Fifty years ago in what would be his last foreign policy address, President John F. Kennedy hailed the promise and opportunities that he saw ahead for the Western Hemisphere, a region of independent, democratic nations whose citizens enjoyed their fundamental freedoms.
In a speech November 18, Secretary of State John Kerry told the Organization of American States that thanks to efforts by our regional partners to strengthen democratic institutions, many of Kennedy’s hopes have been fulfilled. Now nations in the Americas seek to cooperate with each other to advance our shared values and address common challenges.
For its part, the U.S. has taken a new direction in its policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean, moving away from the outdated model of the Monroe Doctrine, under which for years we felt empowered to act unilaterally as the “protector" of the region. Today, the inter-American relationship is based on equal partnership and shared responsibilities.
Secretary Kerry challenged the nations of the Western Hemisphere to now work together and make progress on critical issues such as education, economic prosperity, climate change mitigation and regional security. “The vision that we share for our countries is actually within our grasp,” the Secretary said, “but we have to ask ourselves some tough and important questions in order to secure our goal.”
We share in the responsibility to strengthen and develop our democracies; promote social inclusion, well-being and economic growth, and to protect our planet for the next generation.
How will the Americas answer the questions presented at this crossroads? The response will require a renewed inter-American partnership and a spirit of cooperation. We share in the responsibility to strengthen and develop our democracies; promote social inclusion, well-being and economic growth, and to protect our planet for the next generation.
The United States is up to the challenge of working together with the nations of the hemisphere, as equals, to achieve mutual development.