Southcom

Jose A. Iglesias / Miami Herald

When we talk about security in the Americas these days, Venezuela dominates the conversation. That was the case Wednesday at Florida International University – where the top U.S. military official here addressed the debate over U.S. intervention in the Venezuela crisis.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

President Donald Trump recently met with five Caribbean heads of state at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida to discuss how the U.S. can help that region. U.S. officials followed that  by meeting with ministers from almost 20 Caribbean countries in Doral.

Daniel Rivero / WLRN

Not a day goes by without new news emerging from Venezuela about the ongoing political-humanitarian crisis. Just this week, a Russian plane landed in the South American country carrying troops and an unknown load of military cargo. On Tuesday, a caravan carrying U.S.-recognized interim President Juan Guaidó was attacked by alleged government supporters, prompting a rebuke from U.S.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

Top military commanders for the US and Colombia held a joint meeting in Miami on Wednesday to discuss regional cooperation. At the top of the agenda was the escalating humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, which is slated to ramp up this weekend.

Jose Iglesias / Miami Herald

In remarks made in Doral on Monday, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and a retiring commander of U.S. military operations in the Caribbean and much of Latin America offered starkly different readings of the state of security in the Western Hemisphere.

The comments came during a change of command ceremony for the U.S. Southern Command, or SOUTHCOM, the branch of the Pentagon that oversees operations in the Caribbean as well as Central and South America.

Jonathan Clay / US Navy

A U.S. Navy hospital ship leaves Norfolk, Virginia, Thursday on a mission that means a lot to people here in South Florida. It hopes to help bring relief to the worst migrant refugee crisis in modern South American history.

The U.S. military’s Southern Command, or Southcom, hosted a summit of experts in Miami Thursday on America’s growing opioid crisis. Among them was Jim Walsh, the deputy assistant secretary of state for international narcotics.

Walsh told WLRN one of his big concerns is the growing potential for increased production of fentanyl – widely considered the most addictive and dangerous opioid. Walsh said in the past China has been the sole source of fentanyl. But there are signs it’s now being produced in this hemisphere: