Presentation by Adm Stavrididhere:
At US Southern Command - the military organisation focused on the 32 nations and 13 territories of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean - we devote a considerable amount of energy to the study of these challenges and opportunities. We pursue a host of programmes designed to foster security, stability, and goodwill in the region, with the ultimate goal of enabling the spread of true prosperity to the 450 million people living in this part of the Americas.And testimony from his recent appearance before the Senate Armed Forces Committee here:
The key to the future of this great region is understanding - understanding each other, understanding our shared challenges, and understanding the promise of security cooperation for our shared future. When it comes to our philosophy, the SouthernCommand motto directly reflects our approach: "Partnership for the Americas".
Stavridis was also asked to comment on his assessment of recent developments in Venezuela.
“Historically, Venezuela and the United States have enjoyed a very positive relationship,” he said.
But recently, the admiral said the command has “seen far less cooperation in areas of [USSOUTHCOM] responsibility, virtually no military-to-military cooperation. We see limited cooperation, if at all, in the anti-narcotic front.”
He said he’s “increasingly concerned” about Venezuela’s military buildup, including the purchase of 25 Su-30 advanced Russian fighter jets, 50 advanced attack and transport helicopters and most especially 100,000 AK-103 rifles. He likened the rifle purchase to a proliferation of “weapons of micro-destruction.”
“With that many rifles, they’re going to be moving through that region, perhaps going into the hands of fighters across the border in Colombia. It’s a very great concern,” he said.
The admiral also commented on Venezuela’s discussions to purchase diesel submarines. “It is hard to understand what is the perceived threat in this hemisphere. It´s just difficult to understand why the government of Venezuela would feel the need to purchase that level of arms and I am concerned about the destabilizing effect throughout the region,” he said.