Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Paraguay and Uruguay, where I met with government, business, and civil society representatives to discuss shared opportunities.
In Asuncion, I had an excellent discussion with President Lugo and Foreign Minister Lacognata about areas of mutual cooperation, as well as the recent elections in Paraguay -- a testament to that country's democracy. I met with other government officials, business people, and leaders from political parties and civil society. We shared views on how Paraguay can best reduce poverty, grow its economy, and fight crime. I also had the opportunity to speak with journalists from all three major daily papers in Paraguay.
In Montevideo, I had an interesting dialogue with directors of local media outlets on a range of issues, including Uruguay's current political situation and its relationships with other countries in the region. At a lunch with Foreign Minister Almagro and his team, we discussed bilateral cooperation and ways to advance our partnership. During my meeting with President Mujica, I learned about Uruguay's social development programs. We also discussed economic growth and opportunities for further progress with respect to social inclusion.
I particularly enjoyed the opportunities to engage with students during my recent trip. At the Alianza in Montevideo, I had an interactive discussion with international relations students, many of whom had previously participated in U.S. government exchange programs. They asked insightful questions that demonstrated their interest in U.S. foreign policy in the region. At both embassies, I responded to questions submitted by students that I was unable to answer during my digital town hall on November 3. Those video responses have been posted on the Embassy Paraguay and Uruguay YouTube pages.
I would like to thank the people of Paraguay and Uruguay for their hospitality and for making my visit to the region so meaningful. I look forward to returning soon.
If you would like more information about my visits to Paraguay and Uruguay, I encourage you to read my tweets @WHAAsstSecty. You can also view photos on the Facebook pages of our Embassies in Paraguay and Uruguay.