tv National Security Adviser Susan Rice on President Obamas Trip to Cuba CSPAN March 17, 2016 11:30pm-12:10am EDT
affect all americans. they are all aware of the third branch of government. it has become so powerful. issues on voting in marriage and health care and immigration and women's rights. i could go on and on. 30 years ago congress and the executive branch would get together in compromise on a bill. that does not happen anymore. given that the supreme court is making these areas packed full decisions, the lease the public do is to impress upon them transparency. present oh, will visit cuba and argentina next week.
mr. kempe: good afternoon and welcome. i'm fred kempe, president and c.e.o. of the atlantic council i'm delighted that the chairman of the atlantic council is here today, governor huntsman. on his behalf, in particular on behalf of adrienne arshtt, founder of the adrienne arshtt center, and patricia marshall the ambassador and president, i'm delighted to welcome you to this special engagement, to be addressed by ambassador susan rice to the president's approach on the western hemisphere. ambassador rice we are immensely honored to be hosting you here at the atlantic council at this historic moment. one thing i always have to say at events like this, on the record, join the conversation on twitter with #susanriceatac. we are also grateful to our
partners in producing this event. thank you to the brookings institution, my friend represented by the -- the president and woodrow wilson international center of scholars and my friend jane harman, represented here by cynthia armson, director of the latin american program. thank you for collaborating with us to bring this to fruition. i also want to extend a special welcome to the esteemed ambassadors joining us in the audience this afternoon. ambassador rice, thank you for taking the time. we consider it a privilege to host you, not only because of your key role in shaping the president's foreign policy agenda but also your tireless steadfast commitment to promoting leadership and engagement across the globe. since becoming president obama's
national security advisor in 2013, you've been at the helm of a second term administration foreign policy that has significant achievements which have included u.scuba brokering a multilateral deal with iran and the successful conclusion of the t.p.p. agreement. we've had a role here with the atlantic council in all these issues. previously as u.s. permanent representative to the united nations, you were a powerful voice in advancing u.s. interests at the security council and furthering our country's commitment to diplomatic solutions where you helped win the stiffest u.n. sanctions ever against iran and north korea and brokered life-saving interventions in libya and cote d'ivoire. these positions in addition to
others you've held at the state department and elsewhere emblematic of a lifetime dedicated to common security and prosperity at home and abroad. your remarks today come days ahead of president obama's trip to cuba and argentina next monday. the first time in over 80 year that a sitting u.s. president will visit cuba. this is a historic turning point for the united states relations with cuba and with latin america broadly so we are terribly pleased to hear from you today on the administration's priorities for the western hemisphere. echoing the spirit and passion of our latin america center i wish to underscore we see the president's trip hugely significant, not just in the message about the relationship with cuba, as symbolic of the advances that the united states has made in engaging latin america during the obama administration. in the past decade, latin america has been a region
transformed and our center has worked to examine what those transformations mean for the hemisphere moving forward. with 70 million people entering the middle class and the area's status as one of the fastest growing trade partners, latin america holds huge promise. the obama administration has fully recognized this scenario with achievements such as concluding t.p.p., which includes three latin american nations, support for ending the farc conflict in colombia and initiatives to improve security in central america, president obama has woven a clear narrative. most notably he's improved our relations with all latin america by restarting the u.s.-cuba relationship and making continuous progress between the two countries. these issues are at the heart of the work of the arsht center from our february 2013 poll on evolving u.s. attitudes toward cuba to our recent work on reintegrating cuba into global financial institutions such as the interamerica development to our policy brief this month about the outlook for argentina's energy sector. our center's narrative is optimistic because we believe that the united states is poised to engage even further on the vital political and economic connections that will continue to advance prosperity in the
hemisphere. with that, i would like to welcome to the stage ambassador susan rice. \[applause] ambassador rice: thank you, fred, and governor huntsman, it's always a great honor to be with you. i want to thank the organizations that fred just named that helped to put this event together and to everyone of you who are joining us here tonight. i want to particularly salute our colleagues from the diplomatic corps who embody the close and growing ties between our countries. i'm glad to be back at the
atlantic council and especially at the latin american center. what better way to celebrate st. patrick's tai than to give a speech on the americas. this organization focuses on the new latin america. i wanted to come here because 2016 is an especially significant, perhaps historic, year for the region. our hemisphere and the relationship between the united states and our partners across the americas is at a transformational moment. and president obama and all of us throughout his administration intend to make the most of it. so today i want to discuss this moment, the approach that got us here, and how we plan to seize this opportunity during president obama's upcoming trip to cuba and argentina and for
the remainder of his administration. i know some folks in latin america like to give really rather long speeches. but i'll do my best to keep this under eight hours. there's no denying that latin america faces serious challenges. too many people still live in poverty. too many voices still are silenced. too many communities are still wracked by violence. but what president obama said in santiago five years ago is even more true today. this is, he said, a region on the move. proud of its progress and ready to assume a greater role in world affairs. we see the new latin america in its political transformation. thanks to the determination and sacrifice of citizens and activists, today almost all
people across the hemisphere live in democracies. increasingly robust civil societies are demanding greater accountability of their leaders. over the past few years, governments that were hostile toward the united states have given way to ones that are more open to partnership. we see the new latin america in the way the region initially bounced back from the global financial crisis. today, we're witnessing a next wave of challenges, from slower growth and weaker commodity prices to strains on the middle class. but we're also seeing countries recognizing the need to become more resilient by reforming and diversifying their economies. thanks to stronger business climates and greater openness to investment, many countries are better positioned than before to rebound from economic shocks. in a number of places, we must do more to preserve and build on the progress we've made,
including lifting millions of people out of poverty over the last two decades. and the united states stands ready to work with our partners to meet these challenges. and that's because this transformation has been mirrored by a change in the united states a-- united states' approach to the region. before president obama took office, our bilateral relationships were often strained. the united states standing in latin -- the united states' standing in latin america had suffered. suspicion of our motives was high an anti-american voices were ascendant and loud. if you'd asked some of our neighbors about the yankees, you'd have gotten roughly the same answer you'd get from a red sox fan. today, the american flag flies over our re-opened embassy in cuba. more americans are visiting cuba than at any time in the last 50
years. more american companies are looking to invest and do business in cuba. as we normalize relations, we have just announced reforms to make it easier for americans to travel to cuba and engage with the cuban people. yesterday -- yesterday marked the first direct mail delivery flight between our countries in 53 years. in today, colombia is experiencing historic change, as president obama noted during president santos' visit last month. thanks to the courage and determination of the colombian people and with bipartisan support here for plan colombia, colombia today is more stable, secure, and prosperous than it has been for decades. you know as we speak,
colombia and the farc with the support of our special envoy, bernie aronson, are working to end half a century of civil war. here in north america, mexico has shown how a country can grow when its companies successfully integrate into the regional and global economy. are you are in the mexican government is implementing key energy reforms and is an important partner in combating climate change. as evidenced by last week's you are official visit by prime minister trudeau, the united states and canada are more closely aligned than we have been in years. again, we are addressing the
challenge of climate change, where our countries are now fully united. and being married to a canadian, i can report that the relationship between our countries is truly an enduring partnership of equals. even if certain busy americans don't always do their fair share will don't always do their fair go a of the housework. so, ladies and gentlemen, this is a seminal moment. how did we get here? this remarkable transformation is first and foremost a tribute to the hard work and sacrifice of millions of people across the hemisphere. in nations made difficult decisions to reform, especially economically. some shouldered and still shoulder the burden of securing their communities against cartels and insurgents. but as our argentine friends know, it takes two to tango. during the 2008 campaign, then-senator obama promised a new approach, guided by what he called the simple principle that what's good for the people of i what's good for the people of the americas is good for the united states. in and we've worked hard to
deliver on that vision. starting with the 2009 summit of the americas, president obama called far new era of cooperation and equal partnership based on mutual interests, mutual respect, and shared values. and on issue after issue we've worked constructively to build consensus on the issue, not one devised in washington but in dialogues across the hemisphere. not we resisted falling into the traps of history and ideology that often stymied progress. you president obama was very clear from the outset that he won't be bound by battles waged in many cases before he was even born. so at that first summit of the youso at that first summit of the americas, when certain leaders tried to revive the insult contest that too often characterized our relationships, we just refused to take the bait. you are you we recognized the
old debates between state-run companies and unchecked free markets, between the abuses of and markets, between the abuses of left wing insurgents and right wing paramilitaries for you right wing paramilitaries for what they were and are, false dichotomies that don't in an reflect the realities of today. this may seemu simple but it was actually quite novel. after the summit in trinidad and tobago, it was reported, leaders left here almost shell shocked by the lack of tension at this year's gathering. today the united states is more deeply engaged in latin america than we've been in decades. you are in fact, the relationships between the united states and countries across the
hemisphere are arguably as good as they've ever been. and given our ties of trade, culture, and family, our neighbors have never been more important to the prosperity and security of the united states. president obama's visit to latin you america next week will build on this progress. on sunday, air force one will depart andrews air force base en route to havana, cuba. you no national security advisor has ever said that and before. as fred said new york u.s. you president has traveled to cuba since calvin coolidge came on a battleship 88 years ago. he he will continue to talk to about how to normalize contact between our government and increase contacts between our peoples. as he did when they met in
panama last year, president obama will speak candidly about areas where we disagree with the cuban government, particularly human rights. as president obama has repeatedly said, we know that change will not come to cuba overnight. but the old approach of trying to isolate cuba for more than 50 years clearly didn't work. we believe that engagement, including greater trade, travel, and ties between americans and cubans is the best way to help create opportunity and spur to help progress for the cuban people. and that's why as part of his youand that's why as part of his visit, the president will meet with civil society leaders including human rights activists who give voice to the aspirations of the cuban people. he'll meet with cuban entrepreneurs, from a variety of sectors to discuss what we can
do to help them start and grow their businesses. will at the gran teatro, you president obama will speak directly to the cuban people and attend a major league baseball and the exhibition game between the cuban national team and the tampa bay rays, another reminder of the ties we can strengthen and between our peoples. you are on tuesday, president you and obama will travel to you obama will travel to argentina, another visit that another might have seemed unlikely not long ago. a unlikely not long ago. we've been impressed by many of the reforms president macri has initiated and believe that argentina can be a strong global partner on a range of issues from counternarcotics to climate change. you are secretary of trade you and miguel braun recently told this forum that argentina is open for business and we are you keen to expand our economic and relationship.
in we expect the president -- we expect that president obama and president macri will announce a number of new partnerships, including efforts to combat crime, drug traffic, promote sustainable energy development and fight climate change. as he has throughout the region, the president will hold a town hall with young argentines who are essential to argentina's growing regional and global rule. from the president's visit to argentina falls, as you know, on the 40th anniversary of the 1976 military coup. you to underscore our shared commitment to human rights, the president will visit the park de la memoria to honor the victims you of argentina's dirty war. in in addition to the the in addition to the more than 4,000 documents the united states has released from that dark period, president obama, at the request of the argentine the government, will announce a
comprehensive effort to declassify additional documents, including for the first time military and intelligence records. on this anniversary -- \[applause] an this anniversary and beyond, we are determined to do our part as argentina continues to heal and move forward as one nation. so we believe this trip will be an historic and powerful demonstration of our nation's new approach to latin america. will an approach that will guide us for the remainder of the obama administration. so allow me now to concentrate on three areas where we believe the united states and our partners across the hemisphere can make further progress.
first, we continue working to expand prosperity and opportunity for all our people and we have a strong foundation to build on. since president obama took office, we boosted u.s. exports to latin america by more than 40%. we encourage pacific alliance countries, chile, colombia, mexico, and peru, to continue their impressive progress in reducing trade barriers and integrating financial markets. and with the transpacific partnership, we're deepening our trade and investment ties with canada, chile, mexico, and peru. this is a good deal with strong labor and environmental standards. and we are committed to working with congress to ratify it. few areas offer more promise for economic cooperation than clean energy. from canada to the caribbean, our hemisphere is especially vulnerable to climate change
your which is why we're working will or to implement the historic paris climate agreement as quickly as possible. we also have unique strengths when it comes to clean energy, which we're harnessing through our energy and climate partnership of the americas. brazil has been a leader in buy wrote fuels, chile is developing geothermal sources. haiti, after the devastating 2010 earthquake built the largest solar powered hospital in the world. in may, vice president biden will host our central american and caribbean partners to discuss how to do even more together to power our communities and protect our planet. as we strive to meet today's pressing economic challenges, we're making economies more inclusive with new opportunities for entrepreneurs, farmers, and the small and medium-sized businesses that employ over half the hemisphere's work force.
with the small business network of the americas, we'll help incubate more ideas, advise more aspiring entrepreneurs, and connect them to new opportunities. over the next three years, our women's entrepreneurship in the americas program is on track to help 100,000 women overcome barriers to starting a business. you will and through the president's feed the future initiative, we're supporting more than 113,000 latin american and caribbean farmers to emerge from poverty. we're also going to continue to you keep investing in giving young people the skills and the training to succeed in the global economy. through the president's young leaders of the americas initiative, we're helping
entrepreneurs and activists connect, collaborate, and move forward and our 100,000 strong in the americas program aims to enable 100,000 u.s. students to study in latin america and 100,000 latin american students in and to study in the united states by 2020. present to you the over the past five years, we've seen more than a 10% increase in students participating in these vital cross cultural exchanges and we'll announce an expansion of that program next week. second, we can't have economic growth without security. in too many places, gangs and youin too many places, gangs and narco traffickers still brutally target civilians, law enforcement, and journalists. the front lines of this fight the front lines of this fight are in central america, in the northern triangle of el salvador, guatemala, and honduras, whose leaders vice president biden recently hosted to deepen our cooperation.
are trainingyou run recordand will will and your al\ong with our partners, we're confronting this challenge by providing law enforcement with the equipment, training and technology they need to protect communities while also respecting human rights. we're improving coordination between countries, cracking down on the flow of guns across our southern border and squeezing cartel finances. here at home, we're working to reduce demand for drugs and reaching out to at-risk youth before they turn to narcotics an crime. we saw the human toll of central america's violence in the summer of 2014 when more than 68,000 unaccompanied, fearful children arrived at our southern border. are you
you to address this ongoing humanitarian crisis, we're taking steps to deter future unauthorized migration and to mitt gate the poverty that her mitt gate the poverty that drives the underlying security the concerns. working with congress, we've tripled our aid to central america, investing $750 million to help develop regional economies. that is a at the same time, matter at the same time, central american governments have you will will american governments have committed their own resources to reduce corruption, improve governance, lower crime and violence, and create jobs. that's the kind of mutual effort under the this crisis demands. meanwhile, colombia is on the brink of peace. under the framework that president obama and president santos announced, paz colombia the united states will provide more than $450 million to help reinforce security gains, advance justice for victims, and you extend opportunity and the will rule of law into areas denied them for decades. are we're grateful to the cuban government for hosting the peace talks and we remain hopeful that an end to this
conflict will mark the beginning of a new chapter of progress for colombia and the region. more broadly, we're stepping up our cooperation with regional partners to confront other shared security threats, including disease such as the zika virus, along with brazil and colombia, we're researching how to mitigate the virus' effects. the united states and canada will deploy public health experts to countries facing outbreaks of zika or similar diseases. this work will also help to enhance public health and scientific capabilities in the
americas and strengthen our is ability to combat other you are mosquito borne diseases like dengue and others. and through our global health security agenda, will support and security agenda, will support partners across the region to better prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats before they become epidemics. finally, the united states will continue to stand strongly for democracy and human rights in the hemisphere. this is and always will be youthis is and always will be central to our foreign policy, not only in the americas, of course, but around the world. that means free and fair elections, a free press, robust by civil society, and an independent judiciary. it means government that's you go with theit means government that's transparent and accountable to the people. you it means respecting the universal human rights and dignity of every man, woman, and a child. including the descendants of you are indigenous people and immigrants alike. you as you are you
our unwavering commitment to democracy and human rights will be plain when the president visits cuba. last week, i met with represents from civil society and human rights organizations, journalists, clergy, and young people. some of them shared stories of living in cuba. others spoke of the aspirations of their family and friends who remain there. it was powerful and at times emotional. i assured them that human rights will indeed be a key part of our agenda in cuba and that this administration, not the cuban government, will determine which civil society leaders the president meets with. the message president obama will deliver, privately and publicly, is simple. we believe the cuban people, like people everywhere, are best served by genuine democracy. when they're free to choose their leaders, express their
ideas, and practice their faith. so the united states will keep championing the human rights of all people, everywhere, including in cuba. in venezuela, we were heartened that the recent legislative elections were well administered and relatively peaceful. and the results were initially respected. but we remain deeply concerned by the marginalization of the legislature and the jailing of dissenters. we aim to see a dialogue between the government and the opposition so that they can work to address the country's pressing needs, especially its very serious economic challenges. across the americas, the united states will continue to support building those durable, accountable institutions upon which democracy grows and basic services demand.
chile is reforming its lobbying laws. mexico is strengthening its judiciary. paraguay now hosts -- excuse me, now posts all government salaries online. across brazil, citizens are raising their voices on behalf of principles that are at the core of democratic and just society, including rule of law, due process, and accountability. that to navigate this challenging moment, brazilians must rely on the strength of their democratic institutions and their resilience as a people. throughout the region, through the open government partnership, we will keep promoting transparency and good governance. and as we help haiti to rebuild, holde urging haitians to
elections assumed, so that they representative government can immediately needs of its people. this is the vision that has guided president obama for the past seven years. partnerships, rooted in mutual interests, and mutual respect. collaborations committed to expanding prosperity and opportunity. promoting our shared security and upholding democratic values and human rights. that's the vision the president will carry forward next week. in havana and buenos aires, we will be reminded that even more than our common interests, the peoples of the americas are united nearly one billion strong by shared values. we work together, study together, and protect our communities together. we see this most clearly in the 55 million hispanic americans who enrich and strengthen our nation, a major reason why we
must continue working for a fair and functioning immigration system. from alaska to tierra del fuego, we are bound together by common hopes, by our dreams for a better future for all of our children, a future where our sons and daughters can go to school without fearing the violence of drug traffickers. where young entrepreneur or farmer can have a shot at success. where a dissident can stand up and speak out free from persecution. this is our enduring vision. this is our solemn commitment. this is the future we aim to forge together. thank you all very much.
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