At his first Summit of the Americas in 2009, President Barack Obama promised a new chapter of engagement in Latin America based on equal partnerships to address shared challenges.
The United States is pursuing this commitment through enhanced and sustained engagement in the Americas on priorities that impact all of our hemisphere’s citizens. President Obama has proposed $1 billion to help the people of Central America strengthen governance, improve security, and provide economic opportunities.
The United States is also partnering with countries across the region to develop clean, more affordable and reliable energy. The 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative is working to achieve 100,000 student exchanges from the United States to the region and 100,000 exchanges from the region to the United States by 2020.
This engagement extends to all countries of the Americas. The United States, said President Obama in his remarks at the 2015 Summit of the Americas, “is looking to the future and to policies that improve the lives of the Cuban people and advance the interests of cooperation in the hemisphere.” At the same time, the United States will continue to speak out on behalf of the universal human rights of the Cuban people.
The relationship between the United States and the Americas, said President Obama, is as good as it has ever been. But there is room for additional progress.
First, it is critical to uphold and ensure the full implementation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which states that “the peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy.”
“I believe,” said President Obama, “our governments, together have an obligation to uphold the universal freedoms and rights of all our citizens.”
Second, the countries of the hemisphere have to focus on reigniting economic growth. That means harmonizing regulations, encouraging good governance that attracts investment, and investing in infrastructure.
Third, the Americas must invest in clean energy that creates jobs and combats climate change.
And finally, the Americas must stand united in ensuring security for all its citizens. Countries must promote a holistic approach that respects the rule of law, roots out corruption, promotes and respects human rights, and combats narco-traffickers.
The United States, said President Obama, is interested in working collectively to solve problems in the hemisphere. That’s why the United States will continue to invest in lasting partnerships of mutual interest and respect with the region’s government and civil society.