SOUTHCOM Commander Meets with El Salvador Defense Minister to Discuss Security Cooperation

SOUTHCOM Commander Meets with El Salvador Defense Minister to Discuss Security Cooperation

By Steven McLoud/Diálogo
October 24, 2020

U.S. Navy Admiral Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), visited El Salvador on October 21, where he met with the country’s Defense Minister Rear Admiral Rene Merino Monroy and his staff.

The visit comes after Adm Faller — who is visiting the Central America region — made stops in Honduras and Guatemala, where he spoke with leaders of partner nations about the benefits and successes of cooperative security partnerships in the region.

Adm. Faller and his delegation also met with U.S. Ambassador Ronald Johnson to discuss SOUTHCOM’s role in the U.S.-El Salvador cooperation on security.

Security cooperation topics discussed with Rear Adm. Merino included dismantling transnational criminal organizations, counternarcotics operations, and future military engagements.

“The visit of Adm. Craig Faller and his team reaffirms the sincere relationship of friendship and trust between the armed forces of both countries to face these transnational threats,” said Rear Adm. Merino in a tweet.

Nayib Bukele, president of El Salvador, echoed those sentiments tweeting that his country was proud to be a key partner to the United States in combatting security threats.

While in El Salvador, Adm. Faller also visited the Cooperative Security Location (CSL) Comalapa, which operates through an agreement between the U.S. and the government of El Salvador. This location is one of two centers in Latin America and the Caribbean, and plays a key role in supporting multinational and interagency efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations.

Each fiscal year, CSL operations disrupt more than $4 billion worth of drug trafficking operations. This location significantly enhances the ability of the U.S. and partner nations to patrol Eastern Pacific smuggling corridors, through which more than half of the drugs heading for the U.S. transit through, often in multi-ton shipments.

El Salvador is a valued security partner in the fight against illicit trafficking and is one of more than 20 nations engaged alongside the U.S. in cooperative efforts to detect and dismantle transnational criminal organizations in the Western Hemisphere.