Solidarity in the Americas: Secretary Clinton’s Trip to the Region

March 13, 2010
Secretary Clinton arrives in Montevideo, Uruguay
Secretary Clinton Meets With The President-elect of Uruguay
Women Legislators Give Secretary Clinton a Present
Secretary Clinton With Women Legislators in Uruguay
Secretary Clinton Speaks With Uruguay President Tabaré Vázquez
Secretary Clinton Speaks to the Uruguayan Press
Secretary Clinton Meets With Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo
Secretary Clinton Speaks With U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay David D. Nelson
Secretary Clinton Wheels Down in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Secretary Clinton Meeting With Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Secretary Clinton With Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Secretary Clinton Signs the Visitor's Book
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Greets Secretary Clinton
Secretary Clinton Visits Chilean President-elect Sebastian Piñera and Volunteers
Secretary Clinton "Wheels Down" in Brasília, Brazil
Secretary Clinton With The Brazilian Ambassador to U.S. and The U.S. Ambassador to Brazil
Deputy Chief of U.S. Embassy Lisa Kubiske Greets Secretary Clinton
Secretary Clinton With Presidente of the Chamber of Deputies Michel Temer and Jose Sarney
Secretary Clinton Meets With Foreign Minister Celso Amorim
Secretary Clinton With Foreign Minister Celso Amorim
Secretary Clinton and and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim Take Part in Signing Ceremony
Secretary Clinton With President Lula and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim
Secretary Clinton With Costa Rican President-elect Laura Chinchilla Miranda
Secretary Clinton With Costa Rica's President Oscar Arias
Secretary Clinton With Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez
Secretary Clinton Meets With Women Entrepreneurs
Secretary Clinton With Women Entrepreneurs in Costa Rica
Secretary Clinton With a Women Entrepreneur in Costa Rica
Secretary Clinton is "Wheels Down" in Guatemala City, Guatemala
Secretary Clinton With Guatemalan Vice President Rafael Espada
Secretary Clinton With Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom
Secretary Clinton Waves With Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom
Secretary Clinton With Central American and Dominican Republic Leaders
Secretary Clinton Signs the Guatemalan Guest Book
A Close-up of Secretary Clinton While Standing for a Photo with Central American and Dominican Republic Leaders

About the Author: Arturo A. Valenzuela serves as the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

I accompanied Secretary Clinton last week on a six-country trip across the Americas. The Secretary's travel had been on the books for some time, but given back-to-back devastating earthquakes first in Haiti on January 12, and then in Chile on February 27, the trip took on an even more poignant dimension. Logging more than 16,000 travel miles in just six days, we were able to show solidarity and unity with our regional partners as we collaborate on relief and recovery efforts.

Our delegation met with officials and civil society representatives from Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Guatemala during the visit. In Chile, we were able to witness first-hand the daunting relief coordination efforts underway. We returned to the United States encouraged by the supportive response from our Latin American neighbors. This trip underscored our common commitments to strengthen effective institutions of democratic governance, ensure the safety of our citizens, and create social and economic opportunities for our peoples. Secretary Clinton reinforced our shared responsibilities and desire to continue working together to deliver tangible, beneficial results to all the citizens of the Americas.

Our first stop in the region was Uruguay, where Secretary Clinton attended President Mujica's inauguration on March 1. It was an opportunity to congratulate President Mujica in person on his election and join Uruguayans in celebration of the country's strong democratic institutions.

We originally planned to spend more time on the ground in Chile, but given the 8.8 quake that had struck less than a week before, we shortened the Santiago visit and added a stop in Argentina. This additional leg was organized in a matter of hours, and we were warmly welcomed by Argentine President Fernandez de Kirchner in Buenos Aires. Secretary Clinton and President Kirchner discussed how the United States and Argentina could further collaborate in Haiti and Chile. The Secretary praised President Kirchner for the impressive work of Argentine doctors and peacekeepers in Haiti. We also discussed Argentina's commitment in the fight against international terrorism and in advancing nuclear non-proliferation.

After a few hours on the ground in Buenos Aires, we flew to Santiago to meet with President Michelle Bachelet and President-elect Sebastian Piñera. It was a great honor to visit my country of birth Chile and stand side-by-side with the resilient Chilean people in their time of need. During her press availability with President Bachelet, Secretary Clinton handed her a satellite phone, one of 25 that she brought on her plane. This was an advance deposit on additional assistance the United States has committed to Chile, including a mobile field hospital, water purification units, electrical generators, medical supplies, and the use of C-130 aircraft to transport humanitarian commodities and other relief supplies to affected areas.

Following the stop in Santiago, we traveled to Brazil to meet with President Lula and Foreign Minister Amorim. One of the highlights of the trip was the Secretary's “townterview” -- a combined interview and townhall before a largely student audience in Sao Paolo. Secretary Clinton emphasized the importance of creating opportunities for Afro-Brazilians. While Afro-Brazilians make up more than 50 percent of the Brazilian population, they remain underrepresented in Brazilian business and government, a historical reality that President Lula's government is working to overcome. The Secretary answered a variety of questions from the moderator, the live audience, and Brazilians who tuned in online for the livestream. She touched on regional collaboration, Brazil as a global power, the advancement of women and investments by U.S. companies in Brazil to help Brazilian students learn English.

We next traveled to Costa Rica, where the Secretary participated in the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas Ministerial Meeting. Pathways is about making sure that policies promoting economic growth benefit all our citizens -- not just an elite few. Speaking before ministers from the Western Hemisphere, Secretary Clinton emphasized our common strengths as neighbors, partners and friends to ensure economic opportunities for all citizens of the Americas. On display at this meeting were the notable contributions of small and medium-sized business leaders, and especially female entrepreneurs, within their local communities. Secretary Clinton also met with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and President-elect Laura Chinchilla to discuss their views of the challenges their Central American countries face in achieving growth and prosperity with equity.

On our last stop in Guatemala, Secretary Clinton met with Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom, Salvadoran President Funes, Costa Rican President Arias, Hondurans President Lobo, Dominican President Fernandez, and Belizean Prime Minister Barrow, where they discussed our joint counternarcotics efforts in the region. The Secretary reiterated the United States' shared responsibility in this battle, as the demand that fuels narcotics trafficking in large part comes from our country. We also discussed our common commitment to strengthening Central American integration and promote stronger states capable of fostering greater growth through the private sector like addressing problems of social exclusion.

This was a non-stop trip, led by our tireless Secretary. We are focused on actively listening to and working closely together with our regional partners to expand opportunities for our citizens. Perhaps most importantly, we were able to underscore our continued engagement in Latin America, especially at a time when we are working together to help two critical partners, Haiti and Chile, get back on their feet following two devastating earthquakes.

For a recap of Secretary Clinton's meetings and remarks, please visit DipNote. I also welcome your comments and impressions on Twitter Twitter.



Maryland, USA
March 15, 2010

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hello Again, Ast-Secretary Arturo Valenzuela & Secretary Hillary C. :)

Nice to see some new photos of Your trip to the Americas. I like the photos of some of the Pathways to Prosperity Supporters and their Friends.Everone looked like they enjoyed, having you all as guests in their countries..:)

Thanks for writing-in with the updates of your trip.

See_Ya... Arturo & Hillary...:)

South Korea
March 16, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Makes a motion. Also the experience is insufficient, the reform does but rather only counter result to appear, the citizens disrupts, But, thinks that conscience of strong will and confidence and dialogs with the features which endeavors there is a charm which is human.


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