Obama Pens Op-Ed Teeing up the Summit of the Americas

Apr 16, 2009 10:49am

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: In advance of traveling to Trinidad and Tobago for the Summit of the Americas this weekend, President Obama has penned an op-ed, running in fourteen papers in the region, translated into Spanish and Portuguese.  At the top, Obama makes note of the United States’ failure in the past to engage neighboring countries fully and calls for a renewal of partnerships. “We have been too easily distracted by other priorities, and have failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas. My administration is committed to the promise of a new day. We will renew and sustain a broader partnership between the United States and the hemisphere on behalf of our common prosperity and our common security.” Teeing up the goals of the two-day Summit of the Americas in the Port of Spain, the president calls for collective action on the economy. “The United States is working to advance prosperity in the hemisphere by jumpstarting our own recovery. In doing so, we will help spur trade, investment, remittances, and tourism that provides a broader base for prosperity in the hemisphere.” The president adds that part of laying the foundation for long-term prosperity is to confront the challenge of climate change and renewable energy, which administration aides say is a top priority for President Obama to discuss at the summit. “Together, we have both the responsibility to act, and the opportunity to leave behind a legacy of greater prosperity and security. That is why I look forward to pursuing a new Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas that will help us learn from one another, share technologies, leverage investment, and maximize our comparative advantage," he writes. The president says that too many in the hemisphere are forced to live in fear, and addresses the need to advance common security. “Security for our citizens must be advanced through our commitment to partner with those who are courageously battling drug cartels, gangs and other criminal networks throughout the Americas. Our efforts start at home. By reducing demand for drugs and curtailing the illegal flow of weapons and bulk cash south across our border, we can advance security in the United States and beyond.” The president, who will meet with Mexico’s President Calderon this afternoon and will likely discuss border security, says that going forward, a lasting dialogue in the hemisphere is necessary to adapt to new threats as they come. After a day in Mexico City, President Obama will travel to the Port of Spain on Friday where he will meet with other democratically-elected leaders in the Americas. Some members of the Organization of American States have voiced support for returning Cuba to active membership. “The Summit gives every democratically-elected leader in the Americas the opportunity to reaffirm our shared values,” President Obama writes. “Each of our countries has pursued its own democratic journey, but we must be joined together in our commitment to liberty, equality, and human rights. That is why I look forward to the day when every country in the hemisphere can take its seat at the table consistent with the Inter-American Democratic Charter. And just as the United States seeks that goal in reaching out to the Cuban people, we expect all of our friends in the hemisphere to join together in supporting liberty, equality, and human rights for all Cubans.” Obama also discusses the steps his administration has taken this week to amend Cuba policy in easing travel restrictions to Cuban-Americans. President Obama’s op-ed ran in the Trinidad Express, St. Petersburg Times, Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, La Naci (Argentina), O Globo (Brazil), El Mercurio (Chile), El Tiempo (Colombia), La Naci (Costa Rica), El Comercio (Ecuador), El Universal (Mexico), El Comercio (Peru), El Nuevo Dia (Puerto Rico), El Paz (Uruguay) and El Nacional (Venezuela). — Sunlen Miller

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