Posts Tagged ‘Summit of the Americas’

Beginning with a brief history of U.S. Latin American policy from the Cold War to the current administration, Hillary

A.  Cites Clinton administration initiatives:

  1. The first Summit of the Americas in 1994,
  2. The successful anti-narcotrafficking and anti-guerrilla Plan Colombia,
  3. The restoration of the democratically elected Bertrand Aristede to his post in Haiti;

B. Credits the George W. Bush administration for the Merida (anti-drug) initiative and continued support of Plan Colombia, but cites left v. right wing point of view of that  prevented that administration from broadening cooperation with our neighbors to the south;

C. Cites President Obama’s promise, in his April 2009 Summit of the Americas speech, of a new “equal partnership” relationship with the region and a fairer Cuba policy.

She does not mention this encounter with Hugo Chavez at that summit, but the picture is priceless.


She choose Mexico as her starting point to implement the new policy.  She was familiar with the border area from her 1972 campaign experiences there. She and her then campaign colleague Bill Clinton had gone south of the border to a beach on a recovery vacation  after the election.


She had fond memories of Mexico, but attacks on consulates in 2008 and 2010, the last with murders involved, indicated the dangers civil servants faced. Her first trip to Mexico as secretary of state was in March 2009.  Patricia Espinosa is one of several strong Latin American women leaders with whom she formed a strong bond.

Hillary Clinton in Mexico with Women Leaders and Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa

She doesn’t mention this but I shall.  She surprised the rector at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe with an unscheduled visit the morning of her second day there.  He was delighted.  That day she also held a round table with indigenous students from community colleges, visited an industrial plant, and then gave the speech in Monterrey at TecMilenio University that she does refer to in her book.  It was a spectacular two days that we celebrated here.

Hillary Clinton in Mexico Day 2

This was the Mexico visit she refers to when President Calderon was furious over the wikileaks and demanded that Ambassador Pascual be replaced – said he could no longer work with him.  She states that Pascual resigned in March 2011.  If anyone tries to tell you that wikileaks caused no damage, be skeptical.  This was only the tip of a very large and damaging iceberg.  Thank heaven Hillary had a great relationship with Patricia Espinosa and with the Mexican people.

Hillary Clinton in Mexico

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa

Secretary Clinton’s Interview With Denise Maerker of Televisa

Secretary Clinton’s Interview With Rossana Fuentes of CNN en Espanol


As a model for Mexico, she suggests Colombia and reviews the Clinton administration effort called Plan Colombia, a joint effort of her husband’s administration with then President Pastrana.  The initiative continued and expanded under the Bush administration, but human rights issues arose.  The Obama administration continued the plan but with additional work on governance, education, and development.

Her first visit to Colombia as secretary of state happened to coincide with a visit Bill Clinton was making there.  It was the first time they were together on foreign soil since she had assumed her post.  They actually managed a dinner date and a peaceful evening walk through Bogota.  She remarks on the contrast with the violence of the past.

Bill and Hillary Clinton: The Tryst

In her meeting with President Uribe the following day he also comments upon the dramatic security progress in the capital.

Secretary Clinton’s Joint Press Availability with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe

This morning, I was saying to some members of the media that were here (inaudible) that the best PR for confidence in Colombia is that last night, the Madam Secretary of State of the United States and the president, Bill Clinton, were in a restaurant in Bogota with complete peace of mind enjoying this beautiful city and its good restaurants. Some years ago, because of terrorism, this would have been unthinkable. Your visit, the fact that you spent the night in Bogota, the frequent visits by President Clinton, those are a great show of confidence in Colombia and the fact that one can have confidence in Colombia.


Uribe was near the end of his term at this point.  His successor, Juan Manuel Santos continued the progress and improvement continues, she states.

Hillary attended the presidential inauguration in El Salvador in June 2009 that dovetailed with the Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial Summit.



Hillary Clinton at the Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial in El Salvador

Hillary Clinton Op-Ed: New Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas

A model  she suggests for conquering poverty in Latin America is Brazil’s conditional cash tranfer programs.  Dating back to the 1990s under President Cardoso and expanded by President Lula da Silva, it transfers cash to parents as a reward for keeping children in school and under proper pediatric supervision.  Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff was inaugurated on January 1, 2011, and Hillary was happy to be there there.

Secretary Clinton at the Inauguration of Dilma Rousseff

She encountered Chavez there again.

She departed El Salvador for Honduras where she attended CARICOM and the OAS Summit.

Hillary Clinton at CARICOM Breakfast

There was suspense and high drama at the June 2009 OAS summit.  Several members intended to put forth a resolution to readmit Cuba.  The proponents were the predictable suspects, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, and Mel Zelaya of Honduras was also leaning that way.  More moderate countries like Chile and Brazil were considering approval.  Cuba was not represented at the summit and had expressed no interest.  The concern was that if a vote was called a simple 2/3 majority could and might approve since Cuba was originally excluded based on outdated Cold War standards.

The U.S. strategy involved updating the standards to focus on democracy and human rights and to require that the petition be presented by the Cuban government rather than by proxy.  There was also a timing issue since Hillary was scheduled to fly to Cairo to attend the much-anticipated speech Obama was to deliver there.

The vote was not called before Hillary had to leave, but the U.S. compromise plan did prevail.  Castro reacted by refusing to petition for readmission.


Press Statement: OAS Resolution

 In December 2009 the Castro regime arrested USAID worker Alan Grossman.  Hillary says one of her biggest regrets is that she was not able to bring him home.  Before leaving office she recommended reassessing the Cuba embargo and shifting the onus to the Cuban government.

In mid-June, (she does not mention this, but I will)  Hillary slipped in the State Department parking garage and fractured her elbow.   I add this because a subsequent  press briefing refers to it.

Hillary’s Fractured Elbow

In late June 2009, just weeks after Hillary had been at OAS in San Pedro Sula, the democratically-elected president of Honduras, Mel Zelaya,  was arrested and put, in his pajamas, on a plane to Costa Rica.  His wife and daughters requested refuge at our embassy residence and Hillary ordered that they be kept safe.  The President of the National Congress Roberto Micheletti, assumed power.  U.S. aid was suspended (by law) as was OAS membership.

Hillary Clinton: Situation in Honduras

Here she spoke at length about the coup in Honduras.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is seen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington

Hillary Clinton’s Press Briefing After Breaking Her Elbow

On July 7, Zelaya made his way to D.C. and visited Hillary at the State Department.  She had recruited Costa Rica’s President Óscar Arias to mediate.  Zeleya accepted mediation and from that point all that came before was wiped clean.  It was a new playing field.  Hillary stipulates that she made the announcement alone so as not to appear to Micheletti as if Zelaya was being favored.


Hillary Clinton: Remarks at the Top of the Daily Press Briefing

Zelaya remained in exile.  Arias was encountering a hard line on both sides and was in favor of restoring Zelaya to power based on principles.   Allowing the de facto government to stay would, he said,  have a domino effect across the region.

In September, Zelaya returned to the State Department.  There were no remarks or press briefings, only this photo.  Immediately afterwards he turned up at the Brazilian Embassy in San Pedro Sula.

At the end of October a unity agreement was in place.  The Honduran Congress voted not to restore Zelaya.  He went to the Dominican Republic.  November elections were held and Porfirio Lobo was elected.  Many OAS countries disagreed with this solution, but in May 2011 Honduras was readmitted.

Hillary Clinton Hails Return of Honduras to OAS


It was, Hillary notes, the first time in Central American history that a coup was resolved democratically.  She concludes that the trend in Latin American is toward democracy, shared opportunities, positive partnerships, and innovation.


Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>


Read Full Post »

While Secretary Clinton kicked back (deservedly) at a salsa bar ironically named “Havana,”  word here was that this might be the last time the U.S. participates in the Summit of the Americas due to disagreement among member nations over the inclusion of Cuba.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Read Full Post »

Public Schedule for April 15, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
April 15, 2012



Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel in Cartagena, Colombia. Secretary Clinton is accompanied by Under Secretary Otero, Assistant Secretary Fernandez, Assistant Secretary Jacobson, Ambassador Marshall, Ambassador Pascual, Ambassador Verveer, Spokesperson Nuland, and Director Sullivan. Please click here for more information.

AM – PM LOCAL Secretary Clinton joins President Obama for events in Cartagena, Colombia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Remarks at the Summit of the Americas Civil Society Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Cartagena, Colombia
April 13, 2012


SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. It is wonderful to be here for this social forum, and I want to thank President Santos for that excellent speech that covered so many of the important issues that are facing the Americas. And I also wish to thank Maria Angela for the excellent work and the great collegiality as a foreign minister, and all of my colleagues as foreign ministers, and a special warm welcome to President Morales. He and I were born on the same day, and I am delighted that he is here to give the closing address.

I think we just heard a comprehensive review of many of the issues that are confronting us in this hemisphere. What I am excited about is the progress we are making and the vision that we have that will drive that progress further. I remember when the first Summit of the Americas was held. My husband hosted it in Miami. It was 18 years ago. It was like a hundred years ago, because the entire political, cultural, economic landscape of the Americas has changed in those short 18 years. Just look around you. This forum is a great tribute to that change.

When I think of the challenges that we face – how to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, reduce crime and inequality, advance the lives of indigenous people, of women and girls – it is clear that government alone never could and never would do that without the strong support and partnership of civil society.

I’ve often said that a democratic society is like a three-legged stool. One leg must be responsible, accountable government. The second leg must be a private sector that creates jobs and opportunities for people. And the third leg must be a robust civil society that speaks up on behalf of those who may not be able to speak for themselves – those living in poverty, those working without the protections of good conditions for their labor, those who are lacking social status or education. If one of those legs – government, economy, civil society – is too short or is cut off, the stool collapses.

So the activists and the advocates that you have heard from have the most important voices at this summit. And when discrimination, poverty, inequality stifle those voices, then we need civil society more than ever.

Now, I will certainly say that sometimes these conversations are not easy. Certainly change does not happen as quickly as many of us wish. But you can see the slow, steady movement here in this hemisphere: more people living under governments they have elected, more people breaking the bonds of extreme poverty, more people seeing their children be educated and attain positions in society that they could only have dreamed of.

So the United States considers our partnerships with civil society critical. And we are actually running a dialogue with civil society around the world. We’ve also launched the Open Government Partnership, and on Tuesday I will join President Rousseff in Brasilia to host the next meeting of this Partnership, which includes Colombia and 14 other countries in our hemisphere. We want all governments here – but around the world – to improve citizen security, to end impunity, to strengthen human rights, and expand economic opportunity.

We are particularly focused on discrimination and intolerance. Now, these are issues my own country has certainly addressed. And when I came in, I heard someone talking about the Afro Latino. Well, we now have an Afro American president. And we’ve seen what that symbolizes, but we also know our work is not yet done. (Applause.)

So we are partnering with countries like Colombia and Brazil to try to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and promote equality. And in preparation for the sixth Summit of the Americas, we have been delighted to support placing these issues of social inclusion, of affected people of African descent, indigenous people, women and youth at the forefront of our preparations. And I am also very pleased that as I walked in, the first presentation I heard was about protecting the rights of the LGBT citizens here in the hemisphere. Thank you for raising that. Thank you for putting it on the agenda. (Applause.)

Here in Colombia, we are proud to be partnering with the government and investing $61 million in helping Colombia’s Afro descendents and indigenous communities. (Applause.)

Our future depends on translating these ideas, these speeches, into concrete actions. So we will do our best – those of us in government here at the summit – to make sure the commitments we make in Cartagena are moved into actions. But we need you in civil society. (Applause.) We need you to remind us, to prod us, sometimes to embarrass us, about keeping those commitments.

I am privileged on behalf of my country now to travel the entire world all the time, and I can tell you that people everywhere – in North Africa, in the Middle East, in Asia, in Sub-Saharan Africa – they want to talk to me about Latin America. They ask me, “How did Latin America do it? How did they make all this progress in such a short period of time?”

Now, for many of you, it may feel like it hasn’t moved as much as you would wish. But if you take a step back and look at what has been accomplished in the last 18, 20 years – consolidating democracy, improving economic opportunity, putting issues of discrimination and exclusion at the center of social discourse and government action – there is a lot that we can say we have accomplished.

But we cannot be satisfied, and we must continue to work toward that day when every single child born in this hemisphere, no matter who his or her parents may be, no matter where he or she may be born, that every single boy and girl has the opportunity and the right to live up to his or her God-given potential. That must be our goal, and we will work with you to achieve it.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: