U.S. supports prosperity in the Western Hemisphere

Vice President Harris speaks at the 51st Washington Conference on the Americas May 4. (© Patrick Semansky/AP Images)

The United States stands with partner nations and civil society to ensure the Western Hemisphere remains free and democratic.

“The Western Hemisphere is our home,” Vice President Harris said on May 4 during the virtual 51st Washington Conference on the Americas. “And because it is our home, because the people within it are our neighbors, it is imperative that we promote democracy and good governance, security, and prosperity within the region.”

The U.S. government believes in the power of the people in Latin America, Harris said, and is ready to support them in a variety of ways to combat corruption and achieve justice.

Harris outlined how the United States is helping address systemic violence — a major reason people choose to migrate — in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

The United States is providing the region $310 million to support humanitarian relief efforts and address food insecurity in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and other countries in Central America. Specific goals include:

  • Bolstering food assistance.
  • Mitigating the impact of drought and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Helping with disaster relief.
  • Meeting immediate safety and protection needs.

The U.S. is partnering with Canada, Finland, Ireland and Japan to increase economic opportunities and private-sector investment in Latin America.

A family cooks breakfast April 22 over a campfire at a squatters settlement in Lima, Peru, occupied by people who can no longer pay their rent because of restrictions on economic activity. (© Martin Mejia/AP Images)

The U.S. government is aware that several of these factors include problems exacerbated by both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, she says, and is doing everything it can to help the affected countries solve these challenges so people can have peaceful lives at home.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reinforced U.S. support for the COVAX initiative, noting “the U.S. government has contributed $2 billion to COVAX, which is supplying safe, effective COVID vaccines worldwide, including 6.5 million doses so far to Latin America.”

“Need — not politics — will guide our decisions,” Blinken said at the virtual conference. “And we’ll continue to provide ventilators, PPE, and other vital equipment across the region.”

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry agreed the U.S. is ready to work with nations to address the challenges from climate change, such as erratic weather patterns and stronger storms.

“We can create millions of new jobs in the region by investing in clean energy and climate resilient infrastructure,” Kerry said.

“We want to help people find hope at home,” Harris said. “And so we are focused on addressing both the acute factors and the root causes of migration.”