News / USA

    Obama Proposes New Equal Partnership for the Americas

    President Barack Obama speaks at the La Moneda Palace in Santiago, Chile,  March 21, 2011
    President Barack Obama speaks at the La Moneda Palace in Santiago, Chile, March 21, 2011

    Multimedia

    President Barack Obama has challenged the people of Latin America to work with the United States to build a future marked by equal partnership, shared responsibility for economic progress, and support for democracy and human rights.  The president spoke Monday in Santiago, Chile, the second stop of a three-nation Latin America tour.

    Mr. Obama spoke in a country he says has become a regional and global leader, and which, during the last 13 months, experienced a devastating earthquake and tsunami, a major political transition, and the triumphant rescue of 33 trapped copper miners.

    Mr. Obama is the first U.S. president in nearly 20 years to make a bilateral visit to Chile.  His speech drew comparisons to one he delivered in Cairo in 2009 in which he proposed a new relationship with the Muslim world.

    President Obama spoke at Santiago's Palacio de La Moneda Cultural Center with Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, three former Chilean presidents and diplomats from the region looking on.

    Chile, he said, is but one example of how democracy has flourished in virtually all of Latin America.

    "Across the region, we see vibrant democracies - from Mexico to Chile to Costa Rica," said President Obama. "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 has been made here in the Americas."

    "From Guadalajara to Santiago to Sao Paulo," Mr. Obama said, Latin American countries have lifted millions from poverty, while making tough but needed reforms, creating a new and more demanding middle class and contributing to global prosperity and security.

    Calling Latin America more important than ever to the prosperity and security of the United States, the president spoke of a new vision for the Americas.

    "Security for our citizens," said Obama. "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 and around the world."

    Despite progress, Mr. Obama also spoke about what he called "enduring stark inequalities" and other realities that leaders in the region need to face.

    "Political and economic power that is too often concentrated in the hands of the few, instead of serving the many," he said. "In the corruption that stifles economic growth, development, innovation and entrepreneurship.  And in leaders who cling to bankrupt ideologies to justify their own power and who seek to silence their opponents because they have the audacity to demand their universal rights."

    In a joint news conference, President Obama and President Pinera detailed new partnerships and agreements in areas ranging from renewable energy to expanded educational  and student exchanges.

    Mr. Obama praised Chilean leadership in the Americas, including in Haiti, and globally, including its participation in the Nuclear Security Summit hosted in Washington last year, and in a developing Trans-Pacific Partnership trade zone.

    Responding to a reporter's question, President Obama said the United States stands ready to consider Chilean requests for information needed to investigate "past wounds" from the era of dictatorships.

    "I think it’s very important for all of us to know our history," said Obama. "And obviously, the history of relations between the United States and Latin America have at times been extremely rocky and have at times been difficult.  I think it’s important, though, for us, even as we understand our history and gain clarity about our history, that we’re not trapped by our history."

    The president stressed that human rights and democracy need to be defended within countries and across the hemisphere, and said the Cuban government needs to respond to calls to improve its record.

    "Going forward, we will 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," he said. "I will make this effort to try to break out of this history that has now lasted for longer than I have been alive.  But Cuban authorities must take some meaningful actions to respect the basic rights of their own people - not because the United States insists on it, but because the people of Cuba deserve it."

    Mr. Obama also spoke of an event in Chile that held the attention of the world last year - the successful rescue of 33 miners.

    That "global moment," he said, represented the capacity of people to meet challenges.  And he connected it with the determination of people in the Americas to achieve their goals.

    "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," said Obama. "This is our vision of the Americas.  This is the progress we can achieve together.  And this is the spirit of partnership and equality to which the United States of America is committed."

    President Obama departs Chile Tuesday morning for El Salvador - the final stop on his five day Latin America tour.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora