Join a Discussion on Opportunities and Challenges in the Western Hemisphere

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 12, 2011
Conversations With America Replay Broadcast Generic

Update: Watch the webcast here.

On Thursday, July 14, 2011, Arturo Valenzuela , Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, will hold a conversation with Dr. Cynthia Arnson, Director of the Latin America Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, on "Opportunities and Challenges in the Western Hemisphere." The discussion will be moderated by Olive Sampson, Director of the Office of Public Liaison, and streamed live on www.state.gov and DipNote, the Department of State's official blog, at 1:15 p.m. EDT. Members of the general public are invited to participate by submitting questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Questions can be submitted now here on DipNote.

Through "Conversations With America," leaders of national nongovernmental organizations have the opportunity to discuss foreign policy and global issues with senior Department of State officials. These conversations aim to provide candid views of the ways in which leaders from the foreign affairs community are engaging the Department on pressing foreign policy issues. From Afghanistan to India, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and Internet freedom to world water issues, the "Conversations With America" series showcases how both the U.S. government and civil society are working across the globe on issues that concern Americans most.

View other "Conversations With America"here and by accessing the "Conversations With America" video podcasts on iTunes.

Comments

Comments

Paige G.
|
Australia
July 12, 2011

Paige G. in Australia writes:

Thank you for the opportunity to be involved in this discussion! I have two areas of particular interest: Honduras and Cuba....so I will ask questions about both.

re: Honduras - through World Vision Australia we sponsor a young boy, his family and community in Honduras. I have read your State Dept reports and other articles/books about Honduras eg lack of basic nutrition, Human Rights abuses, corruption etc. At the same time I receive letters from his family about what a happy life he has within his community - which gives me some hope for his future; but I am concerned for his future prospects as he reaches adulthood - personal safety, education, employment, financial security, adequate food - nutrition/shelter....the violence on the streets - shootings, the government corruption, child abduction, role of drugs in their country etc - the list of risk factors is long and terrible....

1. What do you anticipate your specific work with Honduras will be over the next decade - what are your priorities eg strengthening governance by partnershiping on anti-corruption measures? press freedom and security of the press/journalists? judicial protection etc? fostering legal business partnerships with the US eg agriculture, environmental conservation, tourism, textiles, the Arts (esp music and dance)? strengthening their capacity to cope with climate change - extreme weather events?....

2. Given that you have an extremelly long history of involvement in the affairs of Honduras - what significant difference do you think is achievable over that next decade - given the terrible state of affairs currently.

3. What will you do differently to get better outcomes for average Honduran citizens from your involvement in their country - given that your involvement to date appears to have resulted in extremelly limited positive benefit?

re: Cuba:

1. Time to lift the embargo? When will you?

2. When you do - what transition arrangements will you make so that you/your big businesses that move in to make money from Cuba and the Cubans - don't culturally oppress and destroy the best that exists in Cuba?
(Harm minimisation strategies from your involvement in the affairs of another country?) Financial/economic colonialism is as terrible for a countries culture as military colonialism can be to human rights...I guess I should be talking to the Chinese govt as well on this topic....

3. What will your priorities be when you open the Cuban door?

boz
|
Nicaragua
July 12, 2011

Boz in Nicaragua writes:

So far in 2011, journalists have been killed in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. While every murder is troubling, the case of Honduras is particularly problematic as at least 13 journalists have been murdered in the past 18 months and the Lobo government has failed to fully investigate and prosecute the murders. What programs does the State Department have to help protect the physical safety of journalists in the hemisphere and what is State doing to pressure governments to investigate the attacks that occur?

Cindy G.
|
California, USA
July 12, 2011

Cindy G. in California writes:

I am often troubled by the relative shortage of international news that gets posted in the US newspapers and TV news. Some of my friends are able to pick up information by reading foreign newspapers. The reality seems to be that Americans are poorly informed about international events. Do you have any ideas, plans, or suggestions for getting more international news disseminated to the American public?

Second Question, I have a similar question to Paige's question. I sponsor a child in Kenya through Compassion International. He has excellent English skills and even is a translator for his school. This year, he graduated from high school and I have been very concerned about his future. Especially with reports of drought. What educational opportunities will he have at the university level, if any? Can these 'sponsored' children come to the US for college? He expressed interest in law school around the time that my own son attended law school. I sort of avoided the subject because I didn't know if they have such opportunities.

Thank you!

Ann
|
United States
July 13, 2011

Ann in the U.S.A. writes:

One of the many challenges faced by Western Hemisphere today is the rampant and devastating gender-based violence throughout the region, as well as the challenge of fighting gender discrimination and abuse in the workplace, home, the streets, the court systems, prisons, banks (while trying to obtain loans)...and pretty much every other place you can think of.

However, if I want to know about the challenges, I can read about them online. I want to know about the positive opportunities of using women and girls as drivers of positive societal change.

1. What are the U.S. government's views on the opportunities of investing in women economically and politically?

2. What is the U.S. government doing to make sure that women are invested and consulted in all areas of society? (Including the security sector, macreconomics, private sector, court systems, and other areas where women aren't usually included)

Thank you!

Roger
|
Florida, USA
July 13, 2011

Roger in Florida writes:

What circumstances would cause the U.S. to change its travel restrictions to Cuba?

Rubencio
|
District Of Columbia, USA
July 13, 2011

Rubencio in Washington, D.C. writes:

Some Latin American countries have suffered from weak and unstable governments in part due to ‘exaggerated presidentialism,’ and it has been suggested that some of these countries would be better governed if they adopted parliamentary systems. What steps is the administration taking to urge such reforms for countries such as Ecuador that have suffered from unstable governments?

Susan C.
|
Florida, USA
July 13, 2011

Susan C. in Florida writes:

My daughter visited Panama not too long ago. I was very concerned about the border between Panama and Columbia. Have things changed there, or is there still problems with FARC crossing into Panama to commit crimes, such as kidnapping? We tend to only hear about kidnappings in Mexico, however, I understand that this goes on in Brazil, Costa Rica, as well as on the border of Panama and Columbia. Has progress been made to stop this problem? Does the DoS warn travelers from the U.S. about this situation in these countries? Thank you for taking our questions.

Sharria
|
Florida, USA
July 13, 2011

Sharria in Florida writes:

Diplomacy deals with trade deals. How is the DoS involving us in trade deals with Latin America and how will they help both sides?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 14, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

At what point would the US dept of State make a determination to put narco-traffickers on a list of non-state sponsors of terror, or simply designate them as terrorist org's?

And if so, would Mexico and other nations affected accept US military boots on their soil to partner with their militaries as we do in Afghanistan and Iraq, or would that look more like the dysfunctional "partnership" we have with Pakistan if we did?

Not trying to compare apples and oranges, but I think it speaks to the basis of winning this endless war on drugs...or not.

Thanks for taking questions.

EJ

Kenneth K.
|
Chile
July 14, 2011

Kenneth K. in Chile writes:

Thanks for the chance to share. I am going to fire off some questions and would love to see any or all of them answered or commented upon.

I have worked in Chile for the last 9 years in academic advising (including a stint with EducationUSA). While there are many US scholarships for Chileans to apply to, there is very little information available on TOEFL test preparation. The binational center has been poorly run as long as I have been here and is now on the brink of economic collapse. A teacher exchange would remediate this problem (US students working on Master's in TEFL, for example).

In the State Deptartment's opinion, how has IIE's management of Mexico's educational advising center coming along? Could Chile eventually be considered for such a center? How is IIE's management of the REACs going?

When I worked for EducationUSA in Chile, I received almost no support from the REAC based, at the time, in Peru. It seems IIE may bring a lot of good and could never be worse than the old REAC setup. I worked with IIE personnel via email/phone, and they were stellar. Conversely, my REAC visited once in 2 years and seldom answered emails. When I broached the subject of my country manager's never having advised anyone during my 18 months of work, she spoke to the BNC director to have me removed.

I have spent the years following my advising work as a congressional adviser in the Senate of Chile.

force63
July 14, 2011

W.W. writes:

Shenghen for the Americas : High speed Train Mexico City-New York

B i.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
July 14, 2011

Bill in Washington, D.C. writes:

What are the prospects for re-establishing formal ambassadorial relations with Ecuador? With Bolivia and Venezuela? With Mexico? Has ther ever been a time in recent history when the U.S. had so many ambassadorial vacancies in Latin America?

Emmanuel a.
|
Ghana
July 14, 2011

Emmanuel A. in Ghana writes:

Sir, I like to continue my education so as to prepare myself educationally to play an inportant role as citizen of U S A and Ghana.please sir, let me here from you soon thank you.

Guy E.
|
Rhode Island, USA
July 14, 2011

Guy E. in Rhode Island writes:

Does the next US Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere need experience on climate, clean energy, resource scarcity and green growth?

John C.
|
Zambia
July 15, 2011

John in Lusaka writes:

Hey Friends,
We are looking forward to make partnership western world.

Ljiljana T.
|
Serbia
July 18, 2011

Ljiljana in Serbia wriets:

Dear Global Govovernment,

Our Serbian Government has expired in its ability to move forward the population on both Atlantic sides, and we would most kindly ask you to "do" our new president and government, and in the context of the modern political moment demanding from all of us to help the USA to stop the virus of revolution, meaning the whip of wars and pathological peace, so to tell, and in order to avoid the splitting of California or similar, and to protect the UN national items (self-determination and similar)we ask you to globally approve Serbia as a neutral state (within the USA) to lead a "kolo" of global happiness...so to tell....and consequentlly prevent the gold backing transform into gold fever, gold ingots and golden teeth...

Namely we think that the United nations should switch over into unites states in order to avoid further deterioration of the world due to double lingual meaning of the word "nation" (European and American)....
Does this sound reasonable for the whole world and promising for the overall global future?
We are aware that our officials strictly obey and respect your instructions, and wikileaks has recently revealed the instructions given by the ambassadors, and therefore since these deeds fail to be fruitful of joint benefit, the USA should consider to slightly change its politics towards Serbia, for the purpose of stability in the Balkans, There is no doubt that we are very fond of our Russian brothers and sisters, but it seems that we have no plans to oppose cooperation with you because the communism has opened the wounds which are an obstacle for any more serious cooperation with the Russians ....

We have always had friendly relations with the USA and these relations could be reestablished through few simple steps, such as to moderate the political vector towards us...

And finally the question: Does your department is willing to review and consider the allegations in this letter

Best regards from Serbia
Ljiljana Tatic & Friends

Jasna S.
|
Serbia
July 17, 2011

Ljiljana T. and Jasna S. in Serbia write:

Dear Global Government,
Our Serbian Government has expired in its ability to move forward the population on both Atlantic sides, and we would most kindly ask you to "do" our new president and government, and in the context of the modern political moment demanding from all of us to help the USA to stop the virus of revolution, meaning the whip of wars and pathological peace, so to tell, and in order to avoid the splitting of California or similar, and to protect the UN national items (self-determination and similar)we ask you to globally approve Serbia as a neutral state (within the USA) to lead a "kolo" of global happiness...so to tell....and consequentlly prevent the gold backing transform into gold fever, gold ingots and golden teeth...
Namely we think that the United nations should switch over into unites states in order to avoid further deterioration of the world due to double lingual meaning of the word "nation" (European and American)....
Does this sound reasonable for the whole world and promising for the overall global future?
We are aware that our officials strictly obey and respect your instructions, and wikileaks has recently revealed the instructions given by the ambassadors, and therefore since these deeds fail to be fruitful of joint benefit, the USA should consider to slightly change its politics towards Serbia, for the purpose of stability in the Balkans, There is no doubt that we are very fond of our Russian brothers and sisters, but it seems that we have no plans to oppose cooperation with you because the communism has opened the wounds which are an obstacle for any more serious cooperation with the Russians ....
We have always had friendly relations with the USA and these relations could be reestablished through few simple steps, such as to moderate the political vector towards us...
And finally the question: Is your department willing to review and consider the ideas in this letter which could bring eventually bring the USA to solvency and the world to peaceful economy?
Yours faithfully,
Ljiljana T. and Jasna S.
Belgrade, Serbia

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