Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Speech in Santiago: Obama Talks “New Era of Partnership”

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 22, 2011

by Carin Zissis for Americas Society / Council of the Americas, March 21st, 2011.

Fifty years after John F. Kennedy unveiled the “Alliance for Progress,” U.S. President Barack Obama invoked its memory during a speech in Santiago. While Kennedy’s 1961 program involved aid for development in Latin America, Obama’s March 21 speech from La Moneda Palace called it “a region on the move, proud of its progress, and ready to assume a greater role in world affairs.” The president called for a “new era of partnership” with Latin America and outlined a broad range of areas for cooperation—from energy to education to security. “With no other region does the United States have so many connections,” said Obama. “We are all Americans. Todos somos americanos.”

“So this time the dialogue is more symmetrical,” write Chilean co-founders of Jóvenes Líderes in an AQ blog post about Obama’s Santiago visit and address about the Americas. In an address expected to be of regional importance along the lines of the 2009 remarks he delivered in Cairo, Obama focused on education and innovation, promising two new initiatives. One will bring 100,000 Latin American students to the United States in an exchange program that involves the same number of U.S. students in Latin America. The second will “harness the power of social media and online networks to help students, scientists, academics, and entrepreneurs collaborate.”

Obama’s address also reflected on topics discussed with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. The two leaders spoke earlier in the day of efforts to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade alliance under negotations and involving nine countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam). Obama noted that the bilateral U.S.-Chilean free-trade pact has led to more than a doubling of trade between the two countries and announce that intellectual property rights would be included in that accord. He congratulated Chile on its economic and democratic progress. (continue reading… )

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