Posted on Tuesday, 11.20.12
Marine takes charge at Southcom, praises Colombian peace efforts
Gen. John F. Kelly assumed command Monday of the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees U.S. military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
By CAROL ROSENBERG
With the blessings of the two senior Pentagon officials, Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly took charge of the Southern Command on Monday, then swiftly praised peace talks between Colombia and rebels as better than open warfare.
“Just the fact that they’re talking is a monumental indication of hope, I think,” Kelly told reporters within minutes of taking over at Southcom headquarters in Doral. “Anytime people are talking and not trying to kill each other, fight each other, is a good thing.”
The peace talks are being held in Havana following last month’s ceremonial start in Oslo, and Colombia’s main rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), announced a unilateral ceasefire as a goodwill gesture.
The general was more circumspect in his reply to a question of whether he would see the United States establish relations with the Cuban military or see the prison camps closed at Guantánamo during his tenure here, which could last two or three years.