina and Chile April 16-21 and met with leaders from both nations to discuss security cooperation.
The U.S. shares longstanding defense partnerships with Argentina and Chile. Richardson’s visits to Argentina and Chile were both the general’s second as SOUTHCOM commander. The general’s delegation including SOUTHCOM’s Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones.
On April 17, Richardson met with Argentine Minister of Defense Jorge Taiana and Armed Forces Joint Command Chief Lt. Gen. Juan Martín Paleo to discuss security cooperation between the U.S. and Argentine armed forces on mutually agreed focus areas, including cyber defense, humanitarian assistance, disaster preparedness, maritime security, cold-weather operations, and professional development.
Richardson last visited Argentina April 25-27, 2022, to meet with the nation’s top government and defense leaders.
During the visit to Chile April 18-21, Richardson, along with U.S. Ambassador to Chile Bernadette Meehan met with Minister of Defense Maya Fernández Allende to discuss security cooperation. The general also met with Chief of Defense Gen. Jean Pierre Desgroux Ycaza to discuss continued military-to-military cooperation, including multinational exercises, space and cyber cooperation, and support to international peacekeeping efforts. Both meetings took place April 19.
Also on the 19th, Richardson and Meehan met with senior leaders of Bomberos de Chile and Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF) to discuss a recent SOUTHCOM donation of equipment and funds to help firefighters battle widespread wildfires earlier this year.
On Apr. 20, the general visited Brigada Operaciones Especiales in Colina, Chile, where U.S. and Chilean Special Forces are training together during exercise Fused Response 2023. During the visit, Richardson met with Chilean Gen. Javier Eduardo Iturriaga del Campo, commander of the Chilean Army, and the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command South, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Peter Huntley, to discuss security cooperation and the ongoing training during the exercise.
On Apr. 21, Richardson and Meehan traveled to Punta Arenas to meet with Chilean military leaders for a tour of the Strait of Magellan and a briefing on the bilateral security efforts in the region.
For Argentina and Chile, 2023 marks 200 years of diplomatic relations and friendship between both nations and the United States.