Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks at 40th Washington Conference on the Americas

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
May 12, 2010

Secretary Clinton delivered remarks at the 40th Washington Conference on the Americas at the U.S. Department of State on May 12, 2010.

The Secretary highlighted her upcoming travels to Peru in June for the Organization of American States General Assembly. She also discussed three issues, including the U.S. commitment to trade and energy investment, security, and inequity and immigration.

The Secretary said, "We believe that we can do so much more on both energy and climate, and we need your help on that front as well. The United States is prepared to invest government funds to solicit private sector funds to try to develop the energy sectors. We are particularly concerned about how so many countries in the Caribbean and Central America are dependent on imported oil at great cost to their economies. I believe that we will see oil start to go back up in price and that will further impinge upon the budgetary choices in the Caribbean and Central America, and we need to get ahead of this and not see the consequences that will inevitably flow that will hit the hardest on the people least able to manage those costs. So, trade and energy investment, that's one big basket of issues that I know you'll be addressing. We need your ideas, we need your constructive criticism, and we need a strong, deep partnership on the way forward."

She continued, "Secondly, security -- you can't go anywhere in Latin America without hearing about the challenges to security. Our friends from Colombia have waged a heroic and largely successful struggle against the drug traffickers, but it isn't over. It's not over in Colombia and it is certainly not over anywhere else in the hemisphere. The countries bearing the brunt of it today are in Central America and Mexico. The brutality, the barbarism of the drug traffickers in Mexico is just beyond imagination. And we need smarter, more effective strategies to deal with this continuing threat to civil society, to governmental legitimacy, to the writ of government out into areas that need to be controlled. We have some good examples of what does work, but we are nowhere near what I would consider to be an effective strategy."

The Secretary said, "[T]he issues of inequity, of immigration are ones that are particularly important and they are linked to everything else. While I think that we can take a lot of joy in the positive GDP growth, our income disparity continues to grow. And that is not good news for anybody. That is a source of social and political instability. It feeds a lot of the criminal activity that unfortunately is now dominated by the traffickers of drugs and arms and people. And we have to do a better job."

She continued, "So while we talk about what we need to do in Latin America, we need to stay focused on how we empower and how we create mechanisms within the public sector that are going to be able to lift up those who are on the bottom. We don't have the poorest people in the world in Latin America, with the exception of Haiti, but we have the most inequity. And therefore, we've got to have a partnership among the public and the private sector to address this."

Before closing, she noted the countries of the Western Hemisphere's commitment to Haiti. "I am so grateful to every country represented here, because every country in the hemisphere contributed something to Haiti after the earthquake. Even those that were small and themselves coping with difficult social and economic conditions have made their contributions. And we have to stay united on this effort."

Read the Secretary's full remarks here.

Comments

Comments

HELEN L.
|
Canada
May 12, 2010

Helen L. in Canada writes:

How long are the investments and the copyrights good for USA and Canada investments

OysterCracker
|
United States
May 12, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

Don't forget Hawaii too! Gas and electricity prices on the Big Island are nearly half to 3 times more than on the mainland. There is a lot of poverty in Hawaii that we should be addressing through access to food, transportation and energy. Giving subsidies to low income families to produce their own vegetables and gardens should be a #1 priority for President Obama because the islands are his birthplace (they think). It is nearly impossible for small scale families to get agricultural loans. The process is difficult and not intelligible to the average low wage worker. There should be a massive shift in our country to help rural families in need who have inadequate access to a lot of things. Food, healthcare and educational opportunities should be abundant for all of Hawaii's poor.

OysterCracker
|
United States
May 12, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

People receiving any government subsidy, food, housing, child care allowance, disability, medical care etc. should be drug free. This sends a message to people that the government isn't complicit in their addictions. If they want support they need to be drug and alcohol free.

Patrick
|
Maryland, USA
May 12, 2010

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Nice Remarks, I thought some of the issues your working on are getting better, but it's going too take time before things show major progress...:)

Nice hosting Arturo, And Hillary ...SeeYa..)

R.C.
|
Wisconsin, USA
May 13, 2010

R.C. in Wisconsin writes:

These are all good thoughts, but there is no discussion of HOW any of these things are going to be accomplished. It's easy to say "we need to close the gap between the rich and poor, we need to stop drug trafficking, etc." but I don't hear a lot of insight as to how this is going to happen. Did I miss something or is this just an opening statement?

Stephanie B.
|
Wisconsin, USA
May 14, 2010

Stephanie B. in Wisconsin writes:

It is admirable that the Department of State is trying to take leadership on the topic of climate control in the Western hemisphere. However, there is no way to keep the U.S. accountable in meeting the new initiatives that the Secretary of State outlined due to the fact that there are no quantifiable goals or deadlines. Also, the Integral Approach could be used to better evaluate the appropriateness of these initiatives.

Anna
|
Wisconsin, USA
May 14, 2010

Anna in Wisconsin writes:

Brazil has a lot to offer in terms of diversity of its energy sources and energy efficiency. Although Brazil has recently found offshore oil, they seem to be committed to continue having the highest share of renewable energy in power generation of any big economy.

If the Obama administration “believes that we can do so much more on both energy and climate,” then it can start with removing its protectionist tariff on Brazil’s ethanol – which is much “greener” than US corn-based ethanol and uses inputs, especially energy, 4 to 5 times more efficiently.

Anna
|
Wisconsin, USA
May 17, 2010

Anna in Wisconsin writes:

Brazil has a lot to offer in terms of diversity of its energy sources and energy efficiency. Although Brazil has recently found offshore oil, they seem to be committed to continue having the highest share of renewable energy in power generation of any big economy. If the Obama administration “believes that we can do so much more on both energy and climate,” then it can start with removing its protectionist tariff on Brazil’s ethanol – which is much “greener” than US corn-based ethanol and uses inputs, especially energy, 4 to 5 times more efficiently.

Kyle H.
|
Wisconsin, USA
May 14, 2010

Kyle H. in Wisconsin writes:

Odd that Secretary Clinton and President Obama want to create free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, yet during their campaigns they were against new free trade agreements. Free trade agreements are fundamentally detrimental to the countries involved. Sure, they help the rich few get richer, but they raise inequality. We have to make the choice between lining our pockets with money produced by exploited works or creating a better, more equal world where money is not the end-all-be-all.

Gabriella
May 14, 2010

Gabriella writes:

I applaud Secretary Clinton on realizing that the United States can do more to address the current issues in Latin America especially in regards to finding a better way to manage energy use which truly affects the entire world. She acknowledges that voices of other nations besides the United States must be heard because in order for progress, global effort is necessary. In order for other nations to want to be involved in global issues, respect is necessary and I think it is important that Clinton showed her appreciation for all the nations who contributed to aiding Haiti. However, again these are merely words and visions and unless real goals are set, we cannot be sure that the issues at hand will come close to being solved.

R.B.
|
Wisconsin, USA
May 17, 2010

R.B. in Wisconsin writes:

Although I won’t disagree with Secretary’s Clinton comment that trade is very important, free trade agreements create problems for other countries that aren’t at the same economic level as the United States. The rid of tariffs makes it difficult for these poorer countries to keep competing, and their prices must be lowered. This only creates more problems for these societies but helps the U.S. by lowering prices of imports. These other economies aren’t allowed to grow like they would have, and like the U.S. had the opportunity to. The public and poorer sector will remain as is, and won’t be able to grow and compete with the private and richer sector within the country. Like Secretary Clinton pointed out, Latin America has the most inequity in the world. They first must start working within the country before reaching out to others.

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