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News | May 26, 2023

Gen. Richardson Visits Colombia, Brazil

By U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs

MIAMI (May 26, 2023) -- U.S. Army Gen. Laura Richardson, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, visited Colombia and Brazil this week and met with senior government and military leaders to discuss security cooperation.

The May 21-26 trip aimed to strengthen ties and cooperation with both countries. SOUTHCOM’s Senior Enlisted Leader, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones, accompanied Richardson during the visit.


After arriving in Bogotá, Colombia, May 21, Richardson met with Colombian President Gustavo Petro in Bogotá to discuss the U.S.-Colombia defense partnership and regional security.

On May 22nd, Richardson joined a joint Colombian Military Forces-SOUTHCOM seminar focused on integration of Women, Peace, and Security into Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) professional development, and discussed the importance of gender equality in military ranks.

"There's more work to be done," the general said. "It's all about recruiting, retaining, training and advancing. And if you take our eye off the ball, you risk losing an entire generation."

The seminar, titled “Military Women United with a Common Purpose: Leading Changes into the 21st Century,” included representative from 15 nations, and was led by Colombian Command Sgt. Maj. Consuelo Diaz and SOUTHCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones.

Later on the 22nd, Richardson visited the northwest border of Colombia to see firsthand how Colombian security forces are addressing the dire humanitarian situation in Darién – the land bridge connecting Panama and Colombia.

Prior to departing Colombia May 23, Richardson traveled to Tumaco to meet with senior leaders and troops of Joint Task Force Hercules, the elite Colombian military unit that combats illicit traffickers and illegally armed groups in the southern Pacific region of the country.

Colombia is a close, longstanding regional security partner and leader in countering regional threats, fostering regional security cooperation and supporting humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.


The general arrived in Brasilia, Brazil, late on May 23.

The following day, Richardson met with Brazil's Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, Adm. Renato Rodrigues de Aguiar Freire, to discuss strengthening the longstanding U.S.-Brazil defense partnership. 

Also on the 24th, the general joined U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, and Brazil military leaders and personnel to discuss the role of women in security.

On May 25th, Richardson visited with staff and leadership of Brazil’s Aerospace Operations Command (COMAE), which plans, coordinates, executes, and controls the country’s aerospace operations, and the nation’s Cyber Defense Command

Later, Gen. Richardson and Amb. Bagley met with Brazilian Minister of Defense Jóse Múcio Monteiro to discuss the longstanding U.S.-Brazil defense partnership.

Brazil and the United States, the two most populous democracies in the Western Hemisphere, enjoy a close bilateral relationship, including in the area of defense, on specific areas such as research and development, information exchanges, training and education, joint military exercises, and commercial initiatives related to defense matters.