SOUTHCOM Commander Kelly Visits Panama and Guatemala
During his second stop in Guatemala, Kelly met with President Otto Perez Molina; Ambassador Luis Fernando Carrera, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Brig. Gen. Ulises Ansueto Giron, Minister of Defense. The general also met with U.S. Ambassador Arnold A. Chacon, as well as other members of the embassy staff to discuss SOUTHCOM’s support to the Central American Regional Security Initiative and the U.S. partnership with Guatemala. Kelly discussed military bilateral security cooperation with the leaders of both nations. The general’s discussions focused on cooperation in combating transnational threats like organized crime and drug trafficking, supporting responses to natural disasters, and training engagements. By Dialogo March 01, 2013 In Panama, Kelly met with President Ricardo Martinelli, Minister of Public Security Jose Mulino, and the directors of Panama’s National Air and Navy Service (SENAN), National Border Service (SENAFRONT), and the Panamanian National Police. During the past year, the U.S. and Guatemala have partnered with international forces to support Operation Martillo, aimed at disrupting maritime illicit trafficking activities along Central America’s coastal waters. In 2012, the contributions of Guatemala and other nations in support of the operation helped increase illicit trafficking disruptions in the region by 30 percent compared to the previous year. Marine Corps General John F. Kelly, the commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), concluded a three-day trip to Panama and Guatemala on February 22, after meeting with leaders from both nations. Recent focus areas for SOUTHCOM’s engagement with Guatemala include joint operations and planning, maritime security, information sharing, human rights, communications, logistics, and peacekeeping. Thanks to the Chief of Southern Command for visiting the President of my country, Otto PÃ©rez Molina, hopefully he is truly committed to the fight against drug trafficking, and to the capture of the two main families of drug-trafficking in Guatemala.3 Congratulations . Congratulations. The United States and Panama enjoy strong security ties. SOUTHCOM works closely with Panamanian security forces on several areas of mutual interest, including the disruption of illicit trafficking, humanitarian assistance projects, multinational exercises, disaster readiness, and training.