With challenges from drug, arms and people trafficking, corruption, poverty and potential terrorism threatening the countries of the Americas, the military deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command said Thursday that the nations of the region can’t go it alone and need to help each other.
Speaking at Florida International University’s Hemispheric Security Conference, Lt. Gen. Joseph P. DiSalvo said that over the last two years “partner nations are realizing they can’t do it alone. We can’t do it alone.”
That potentially could include military relations with Cuba when the timing and environment is right, he said. “We are waiting on word from the president and the secretary of defense to say when.” Since the rapprochement with Cuba, no U.S. military delegations have visited the island, but DiSalvo said “the Coast Guard has a very good relationship with their Cuban counterparts.”
The Southern Command is open to establishing new relationships with militaries in the Americas, he said. With the Argentine government now more receptive to the United States under President Mauricio Macri, for example, that made it “fairly easy” to renew military ties with the South American country, he said.
Panels at the day-long conference examined topics ranging from terrorist financing, cybersecurity and street gangs to energy security that have an impact on hemispheric security. They also looked at the influence of both China and Russia in the region as well as the current crises in Venezuela and Brazil. …