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U.S. Southern Command General John Craddock Visits Uruguay

The USSOUTHCOM Commander met with Uruguayan political and military leaders

Posted: June 23, 2005 PRESS CONFERENCE        

General John Craddock. (U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi)
General John Craddock
(Click here to enlarge photo)
Four-Star General John Craddock, commander of the United States Southern Command, visited Uruguay on June 22 to know more about the Uruguayan government and to meet with military leaders in charge of Uruguay's defense. General Craddock assumed command of the USSOUTHCOM on November 9, 2004. During his one-day visit to Uruguay, he met with Uruguayan Minister of Defense Azucena Berrutti, Army commander LTG Bertolotti, Navy commander VADM Daners, and Air Force commander LTG Bonelli.

At a press conference with local print media, General Craddock answered questions on Article 98 agreement with the United States, the investigations regarding human rights in Uruguay, Cuban and Venezuelan influence in Latin America, the role of Southern Command in the region, the dividing line between security and defense, and the weapons purchase by Venezuela.

Regarding Article 98 of the Rome Statute and military aid to Uruguay, General Craddock pointed out that the American Service-Members' Protection Act is a law in the United States which "states that countries who have not entered into an Article 98 agreement with the United States will forfeit certain types of military and economic funding. So the fact is that is our law and we will follow our law, and we will hope to continue working with, talking with and negotiating with nations to gain Article 98 bilateral agreements in the future". He added that Article 98 "is not an immunity document, and the very fact that the Rome Treaty provides it means that they acknowledge that nations could have agreements on a bilateral basis which would preclude those who agree to do so from extradition to the International Criminal Court. We view it as an issue of jurisdiction, not immunity".

In reference to the investigations of human rights violations in Uruguay, General Craddock stated, "democracies will do what they have to do based on their conditions and circumstances, and I am confident that those processes will work here and the outcomes will be satisfactory to all concerned." He further stated that "the human rights issues are complex, not only here, but in the countries of the region, and they have their own unique situations and characteristics, and I think that the nations of the region, Uruguay included, will in a mature, responsible way, decide how they want to address those problems, much as the way, to my judgment, that Uruguay has approached supporting peace throughout the world. So I believe that good people will make sound judgments and do the right thing".

With regard to Cuba and Venezuela, General Craddock stated "I do not see Cuba as a military threat to the United States, I do not see Venezuela as a military threat to the United States, what I do see is an influence in Latin America that creates, potentially creates instability and uncertainty, because in Cuba, obviously it is a totalitarian state, a communist state, and in Venezuela it appears that democratic processes and institutions are at risk. That has great opportunity to create, again, instability and uncertainty throughout the region if those processes are exported. So we are concerned, and we believe the neighbors in the region should also be concerned." About the military role of the United States in the region, General Craddock added "when we stand back and look at the entire region, the challenges, the threats to the region, by and large don't have military solutions. The military aspect is to create conditions to allow other solutions to work, economic, political, social, so we look at the security, stability of the nations of the sub regions in the area, the Andean Ridge, Southern Cone, and we ask our partners how we can we be helpful so that you can enforce your sovereignty and secure your country".

General Craddock praised Uruguay's peace keeping efforts around the world, saying "what you do in peace keeping around the world is in my judgment incredible, the greatest contribution in peace keeping per capita, I believe in the world, very professional, very well trained, and we want to be able to be helpful and supportive in that effort, and that's why we want to continue to meet, have contact and discuss the issues and the challenges ahead".

In reference to the dividing line between security -or law enforcement- and defense, General Craddock stated, "The dividing line between security and defense is now blurring in the 21st century. The 20th century views of defense as being conventional forces lined up on a country's borders are now over. Today's threats are not of a conventional nature, they are transnational, they are to a certain extent criminal in some areas and terrorist in other areas, they feed on each other in terms of drug traffickers, the opportunity for terrorists to hijack that activity and then move in, they look for ungoverned areas where a state's control is minimal or not present, so given all that is up to each country to decide where they draw the line between defense and security. Depending on the magnitude and the nature of those threats there may be times when countries will have their military assisting police or law enforcement elements in security operations in a country. So I don't think there is a one size fits all, and each nation has to make its own judgment. Based upon that decision by the nations and the laws of the United States, those two factors determine how much U.S. Southern Command works with countries with regard to security or defense. I have very, very little authority to work with police or law enforcement elements of a nation".

About Venezuela's weapons purchase, General Craddock said that "when the purchase of individual weapons, the AK47s, is far in excess of the number needed to equip the military, one might ask why, it might lead you to wonder what happens to those extra weapons, if the displaced, the ordered weapons, move out of control to other parts of the region could cause significant problems. The purchase of helicopters I understand is now on the table, if the helicopters are purchased and used to increase control of the borders then we think that would be a good thing, because we know the insurgents of Colombia use the borders back and forth for safe havens, but we don't know that's going to happen where there is no transparency if you will in terms of the arms, the rational, and the applications. So that's what concerns the United States, that's what concerns the U.S. Southern Command and we believe should and will concern the neighbors of Venezuela".


GENERAL CRADDOCK'S OPENING REMARKS AT PRESS CONFERENCE
Sheraton Hotel Montevideo
June 22, 2005     AUDIO (includes introduction by U.S. Embassy's PAO Linda Gonzalez)

Good morning. I have been in command of Southern Command since early November, and this is my first opportunity to visit your beautiful country, so it is indeed a pleasure to be here.

My purpose for coming, is to, first of all, get to know the Uruguayan government, to meet those in the, that lead the defense area, the military leaders, and as much as I can in the short time here, to meet and see the Uruguayan people, and last but not least, to meet with my SOUTHCOM personnel here, COL Cordero and her folks, that do such good work at our mission here in Uruguay. (And) if I may, to the family of Cpl. Leandro Acosta, who was killed in Haiti, and Cpl. Tinquer Trindade, who was killed in the Congo just two weeks ago, we express our deepest sympathy and condolences. Their selfless dedication to duty serves as inspiration to all of our men and women in uniform, and their sacrifice exemplifies the commitment that Uruguay has made promoting peace throughout the world.


  PHOTO GALLERY

General Craddock addresses the media at a June 22 press conference in Montevideo. (U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi) General Craddock addresses the media at a June 22 press conference in Montevideo. (U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi)
General Craddock addresses the media at a June 22 press conference in Montevideo.
(Click here to enlarge photo)(Click here to enlarge photo)

General Craddock arriving at the Uruguayan Ministry of Defense. (U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi)
General Craddock arriving at the Uruguayan Ministry of Defense.
(Click here to enlarge photo)
VADM Danners and General Craddock exchanging gifts at Uruguayan Navy HQ. (U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi)
VADM Danners and General Craddock exchanging gifts at Uruguayan Navy HQ. (Click here to enlarge photo)

LTG Bertolotti and honor guard welcome General Craddock at Uruguayan Army HQ.(U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi) General Craddock and LTG Bertolotti exchange gifts at Uruguayan Army HQ.(U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi)
LTG Bertolotti and honor guard welcome General Craddock at Uruguayan Army HQ.
(Click here to enlarge photo)(Click here to enlarge photo)

Lt Gen Bonelli greets General Craddock at Uruguayan Air Force HQ. (U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi)
Lt Gen Bonelli greets General Craddock at Uruguayan Air Force HQ.
(Click here to enlarge photo)
Uruguayan Air Force honor guard salutes General Craddock upon his departure from Montevideo airport. (U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi)
Uruguayan Air Force honor guard salutes General Craddock upon his departure from Montevideo airport. (Click here to enlarge photo)

 

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