are all Americans
for the formalities at the beginning and end, this is the US
president's speech made in Santiago, Chile on March 21:
our history, this land has been called "el fin de la tierra"
--- the end of the world. But I've come here today because in the
21st century this nation is a vital part of our interconnected world.
In an age when peoples are intertwined like never before, Chile shows
that we need not be divided by race or religion or ethnic conflict.
You've welcomed immigrants from every corner of the globe, even as
you celebrate a proud indigenous heritage.
a time when people around the world are reaching for their freedoms,
Chile shows that, yes, it is possible to transition from dictatorship
to democracy --- and to do so peacefully. Indeed, our marvelous
surroundings today, just steps from where Chile lost its democracy
decades ago, is a testament to Chile's progress and its undying
barriers of distance and geography, you've integrated Chile into the
global economy, trading with countries all over the world and, in
this Internet age, becoming the most digitally connected country in
in a world of sometimes wrenching pain --- as we're seeing today in
Japan --- it is the character of this country that inspires. "Our
original guiding stars," said Pablo Neruda, "are struggle
and hope." But, he added, "there is no such thing as a lone
struggle, no such thing as a lone hope." The Chilean people have
shown this time and again, including your recovery from the terrible
earthquake here one year ago.
for Chile's success belongs to the Chilean people, whose courage,
sacrifices and perseverance built this nation into the leader that it
is. And we are very honored to be joined today by four leaders who
have guided this nation through years of great progress ---
Presidents Aylwin, Frei, Lagos, and of course your current President
Piñera. Thank you all, to the former Presidents, for being here, as
well as President Piñera.
I could not imagine a more fitting place to discuss the new era of
partnership that the United States is pursuing not only with Chile,
but across the Americas. And I'm grateful that we're joined by
leaders and members of the diplomatic corps from across the region.
my first 100 days in office, one of my first foreign trips as
President, I traveled to Trinidad and Tobago to meet with leaders
from across the hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas. And there,
I pledged to seek partnerships of equality and shared responsibility,
based on mutual interest and mutual respect, but also on shared
I know I'm not the first president from the United States to pledge a
new spirit of partnership with our Latin American neighbors. Words
are easy, and I know that there have been times where perhaps the
United States took this region for granted.
now, I know our headlines are often dominated by events in other
parts of the world. But let's never forget: Every day, the future is
being forged by the countries and peoples of Latin America. For Latin
America is not the old stereotype of a region of --- in perpetual
conflict or trapped in endless cycles of poverty. The world must now
recognize Latin America for the dynamic and growing region that it
America is at peace. Civil wars have ended. Insurgencies have been
pushed back. Old border disputes have been resolved. In Colombia,
great sacrifices by citizens and security forces have restored a
level of security not seen in decades.
just as old conflicts have receded, so too have the ideological
battles that often fueled them --- the old stale debates between
state-run economies and unbridled capitalism; between the abuses of
right-wing paramilitaries and left-wing insurgents; between those who
believe that the United States causes all the region's problems and
those who believe that the United States ignores all the problems.
Those are false choices, and they don't reflect today's realities.
Latin America is democratic. Virtually all the people of Latin
America have gone from living under dictatorships to living in
democracies. Across the region, we see vibrant democracies, from
Mexico to Chile to Costa Rica. We've seen historic peaceful transfers
of power, from El Salvador to Uruguay to Paraguay. The work of
perfecting our democracies, of course, is never truly done, but this
is the outstanding progress that's been made here in the Americas.
Latin America is growing. Having made tough but necessary reforms,
nations like Peru and Brazil are seeing impressive growth. As a
result, Latin America weathered the global economic downturn better
than other regions. Across the region, tens of millions of people
have been lifted from extreme poverty. From Guadalajara to Santiago
to Sao Paolo, a new middle class is demanding more of themselves and
more of their governments.
America is coming together to address shared challenges. Chile,
Colombia and Mexico are sharing their expertise in security with
nations in Central America. When a coup in Honduras threatened
democratic progress, the nations of the hemisphere unanimously
invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter, helping to lay the
foundation for the return to the rule of law. The contributions of
Latin American countries have been critical in Haiti, as has Latin
American diplomacy in the lead up to yesterday's election in Haiti.
increasingly, Latin America is contributing to global prosperity and
security. As longtime contributors to United Nations peacekeeping
missions, Latin American nations have helped to prevent conflicts
from Africa to Asia. At the G20, nations like Mexico, Brazil,
Argentina now have a greater voice in global economic
decision-making. Under Mexican leadership, the world made progress at
Cancun in our efforts to combat climate change. Nations like Chile
have played a leading role in strengthening civil society groups
around the world.
this is the Latin America that I see today --- a region on the move,
proud of its progress, and ready to assume a greater role in world
affairs. And for all these reasons, I believe that Latin America is
more important to the prosperity and security of the United States
than ever before. With no other region does the United States have so
many connections. And nowhere do we see that more than in the tens of
millions of Hispanic Americans across the United States, who enrich
our society, grow our economy and strengthen our nation every single
I believe Latin America is only going to become more important to the
United States, especially to our economy. Trade between the United
States and Latin America has surged. We buy more of your products,
more of your goods than any other country, and we invest more in this
region than any other country.
instance, we export more than three times as much to Latin America as
we do to China. Our exports to this region --- which are growing
faster than our exports to the rest of the world --- will soon
support more than 2 million US jobs. In other words, when Latin
America is more prosperous, the United States is more prosperous.
even more than interests, we're bound by shared values. In each
other's journey we see reflections of our own. Colonists who broke
free from empires. Pioneers who opened new frontiers. Citizens who
have struggled to expand our nations' promise to all people --- men
and women, white, black and brown. We're people of faith who must
remember that all of us --- especially the most fortunate among us
--- must do our part, especially for the least among us. We're
citizens who know that ensuring that democracies deliver for our
people must be the work of all.
is our common history. This is our common heritage. We are all
Americans. Todos somos Americanos.
the Americas, parents want their children to be able to run and play
and know that they'll come home safely. Young people all desperately
want an education. Fathers want the dignity that comes from work, and
women want the same opportunities as their husbands. Entrepreneurs
want the chance to start that new business. And people everywhere
want to be treated with the respect to which every human being is
entitled. These are the hopes --- simple yet profound --- that beat
in the hearts of millions across the Americas.
if we're honest, we'll also admit that that these dreams are still
beyond the reach of too many; that progress in the Americas has not
come fast enough. Not for the millions who endure the injustice of
extreme poverty. Not for the children in shantytowns and the favelas
who just want the same chance as everybody else. Not for the
communities that are caught in the brutal grips of cartels and gangs,
where the police are outgunned and too many people live in fear.
despite this region's democratic progress, stark inequalities endure.
In political and economic power that is too often concentrated in the
hands of the few, instead of serving the many. In the corruption that
too often still stifles economic growth and development, innovation
and entrepreneurship. And in some leaders who cling to bankrupt
ideologies to justify their own power and who seek to silence their
opponents because those opponents have the audacity to demand their
universal rights. These, too, are realities that we must face.
course, we are not the first generation to face these challenges.
Fifty years ago this month, President John F. Kennedy proposed an
ambitious Alliance for Progress. It was, even by today's standards, a
massive investment --- billions of US dollars to meet the basic needs
of people across the region. Such a program was right --- it was
appropriate for that era. But the realities of our time --- and the
new capabilities and confidence of Latin America --- demand something
Kennedy's challenge endures --- "to build a hemisphere where all
people can hope for a sustainable, suitable standard of living, and
all can live out their lives in dignity and in freedom." But
half a century later, we must give meaning to this work in our own
way, in a new way.
believe that in the Americas today, there are no senior partners and
there are no junior partners, there are only equal partners. Of
course, equal partnerships, in turn, demands a sense of shared
responsibility. We have obligations to each other. And today, the
United States is working with the nations of this hemisphere to meet
our responsibilities in several key areas.
we're partnering to address the concerns that people across the
Americas say they worry about the most --- and that's the security of
their families and communities. Criminal gangs and narco-traffickers
are not only a threat to the security of our citizens. They're a
threat to development, because they scare away investment that
economies need to prosper. And they are a direct threat to democracy,
because they fuel the corruption that rots institutions from within.
with our partners from Colombia to Mexico and new regional
initiatives in Central America and the Caribbean, we're confronting
this challenge, together, from every direction. We've increased our
support --- the equipment, training and technologies --- that
security forces, border security and police need to keep communities
safe. We're improving coordination and sharing more information so
that those who traffic in drugs and in human beings have fewer places
to hide. And we're putting unprecedented pressure on cartel finances,
including in the United States.
we'll never break the grip of the cartels and the gangs unless we
also address the social and economic forces that fuel criminality. We
need to reach at-risk youth before they turn to drugs and crime. So
we're joining with partners across the Americas to expand
community-based policing, strengthen juvenile justice systems, and
invest in crime and drug prevention programs.
the nations of Central American develop a new regional security
strategy, the United States stands ready to do our part through a new
partnership that puts the focus where it should be --- on the
security of citizens. And with regional and international partners,
we'll make sure our support is not just well-intentioned, but is
well-coordinated and well-spent.
said before and I will repeat, as President I've made it clear that
the United States shares and accepts our share of responsibility for
drug violence. After all, the demand for drugs, including in the
United States, drives this crisis. And that's why we've developed a
new drug control strategy that focused on reducing the demand for
drugs through education and prevention and treatment. And I would
point out that even during difficult fiscal times in the United
States, we've proposed increasing our commitment to these efforts by
some $10 billion this year alone.
also doing more to stem the southbound flow of guns into the region.
We're screening all southbound rail cargo. We're seizing many more
guns bound for Mexico and we're putting more gunrunners behind bars.
And every gun or gunrunner that we take off the streets is one less
threat to the families and communities of the Americas.
we work to ensure the security of our citizens, we're partnering in a
second area --- and that's promoting prosperity and opportunity. I've
been so impressed with President Piñera's pledge to lift everyone
out of extreme poverty by 2020. That's an ambitious goal and an
appropriate goal. And with this trip, I'm working to expand some of
the trade and investment that might help achieve this goal.
the region, we're moving ahead with "open skies" agreements
to bring our people and businesses closer together. We're moving
forward with our Trans-Pacific Partnership --- which includes Chile
and Peru --- to create new trade opportunities in the fast-growing
markets of the Asia-Pacific. And as I've directed, my administration
has intensified our efforts to move forward on trade agreements with
Panama and Colombia, consistent with our values and with our
also encouraging the next generation of businesses and entrepreneurs.
So we'll work with the Inter-American Development bank to increase
lending. We've expanded credit under a new Microfinance Growth Fund
for the Americas. We're supporting reforms to tax systems, which are
critical for economic growth and public investment. We're creating
new "Pathways to Prosperity" --- microcredit,
entrepreneurship training --- for those who must share in economic
growth, including women and members of Afro-Caribbean and indigenous
we're coming together, as a hemisphere, to create clean energy jobs
and pursue more secure and sustainable energy futures. And if anybody
doubts the urgency of climate change, they look --- they should look
no further than the Americas --- from the stronger storms in the
Caribbean, to glacier melt in the Andes, to the loss of forests and
farmland across the region.
the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas that I proposed,
countries have stepped forward, each providing leadership and
expertise. Brazil has expertise in biofuels. Chile in geothermal.
Mexico on energy efficiency. El Salvador is connecting grids in
Central America to make electricity more reliable. These are exactly
the kind of partnerships that we need --- neighbors joining with
neighbors to unleash the progress that none of us can achieve alone.
the same philosophy behind two additional initiatives that I'm
announcing today, which will help our countries educate and innovate
for the future. First, we're launching a new initiative to harness
the power of social media and online networks to help students,
scientists, academics and entrepreneurs collaborate and develop the
new ideas and products that will keep America --- the Americas
competitive in a global economy.
I'm proud to announce that the United States will work with partners
in this region, including the private sector, to increase the number
of US students studying in Latin America to 100,000, and the number
of Latin America students studying in the United States to 100,000.
competitive also, of course, demands that we address immigration ---
an issue that evokes great passions in the United States as well as
in the Americas. As President, I've made it clear that immigration
strengthens the United States. We are a nation of immigrants, which
is why I have consistently spoken out against anti-immigrant
sentiment. We're also a nation of laws, which is why I will not waver
in my determination to fix our broken immigration system. I'm
committed to comprehensive reform that secures our borders, enforces
our laws and addresses the millions of undocumented workers who are
living in the shadows of the United States.
believe, though, that this challenge will be with us for a very long
time so long as people believe that the only way to provide for their
families is to leave their families and head north.
that's why the United States has to continue to partner with
countries that pursue the broad-based economic growth that gives
people and nations a path out of poverty. And that's what we're
seeing here in Chile. As part of our new approach to development,
we're working with partners, like Guatemala and El Salvador, who are
committed to building their own capacity --- from helping farmers
improve crop yields to helping health care systems to deliver better
leads me to the final area where we must continue to partner, and
that's strengthening democracy and human rights. More than 60 years
ago, our nations came together in an Organization of American States
and declared --- and I quote --- that "representative democracy
is an indispensable condition for the stability, peace and
development of the region." A decade ago, we reaffirmed this
principle, with an Inter-American Democratic Charter that stated ---
and I quote --- "the people of the Americas have a right to
democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and
the Americas, generations, including generations of Chileans, have
struggled and sacrificed to give meaning to these words --- ordinary
men and women who dared to speak their mind; activists who organized
new movements; faith leaders who preached social justice; the mothers
of the disappeared who demanded the truth; political prisoners who
rose to become presidents; and, even now, Las Damas de Blanco, who
march in quiet dignity.
people of the Americas have shown that there is no substitute for
democracy. As governments, we have then an obligation to defend what
has been won. So as we mark the 10th anniversary of the
Inter-American Democratic Charter this year, let's reaffirm the
principles that we know to be true.
recommit to defending democracy and human rights in our own countries
by strengthening the institutions that democracy needs to flourish
--- free and fair elections in which people choose their own leaders;
vibrant legislatures that provide oversight; independent judiciaries
that uphold the rule of law; a free press that promotes open debate;
professional militaries under civilian control; strong civil
societies that hold governments accountable; and governments that are
transparent and responsive to their citizens. This is what makes a
just as we defend democracy and human rights within our borders,
let's recommit to defending them across our hemisphere. I understand,
every nation will follow its own path. No nation should impose its
will on another. But surely we can agree that democracy is about more
than majority rule, that simply holding power does not give a leader
the right to suppress the rights of others, and that leaders must
maintain power through consent, and not coercion. We have to speak
out when we see those principles violated.
never waver in our support for the rights of people to determine
their own future --- and, yes, that includes the people of Cuba.
Since taking office, I've announced the most significant changes to
my nation's policy towards Cuba in decades. I've made it possible for
Cuban Americans to visit and support their families in Cuba. We're
allowing Americans to send remittances that bring some economic hope
for people across Cuba, as well as more independence from Cuban
forward, we'll continue to seek ways to increase the independence of
the Cuban people, who I believe are entitled to the same freedom and
liberty as everyone else in this hemisphere. I will make this effort
to try to break out of this history that's now lasted for longer than
I've been alive.
Cuban authorities must take some meaningful actions to respect the
basic rights of their own people --- not because the United States
insists upon it, but because the people of Cuba deserve it, no less
than the people of the United States or Chile or Brazil or any other
country deserve it.
lessons of Latin America, I believe, can be a guide --- a guide for
people around the world who are beginning their own journeys toward
democracy. There is no one model for democratic transitions. But as
this region knows, successful transitions do have certain
ingredients. The moral force of nonviolence. Dialogue that's open and
inclusive. The protection of basic rights, such as peaceful
expression and assembly. Accountability for past wrongs. And matching
political reform with economic reform, because democracy must meet
the basic needs and aspirations of people.
decades of experience, there's so much Latin America can now share
--- how to build political parties and organize free elections; how
to ensure peaceful transfers of power; how to navigate the winding
paths of reform and reconciliation. And when the inevitable setbacks
occur, you can remind people to never lose sight of those guiding
stars of which Pablo Neruda spoke --- struggle, but also hope.
for our citizens. Trade and development that creates jobs, prosperity
and a clean energy future. Standing up for democracy and human
rights. These are the partnerships that we can forge together ---
here in the Americas but also around the world. And if anyone doubts
whether this region has the capacity to meet these challenges, they
need to only remember what happened here in Chile only a few months
resolve and faith inspired the world --- "Los Treinta y Tres."
I don't need to tell you the story. You know it well. But it's worth
remembering how this entire nation came together, across government,
civilian and military, national and local; across the private sector,
with large companies and small shopkeepers donating supplies; and
across every segment of Chilean society, people came together to
sustain those men down below and their families up at Camp Esperanza.
It was a miraculous rescue. It was a tribute to Chilean leadership.
And when, finally, Luis Urzua emerged, he spoke for an entire nation
when he said, "I am proud to be Chilean."
something else happened in those two months. The people and
governments of Latin America came together to stand with a neighbor
in need. And with a Latin American country in the lead, the world was
proud to play a supporting role --- sending workers from the United
States and Canada, rescue equipment from Europe, communications gear
from Asia. And as the miners were lifted to safety, for those joyous
reunions, it was a truly global movement, watched and celebrated by
more than a billion people.
ever we needed a reminder of the humanity and the hopes that we
share, that moment in the desert was such. When a country like Chile
puts its mind to it, there's nothing you can't do. When countries
across Latin America come together and focus on a common goal, when
the United States and others in the world do our part, there's
nothing we can't accomplish together.
that is our vision of the Americas. This is the progress we can
achieve together. This is the spirit of partnership and equality to
which the United States is committed. I am confident that, working
together, there is nothing we cannot achieve.