Belize City –Tradewinds 2022, a two-week training involving 22 nations sponsored by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), ended today following a closing ceremony in Ladyville, Belize. More than 1,800 people participated in the exercise with 644 from the United States and 1,158 from Belize and other partner nations. This marks the first time that two partner nations – Belize and Mexico – cohosted the annual Tradewinds exercise alongside the United States.
Tradewinds seeks to expand all partner nations’ abilities to plan and execute multinational operations, counter transnational organized crime, and provide better regional security throughout the Caribbean and Central America. The exercise focused on topics including human rights awareness, marksmanship, jungle warfare, military support to law enforcement, cyber security, riverine training, maritime and dive skills.
U.S. Embassy Belmopan Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Leyla Moses-Ones stated, “We value the strong relationships forged during Tradewinds. The interaction and collaboration during this exercise involving 22 nations will help save the lives of our friends and neighbors in the event of actual emergencies. This critical exchange of knowledge and expertise are key to maintaining regional security and prosperity.”
Nations participating in the 37th iteration of Tradewinds included Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Multiple U.S. military organizations supported Tradewinds, including SOUTHCOM, U.S Northern Command, U.S. Marine Corps Forces South, Marine Forces Reserve, U.S. Coast Guard, and National Guard units from Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, and the District of Columbia.
During Tradewinds, a Joint Task Force – Bravo medical team and local NGO the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired transformed local community centers into a field hospital and hosted four medical clinics for the local Belizean community. Approximately 1,101 patients received preventive medicines, pediatric, optometry, and dental care in the Carmelita and Santa Marta villages.