US Southern Command Chief General Laura Richardson Tuesday praised Uruguay's democratic tradition and insisted her country was not seeking to set up a military base, thus denying claims from the labor grouping Pit-Cnt earlier this week.
Absolutely negative! It is not what the United States Southern Command does, we do not establish bases,” Richardson said during a press conference in Montevideo where she met with Defense Minister Javier García. “We come here as democracies, we jointly identify the threats and work together to achieve those objectives,” she added.
Richardson also highlighted Uruguay's stance regarding human rights, labor laws, environmental protection, and peacekeeping operations while underlining that Washington and Montevideo have more than 70 years of defense relations.
“Many people think that, as a military, all we do and care about is strong power, but it's not just about hard power; the military has many capabilities with softer power, and the donation of humanitarian assistance that will be made on Thursday is proof of that,” Richardson stressed. The General will participate in an event where she will donate four Bambi buckets and other supplies to assist in firefighting, for a sum close to US$ 1 million. We also have about 50 breathing apparatuses that we will donate that will also help fire departments counter fires and put them out, she confided.
For me, it is an honor as commander of the U.S. Southern Command to be here with my delegation to strengthen and further the relationship we have with this country, she added.
While here, my goal is to listen to your leaders, learn more about the important contributions of your armed forces to global peace and regional security, and express our strong commitment to strengthening cooperation, Richardson noted in a statement from the US Embassy.
Richardson also underscored that three women were promoted to the rank of colonel in Uruguay last year and said she would be discussing the Women, Peace, and Security program with the Uruguayan Armed Forces during her stay.
Regarding China's presence in the region, the General admitted that it is very important to see their perspective on this problem and how we can work together to combat the threats.
Garcia highlighted the work of the Uruguayan military in peace missions and stressed the importance of expanding and sustaining these missions. He also said the United States would be donating to Uruguay armored vehicles to be used in these missions and on the borders. The issue of coastal radars was also raised during his talks with the four-star general. Taking care of our sea is as important from the production and environmental point of view as taking care of our airspace. We are working on that and other issues, García explained.
We all know the weight that the United States has in the world and, obviously, in the United Nations. Therefore, Uruguay's leadership, recognized by the United Nations and the United States, must serve to continue advancing in peace missions, García also pointed out while announcing that this year, at the request of the Congo, the mission there will end and, therefore, from Uruguay we are looking for other places of deployment.”