Assistant Secretary Valenzuela gave a detailed description of Secretary Clinton´s trip to Latin America
Before Mrs. Clinton´s trip to Latin America, the Undersecretary Arturo Valenzuela pointed out that the Obama Administration is working on a three “baskets” of bilateral issues. The first basket is competitiveness and on issues of social equity and social justice. The second basket is issues of public security looking for collaborative work with the hemisphere on organized crime and also the counterdrug effort. The third basket is democratic governance. The trip will begin in Uruguay on March 1 with the inauguration of President José Mujica.
In Uruguay Mrs Clinton will then have a bilateral meeting with the president of Argentina, and so that will be held on the afternoon of March 1st. Among other issues they will talk about issues like Iran and terrorism. The U.S. is satisfied with the votes that the Argentines have taken in the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran. And U.S. is also pleased with the Argentine position on international terrorism.
From Uruguay, Miss Clinton and Under Secretary Valenzuela will travel to Santiago de Chile. There, Secretary Clinton will be meeting with President Bachelet the next day (March 2nd.), and then there will be a bilateral meeting with the president-elect Sebastian Piñera, who takes office on the 11th of March.
From Chile, the Secretary will travel to Brazil. She will have meetings with President Lula, with the Foreign Minister Amorim in Brasilia, and then travel to Sao Paulo where she will be visiting certain activities in Sao Paulo, particularly an Afro Brazilian university in Brazil. With Lula, Mrs. Clinton will talk about Brazil and the trip of President Lula to Iran.
Then from there, the Secretary travels to Costa Rica for the Pathways for Prosperity meeting, which is a ministerial meeting . She has expanded this initiative including such things as micro credit, ways to empower women. It all fits in within the theme of encouraging private-public partnerships in the search for greater competitiveness and to address issues of social inclusion. Issues like corporate social responsibility, for example, are also on the table.
She will then, on that same day, have a bilateral meeting with President Arias, who is also leaving office, and will be meeting with the president-elect of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla.
And then finally on the final day of her trip, which will be next Friday, she will travel to Guatemala and meet with President Colom in Guatemala, at the same time, with several of the other presidents of the Central American countries, including President Lobo of Honduras, President Funes of El Salvador. President Fernandez is coming from Dominican Republic as well. President Arias will also attend. The Honduran situation will be discussed. At this particular point, U.S. have been taken steps to move ahead to restore Honduras to the inter-American system and to fully restore the democratic and constitutional order in Honduras.
Mr. Valenzuela said that in the 19th century, the United States did support the countries of Latin America against the colonial powers when they were trying to re-impose colonial rule in the region. That was the famous Monroe Doctrine, which objective was to have the European power stay out of the region.
There were – the period of big diplomacy was a very difficult period where the United States actually occupied several of the countries in the region. And then Mr. Valenzuela mentioned the Good Neighbor Policy under Franklin Roosevelt and then the difficult period during the Cold War.
In regard to the Cancun Summit, Mr. Valenzuela believes that the Summit does not mean that Latin America is abandoning the OAS, which is a qualitatively a different kind of institution. It’s one based on treaties. It’s one based on broad agreements like the Inter-American Charter, the Inter-American Human Rights Convention, and other treaties. The Assistant Secretary Valenzuela underlined the fact that the relation U.S.-Latin America is strong, he pointed out the investment flows, cultural flows, the flows of people, the remittances – $50 to $70 billion in remittances from the United States to the countries of Latin America- which all show the enormous integration of The Americas. He stretched the important role that Latin American immigrants have played in the United States, and in forging greater bonds between the countries. He said that it is positive to the U.S. that Latin America engaged with the rest of the world – this is why the Chileans have been so successful, said Valenzuela. The Chileans have like 57 free trade agreements with countries across the world, and their economy has grown enormously and they’ve reduced since 1990 poverty rates from 40 percent to 12 percent. It’s an engagement with the world which we welcome, said Valenzuela.