The head of the US Southern Command said his focus was on strengthening military ties with South American countries.

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source: www.stripes.com

General Laura Richardson assured that she was thinking of maintaining relations with nations large and small.

The new general of the United States Army Southern Command, Laura Richardson, said that she is focused on strengthening military relations with South American countries despite political tensions.

Richardson was in Denver to speak at a graduation ceremony at her alma mater, Metropolitan State University, just over a month after assuming her post as the highest-ranking woman in the US Army.

While the politics between the United States and the South American nations might not be what we would like, Richardson's military relations are solid in a conversation with the media.

Richardson cited as an example the case of El Salvador, where US political relations are deteriorating. In November, Jane Mans, Interim Charge d'Affaires in the Central American country, announced that she was stepping down, saying that the government of President Naib Bokel was not interested in improving bilateral relations.

Prior to Menis's departure, Buckley's government withdrew from an anti-corruption pact with the United States and refused to extradite members of the MS-13 gang to the United States for trial.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government released a list of alleged corrupt officials in Central America, including Carolina Recinos, Bokel's chief of staff.

Richardson, meanwhile, said the security partnership between the United States and El Salvador remains strong. He added that he recently called the Minister of National Defense, René Francis Merino Monroy, to condolences for his son. The latter died as a pilot in a plane crash. He said the United States also sent a helicopter unit from Honduras to help with the search and rescue.

Richardson noted that 23 countries attended the Southern Command change of command ceremony in October. She was officially awarded her position as head of the agency.

"It was tremendous that so many representatives came because they want to partner with us," he said. "They want to do the exercises. They want to work with us as much as possible. "

Since taking office, Richardson has traveled to Colombia and Brazil.

As the agency's new head, Richardson said she is thinking about how to maintain relationships with nations large and small "so that we never leave anyone intact or feeling that we are not partnering with them."

Richardson said Southern Command's work is increasingly related to humanitarian response due to climate change disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. They are also dealing with an increase in illicit drug trafficking, noting that the metric tons of cocaine intercepted by the United States "doubled" between 2019 and 2020.

As a woman who broke numerous glass ceilings in the military, Richardson said she goes out of her way to represent her demographic and make them proud, joking, "You can go in there and play hit with some of them."