Seizing the Opportunity for Freedom in the Americas

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesperson

For Immediate Release

This is how prosperity is built, how democracies are strengthened. Voters opting for bolder visions. Countries fighting their own internal foes and opening themselves up to new, external relationships.

We cannot miss how momentous this moment is for the hemisphere.”

– U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, April 12, 2019.

 CHILE: A MODEL FOR THE HEMISPHERE:

“Just look at the once-unthinkable changes that have taken place in Chile and other countries. Chile made the transition to democracy peacefully. Chile embraced competition and free markets. Chile championed transparency. Chile is taking a leadership role in regional affairs. Chileans did all that.”

– Secretary Pompeo, April 12, 2019.

  • Thanks to economic liberalization, Chile’s poverty rate has declined more than any other nation in Latin America – from 36% in 2000 to less than 8.6% in 2017.
  • Since the United States and Chile signed a free trade agreement in 2004, bilateral trade has nearly quadrupled.

 THE NEW ERA OF FREEDOM IN SOUTH AMERICA:

A wave of democratization is sweeping this continent, and it’s coupled with anti-corruption movements and a healthy dose of something no nation can live without – common sense.”

– Secretary Pompeo, April 12, 2019.

  • Peru’s commitment to fight public corruption resulted in the Lima Commitment, an agreement that outlined methods to combat corruption in the region, signed during the Summit of the Americas in 2018.
  • In Ecuador, less than a month after taking office in 2017, President Lenín Moreno removed restrictions on the press and welcomed a new, inclusive, national dialogue.
  • Colombian reforms and security measures strengthened institutions in that country, attracted additional foreign investment, and allowed world-class businesses to thrive.
  • In Argentina, President Mauricio Macri’s pro-market reforms have been difficult but necessary. In 2016, Argentina returned to the global credit markets for the first time in 15 years.

 THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS ACTING:

“Some leaders, even as recently as a few years ago, have come here and declared their intentions.

But they were all talk and no action. The Trump Administration won’t make the same mistake.”

Secretary Pompeo, April 12, 2019.

  • President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan are committed to cultivating bilateral relationships, and have traveled extensively throughout Latin America. Secretary Pompeo attended President Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration on New Year’s Day in Brazil, and, on this trip, becomes the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit Paraguay since 1965.
  • When President Bolsonaro visited the White House in March 2019, a major technology safeguard agreement was signed that will allow U.S. companies to conduct commercial space launches from Alcântara, Brazil. The two presidents made a number of trade commitments that will open greater Brazilian market access to American farmers, and President Trump announced his intent to grant Brazil major non-NATO ally status, which confers military and financial advantages to Brazil.
  • In November 2018, the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Agreement was signed in Buenos Aires, updating and modernizing the outdated North America Free Trade Agreement.
  • The Trump Administration’s America Crece program, designed to increase trade and investment in energy and infrastructure throughout the region, also was launched in 2018.

THE U.S. IS A MORE RELIABLE PARTNER THAN CHINA, RUSSIA:

“We have to cement these hemispheric ties and support good trends. Because when we don’t, there’s always the risk of other countries, with less noble intentions, filling the void.”

 Secretary Pompeo, April 12, 2019.

  • In Ecuador, the Coca Codo Sinclair dam was financed and built by China purportedly to solve the country’s energy needs and propel the nation out of poverty. Today, the dam runs at half-capacity, and the steel in the infrastructure is full of cracks. Workers died in preventable accidents, and nearly every top official involved in the dam’s construction has been imprisoned or sentenced on bribery charges.
  • In Venezuela, China bankrolled the Maduro regime by investing $60 billion dollars without oversight. Maduro used the money to pay off his cronies, crack down on the pro-democracy movement, and fund ineffective social programs.
  • In Nicaragua, Russia has opened a police-training center and a satellite compound near the capital in recent years. The citizens of Nicaragua suffer every day at the hands of leadership that engages in blatant human rights abuses and stifles freedom of speech.

OUR SOUTH AMERICAN PARTNERS ARE STEPPING UP:

“We’re seeing democratic countries voluntarily take on more responsibility. They’re stepping up for peace, prosperity, and freedom in the hemisphere.”

– Secretary Pompeo, April 12, 2019.

  • Chile and Colombia helped launch a new regional integration called the Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur) which will facilitate regional cooperation in areas like infrastructure, healthcare, energy, the fight against transnational crime, and management of natural disasters.
  • In March 2019, Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera hosted the first gathering of South American heads of state in five years.
  • The United States, together with 53 other nations, including many hemispheric partners, support the peaceful, constitutional transition of power in Venezuela. The United States is reinforcing Peru’s efforts to coordinate and convene a health ministerial in Lima on April 30, which will focus on improving regional coordination of healthcare, including for displaced Venezuelans and their host communities.