SOUTHCOM Commander visits Ecuador, Meets President and Defense Leaders

QUITO, Ecuador (Sept. 16, 2022) — U.S. Army Gen. Laura Richardson, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, met with Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso and senior Ecuadorian defense leaders to discuss continued bilateral cooperation during a visit to Ecuador this week.

Richardson visited Ecuador Sept. 12 – 16 to join defense leaders from 10 nations for the South American Defense Conference 2022 (SOUTHDEC 22). Ecuador served as the host country of SOUTHDEC 22. The U.S. delegation also included the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Daniel Hokanson.

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Prior to SOUTHDEC 22, Richardson spent time meeting with Ecuadorian leaders on Sept. 13.

In Quito, she met with President Lasso to discuss strengthening security cooperation and regional security.

Later, Richardson and Hokanson met with Gen. Nelson Proaño, the commander of Ecuador’s armed forces, and senior defense leaders in Quito. Discussions focused on regional security and military-to-military cooperation.

Richardson and Hokanson also met with Ecuador’s Minister of Defense, Gen. Luis Eduardo Lara. The leaders reaffirmed commitment to the U.S.- Ecuador defense partnership and discussed efforts to bolster cooperation.

SOUTHCOM’s Area of responsibility:

Following SOUTHDEC, Richardson visited the Ecuador military’s 19th Jungle Brigade in El Coca to meet with Ecuadorian service members and get a firsthand look at how the unit counters threats, including illicit trafficking, on the northern border.

The U.S. and Ecuadorian armed forces enjoy a long history of security cooperation focused on topics of mutual interest; including air and maritime security; global peacekeeping; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; transnational organized crime; humanitarian assistance; and human rights.

U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), located in Doral, Fla., is one of 11 unified Combatant Commands (COCOMs) in the Department of Defense.

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