The commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), U.S. Army General Laura J. Richardson, visited Panama January 31-February 2 as part of a U.S. delegation taking part in a High-Level Security Dialogue (HLSD) between Panama and the United States.
During her stay, Gen. Richardson also met with Minister of Public Security Juan Pino and Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vasquez for talks focused on U.S. support to their organizations. On February 1, Gen. Richardson accompanied Pino and senior U.S. and Panamanian security leaders to visit the Darién Gap and see the latest Panamanian security efforts to address migration and the humanitarian crisis in the area.
U.S. Ambassador to Panama Mari Carmen Aponte and Deputy Undersecretary for Central America Eric Jacobstein led the HLSD on February 2, accompanied by the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Christopher A. Landberg. The delegation also included Department of Defense deputy assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Daniel Erikson.
During the HLSD, the delegation highlighted efforts to strengthen bilateral security cooperation, including the areas of border security, citizen security, cybersecurity, and maritime security. Through this dialogue and other bilateral initiatives, the United States seeks to deepen American support for Panama’s efforts to counter transnational threats and strengthen the security of all its citizens.
Previous dialogues have also focused on cyber defense, maritime security, border security, and citizen security, as well as challenges of mutual concern, including irregular migration and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
The United States and Panama share a longstanding security partnership that dates back more than a century.