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News | Feb. 9, 2024

Strengthening the U.S.-Uruguay security partnership: Gen. Richardson meets with senior government, defense leaders in Uruguay

By U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (Feb. 8, 2024) -- The commander of U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Army Gen. Laura Richardson, visited Uruguay Feb. 5-8, 2024, and met with senior government and defense leaders to discuss the bilateral defense partnership between the United States and Uruguay.

The visit was Richardson’s first to Uruguay as SOUTHCOM commander. During her visit, the general got a firsthand look at Uruguay’s Armed Forces and their enduring contributions to domestic and regional security and their support to global peacekeeping.

On Feb. 6, Richardson met with Uruguayan Minister of Defense Javier García to discuss defense cooperation. Later, she met with Chief of the Defense Staff of the Uruguayan Armed Forces, Gen. Rodolfo Pereyra, to discuss continued cooperation and explore ways to strengthen the longstanding U.S.-Uruguay defense partnership. Also on Feb. 6, the general met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Omar Paganini and discussed regional security and security cooperation.

During the meetings, Richardson was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Heide B. Fulton.

Richardson's engagements on Feb. 7 focused on the Uruguayan armed forces. Richardson visited the Uruguayan Air Force, Navy and Army headquarters and met with the top leadership and senior staff of Uruguay’s military services to discuss continued cooperation and the strong partnership between both nation’s armed forces. She held discussions with Uruguayan Air Force Commander Gen. Luis De León, Uruguayan Navy Commander Adm. Jorge Wilson and Uruguayan Army Commander Gen. Mário Stevenazzi.

Also on Feb. 7, the general visited the Escuela Nacional de Operaciones de Paz del Uruguay which trains Uruguayan service members for participation in United Nations Peacekeeping missions. Uruguay is a renowned supporter of peacekeeping operations worldwide and per capita, contributes more peacekeepers to U.N.-sponsored missions than any other Western Hemisphere nation.

Richardson rounded out her Feb. 7 armed forces engagements during a discussion focused on Women, Peace and Security. The general and Amb. Fulton joined Minister of Defense García and Undersecretary of Defense Rivera Elgue to talk with Uruguayan service members about ways to advance opportunities for women in security.

On the final day of the visit, Richardson took part in a ceremony as the United States donated firefighting support equipment — including "Bambi Buckets" and 40 self-contained breathing apparatuses — to Uruguay's Sistema Nacional de Emergencias (Sinae) that will bolster the nation's disaster response capabilities.

The United States and Uruguay share a longstanding defense partnership. Both nations cooperate in areas of mutual interest, including disaster preparedness; peacekeeping; human rights; maritime security; cyber security; space cooperation; defense capacity building; professional education and training; and the integration of women in peace, defense, and security missions.