Media Center

Press Release


  November 27, 2007

The achievements of the recent humanitarian efforts carried out by the United States Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort, which dispensed free medical care to some 100,000 people during a four-month tour of 12 countries of the region, were highlighted today during a detailed presentation at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS).

In welcoming the Deputy Commander of the United States Southern Command, Lieutenant General Glenn F. Spears, the Interim Permanent Representative of the United States to the OAS, Robert Manzanares said that this mission brought “a message of hope, care and compassion to our neighbors on behalf of the American people.” Manzanares explained that President George W. Bush ordered the deployment of the USNS Comfort to aid the people of the region “as part of his initiative on advancing the cause of social justice in the Western Hemisphere.”

“The Comfort’s mission and its message, as President Bush noted, is about extending the blessings of liberty. This mission is about hope and helping fulfill the destiny of an Americas where the dignity of every person is respected, where their fundamental rights are honored by governments and where the aspirations of each citizen for progress, a better future and life for themselves and loved ones can come closer to reality,” he added.

General Spears outlined the goals and accomplishments of the tour, which included direct medical care, public health initiatives, infrastructure support, medical education, as well as engineering assistance to the countries visited. He noted that one important part of this trip was the chance for Comfort’s diverse medical staff to work with the medical staffs of other nations. In addition, he underscored the importance of cooperation from several non-governmental organizations to make this effort possible.

“Through innovation, through partnership, we believe that we are showing the United States commitment to this region of the world. The USNS ship Comfort’s four-month deployment we believe was very successful and that it showed the United States commitment to the nations within the Americas, the nations within the Americas that we call home,” stated General Spears.

During its deployment, the Comfort treated 98,659 patients and carried out 386,217 medical treatments. Similar voyages are expected in 2008 and 2009.

The goodwill mission that began on June 15 visited ports in Belize, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname. Following the General’s remarks, several Member Countries expressed gratitude for the aid provided in their countries.

Reference: E-306/07