The commander of U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Army General Laura J. 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. Gen. Richardson’s visits to Argentina and Chile were both the general’s second as SOUTHCOM commander. The general’s delegation included U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Benjamin Jones, SOUTHCOM’s command sergeant major.
On April 17, Gen. Richardson met with Argentine Minister of Defense Jorge Taiana and Army Lieutenant General Juan Martín Paleo, chairman of the Argentine Armed Forces’ Joint Chiefs of Staff, to discuss security cooperation between the U.S. and the Argentine Armed Forces on mutually agreed focus areas, including cyber defense, humanitarian assistance, disaster preparedness, maritime security, cold-weather operations, and professional development.
Gen. 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, Gen. Richardson, along with U.S. Ambassador to Chile Bernadette Meehan met with Chilean Minister of Defense Maya Fernández Allende to discuss security cooperation. The general also met with Chief of Defense General 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, Gen. Richardson and Meehan met with senior leaders of the Chilean Firefighters and the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) to discuss a recent SOUTHCOM donation of equipment and funds to help firefighters battle widespread wildfires earlier this year.
On April 20, the general visited the Special Operations Brigade in Colina, Chile, where U.S. and Chilean Special Forces are training together as part of exercise Fused Response 2023. During the visit, Gen. Richardson met with Chilean General Javier Eduardo Iturriaga del Campo, commander of the Chilean Army, and U.S. Army Brigadier General Peter Huntley, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command South, to discuss security cooperation and the ongoing training during the exercise.
On April 21, Gen. 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.