President Luis Abinader met with US Army General Laura J. Richardson, the commander of the US Southern Command, when both attended the 61st promotion of cadets of the Dominican Army at the Batalla de las Carreras Military Academy on Tuesday, 29 November 2022. 35 cadets graduated as part of the promotion.
General Richardson is in the Dominican Republic, coinciding with the 2022 humanitarian mission of the USNS Comfort hospital ship that is docked in Santo Domingo through 5 December 2022.
The ship arrived to the Dominican Republic after completing similar missions in Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia. From the Dominican Republic, the USNS Comfort will continue on to Haiti.
During the meeting with General Ricahrdson at the military academy, President Abinader was accompanied by Defense Minister, Lieutenant General Carlos Luciano Díaz Morfa; Army commander, Major General Carlos Antonio Fernández Onofre; Air Force commander, Major General Carlos Ramón Febrillet Rodríguez, and Armada commander, Vice Admiral Francisco Sosa Castillo.
Neither the Presidency nor the visiting general disclosed the topics discussed. The US Embassy had said the meeting was to explore ways to continue strengthening the fruitful security partnership between the two countries. Likewise, Homero Figueroa, spokesman for President Luis Abinader had said earlier that the US general would discuss cooperation and security efforts between the two nations in the meeting with the Dominican President.
The visiting US Southern Commander had earlier met with Minister of Defense, Lieutenant General Carlos Luciano Díaz Morfa, at the Defense Ministry during this visit. “I have had the opportunity to speak on other occasions with the Minister of Defense on the security situation; the United States is here as a partner of the Dominican Republic and we continue to build on our solid relationship,” said the general, as reported in Diario Libre.
During the visit, the US general also participated in the opening of the Women’s Health Fair, organized by Leo Corporán of the Mauricio Baez Foundation.
During the activities of the health fair, Richardson, who is the highest-ranking woman in the US Army, expressed her concern over the high rate of femicides in the Dominican Republic and throughout the region.
After inaugurating the “Women’s Health Fair” at the Mauricio Baez Foundation, as part of the USNS Comfort humanitarian mission activities, General Richardson urged that just as the region fought to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, countries should do the same against femicides. She praised the Dominican government for the development of the National Plan Against Gender Violence. She pointed out that three out of every four women do not report violence.
“There are many challenges to our health, and gender-based violence and gender-related health problems need not be among them. When Covid-19 spread around the world, including here in the Dominican Republic, Dominican security forces were called upon to respond. “Amid this once-in-a-generation pandemic, the Dominican Republic and the United States worked together to save lives,” said General Laura Richardson during her visit to the foundation.
The visit of the general and meetings took place at a time when there is speculation the United States is pressuring for the Dominican Republic to open refugee camps for Haitian displaced persons.
30 November 2022