RIO DE JANEIRO – US Defense Secretary James Mattis gave on Tuesday a speech at the Brazilian military’s war college, in which he emphasized the good relations between the two countries and affirmed Washington’s “long term” commitment to the region.
As examples of US fealty, Mattis cited the aid provided by the Pentagon in the search for Argentine submarine ARA San Juan – which disappeared late last year with a crew of 44 seamen – as well as the support given by his country in the midst of the ongoing Venezuelan refugee crisis.
“We want to be your partner of choice,” he said, in a clear reference to the growing influence that China has in the region.
The secretary then visited the monument to Brazilian soldiers who died fighting with the Allies in World War II.
The US delegation will travel to Buenos Aires in the afternoon, where the secretary is set to meet with Argentine Defense Minister Oscar Aguad.
Mattis will then move on to Santiago and Bogota, where he will end his first official visit to South America.