U.S. Consul General Valerie Belon hosted a visit of Commander U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) General Douglas M. Fraser and U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Fay Hartog Levin, May 9-10, 2011.
General Fraser is Commander of USSOUTHCOM based in Miami, Florida. USSOUTHCOM is responsible for all United States Department of Defense security cooperation in the 45 nations and territories of Central and South America and the Caribbean Sea, an area of 16 million square miles. Consul General Belon said "I was delighted when we learned that General Fraser would be coming to Curacao and even more delighted when Ambassador Hartog Levin was able to make arrangements to join him. This high-level visit demonstrates the importance that the U.S. attaches to our bilateral cooperation with the Dutch Caribbean islands and reinforced the mutually-beneficial partnerships we have on a number of important issues."
Based in The Hague, Ambassador Fay Hartog Levin is the 65th Ambassador of the United States of America to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Appointed by President Obama, she is also Chief of Mission for an Embassy in The Hague that includes many diverse U.S. Government agencies. Unlike most U.S. consuls, Valerie Belon is also Chief of Mission, responsible for all six islands of the Dutch Caribbean as the senior representative of the United States Government. This was only the second U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands to visit the Dutch Caribbean in the last 20 years, the last visit being in 2005 along with the then head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The visitors had scheduled meetings with Governor Frits Goedgedrag, Acting Representative of the Netherlands Patricia Grollé, Dutch Marine Brigadier General Dick Swijgman, and U.S. Forward Operating Location Commander Lieutenant Colonel Brian Bell.
Ambassador Levin’s visit began with a joint meeting with Curacao Prime Minister Schotte, Aruba Prime Minister Eman, Aruba Infrastructure Minister Sevinger, and Curacao Economy Minister Hakim. The meetings covered topics of common interest including tourism development and regional security.
Ambassador Hartog Levin was also able to visit the historic Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue and Museum Kura Hulanda including its exhibits on the history of the slave trade. The Ambassador said that she was very impressed with the unique beauty, culture, and architecture of Curacao and hopes to make a return visit to the Dutch Caribbean as soon as possible.