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News | May 31, 2024

Gen. Richardson Visits Colombia

By U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs Office

MIAMI (May 31, 2024) – U.S. Army Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command, wrapped up a three-day visit to Colombia this week.

Highlighting the visit was Richardson’s meeting with President Gustavo Petro and her participation in the U.S. donation of panel bridges to Colombia that will bolster the nation’s disaster response capabilities.

The general’s meeting with President Petro took place in Bogotá after her arrival to Colombia May 28 and focused on U.S.-Colombia defense cooperation. Later, she met with General Commander of the Colombian Military Forces, Gen. Helder Giraldo, and senior military leaders for briefings and discussions on the latest developments in the bilateral defense partnership.

Throughout the day on May 29, Richardson visited Colombian military units and met with leaders and service members to see firsthand how they contribute to Colombian and regional security.

In Yopal, Richardson and Girlado visited the facilities of the Museo Centro Histórico del Oriente to learn about the history and culture of the Colombian Orinoquia. Also in Yopal, she visited Colombia’s Comando Conjunto N.4 ‘Orinoquia’ which oversees joint operations in Arauca, Casanare, Guainía, and Vichada; Cubará, Boyacá and Samoré in Norte de Santander. Later on the 31st, the general traveled to Inírida and met with 28th Brigade service members and leaders to see how the unit counters transnational criminal organizations and illicit trafficking in eastern Colombia.

On May 30, the general joined Giraldo and Unidad Nacional para la Gestión del Riesgo de Desastres (UNGRD) Director General Carlos Carrillo in Tolemaida as the U.S. donated 10 rapidly employable and recoverable emergency response bridges to UNGRD that will be prepositioned throughout the nation to enable access and aid delivery during a disaster.  The bridges will give UNGRD and the Colombian quick access to areas cut-off in the aftermath of a disaster and ensure the timely delivery of crucial relief supplies to Colombia’s most vulnerable populations. The donation, valued at $11.9M, was facilitated by SOUTHCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Program.

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.