Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Press Releases 2013

Commander of U.S. Southern Command Visits Panama

February 20, 2013
President Ricardo Martinelli and General John Kelly

President Ricardo Martinelli and General John Kelly

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commanding general of U.S. Southern Command, is visiting Panama February 20-21, 2013 to meet with senior Panamanian officials and U.S. Embassy leadership, and discuss security cooperation between Panama and the United States.

Kelly’s visit to Panama will include meetings with President Ricardo Martinelli, Minister of Public Security Jose Mulino, and the directors of Panama’s National Aeronaval Service (SENAN), National Border Service (SENAFRONT), and the Panamanian National Police.

The primary goal of the general’s visit is to hear the viewpoints, concerns, interests and ideas of Panamanian leaders to better understand the bilateral partnership and security cooperation between the two countries and throughout the entire region.

The United States and Panama enjoy strong security ties. The U.S. Southern Command works closely with Panamanian security forces on several areas of mutual interest, including the disruption of illicit trafficking, humanitarian assistance projects, multinational exercises, disaster readiness, and training.

Panama is the general’s first stop in his second visit to Central America as commander of the U.S. Southern Command. He visited Honduras and El Salvador in January and will head to Guatemala for a two-day visit tomorrow.

Gen. Kelly assumed the leadership of U.S. Southern Command Nov. 19. Before commanding U.S. Southern Command, he served as Senior Military Advisor to former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.