June 16, 2023 –
PANAMA (June 16, 2023) – The commander of U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Army Gen. Laura Richardson, visited Panama June 14-16 to meet with leaders and reaffirm the close security partnership between the United States and Panama and visit the Centro de Coordinación para la Prevención de los Desastres en Centroamérica y República Dominicana (CEPREDENAC)-led humanitarian and disaster relief exercise.
SOUTHCOM’s Senior Enlisted Leader, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones, accompanied Richardson during the visit.
Highlighting the visit was a June 15 meeting between Richardson, Panamanian Minister of Public Security Juan Pino, and Colombian Minister of Defense Iván Velásquez to discuss joint efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Darién - the land bridge connecting Panama and Colombia that is seeing record migration and an evolving humanitarian crisis.
On June 16 at the closing ceremony for the CEPREDENAC exercise, Richardson hailed the multinational partnerships displayed during the training, which included 600 people from 14 nations.
“The challenges faced within the region require strong partners, particularly as it relates to environmental security,” said Richardson during the exercise’s closing ceremony. "United States Southern Command is committed... to helping people, to get after the disaster response, the humanitarian assistance and taking care of people.”
Personnel from SOUTHCOM and Joint Task Force-Bravo supported the exercise and shared expertise on firefighting, HAZMAT, biological contamination, and casualty care.
Also during the trip, Richardson and Jones joined Minister Pino, senior leaders, and Panamanian security personnel to discuss Women, Peace, and Security integration and the professionalization of security forces during a roundtable June. 14.
The United States and Panama share a longstanding security partnership that dates back more than a century.