We arrived in El Salvador just a few hours ago. This is the last stop on the President's second trip to the region. The President kept a fast-paced schedule in Brazil and Chile, even as he and his national security team have remained focused on U.S. leadership and responses to events in other parts of the world.
We flew overnight Friday, March 18, arriving early Saturday morning in Brasilia. It would be hard to overstate the excitement of the visit to Brazil. You could feel it everywhere the President went, from his conversations with Brazil's new President, Dilma Rouseff and her cabinet, to his meetings with American and Brazilian business leaders, to his encounter, along with the First Lady and their daughters, with children in Rio de Janeiro's Cidade de Deus favela. The President's very personal remarks in Rio's Municipal theatre Sunday afternoon received a warm response from a broadly representative audience of Brazilian society.
From Brazil we journeyed to Chile witnessing a spectacular view of the Andes shortly before landing. Thousands of Chileans lined the streets to welcome the President. After the President's meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera in Chile on Monday, I was struck by the wide-ranging list of topics discussed with both his Brazilian and Chilean counterparts: the crises in Northern Africa and the Middle East, Space technology, international financial reform, expanding markets, civil aviation, climate change, food security, citizen security, economic competitiveness, nuclear safety, education, and so much more.
The President's engagement on these vital issues is a testament to the profound transformation that is underway in Latin America, as the President highlighted in the major speech he gave from Santiago on U.S.-Latin American relations. As he noted, authoritarianism has been largely overcome as countries have embraced democracy, sought to address problems of poverty, and pursued economic reforms that have led to economic growth and increased prosperity. As a result, our relationship with the countries of the Americas has also changed -- away from focusing exclusively on the region or on assistance projects, and toward ways we can work together on the most important global challenges of our time, while improving the lives and opportunities for all of our citizens.