Guatemala: International Leaders Take Part in SPS 2013

International Leaders Take Part in SPS 2013

Leaders from Guatemala, Mexico and Belize visited service members taking part in Southern Partnership Station 2013 (SPS), in Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala, March 20.

Leaders left impressed with the efforts of U.S. service members and their Guatemalan counterparts to increase joint operability.

“This mission has provided us the opportunity to share expertise, and we’re grateful for this program,” said Guatemalan navy Chief of Naval Operations Vice Adm. Tyrone Hidalgo Caceres. “Through (SPS) we’ve increased our expertise and joint operations with the United States.”

Southern Partnership Station 2013 is a 4th Fleet initiative designed to strengthen civil and maritime capabilities with regional partner nations in the Caribbean and Central and South America here today. While SPS is a mission designed to build partnerships and joint capacities, one nation’s leader takes it as an example of real-world flexibility and understanding.

International Leaders Take Part in SPS 2013

“We’ve never taken part in an (SPS), but I can see the benefits of this type of information and operational expertise exchange,” said Mexican navy Capt. Jose Manuel Sedas Gutierrez, Mexican military attache to Guatemala. “We work with the American Navy regularly in the counter-narcotics missions. “Just recently we captured (drug runners) 240 miles off the Pacific coast of Mexico. We executed this mission with a U.S. Navy ship manned by American and Mexican sailors.”

The purpose of the DV visit, requested by Guatemalan leadership, was to educate visitors of the opportunities partner missions like SPS provide in areas such as drug interdiction and maritime and regional stability. It provided opportunity for much more.

“Anytime we’re able to meet with our counterparts in other nations, it allows us to expand on our existing relationships as well as establish new and important ones,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Lachlan Belcher, SPS 13 foreign area officer. “In a world where the national media tends to focus on the Central Command (the Middle East) area of responsibility a half world away, it’s important we not forget about our neighbors in the Caribbean and Central and South America.

“These are people who live where we live and share many of the same regional concerns we have regarding security, the economy and prosperity.”

COMUSNAVSO/COMFOURTHFLT supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

Naval Today Staff, March 22, 2013; Image: SPS