Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser guides Southern Command as it prepares for move to permanent headquarters in Doral
A year after taking the reins as commander of the US Southern Command, Gen. Douglas Fraser is focusing on helping law enforcement combat illicit trafficking — a critical problem in the region — and assisting natural disaster-battered countries.
Southern Command, which moved to Doral from Panama in 1997, is responsible for the country's military operations in Latin America and the Caribbean. It also provides humanitarian assistance and is called upon after natural disasters. This year alone, the command provided disaster relief to Haiti and Chile affected by earthquakes.
In the fall, the command is to move into newly-built, 640,000-square-foot headquarters in Doral. The project cost about $400 million and is to consolidate all the command's South Florida operations under one roof.
Southern Command is forbidden from engaging with the Cuban military, Gen. Fraser said. But it has relations with all other military forces in the region, with the exceptions of Venezuela and Bolivia, he noted, "by their choice, not ours."
But he says he doesn't foresee nation-on-nation military threats within the region.
"Throughout the recent history, everybody's figured out how to work that on a diplomatic basis to try and solve our problems diplomatically, and I see that continuing," he said.
Gen. Fraser discussed the military command's operations and plans with Miami Today reporter Yudislaidy Fernandez at its leased home in Doral.
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