Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bienvenido a los Estados Unidos: Presidents Michelle Bachelet and Barack Obama Meet in Washington,D.C., to Discuss Clean Energy

Presidents Michelle Bachelet of Chile and Barack Obama met yesterday at the White House to announce several clean energy-related projects.

President Obama said, "There is enormous interest both in the United States and Chile in how we can develop solar power and wind power and biofuels and a whole host of other clean energy strategies that will make the people of both countries more prosperous and less dependent on imported energy needs."

President Bachelet said, "We are really enthusiastic about clean energy as we share the idea that the [climate change] crisis should be responded to," and added, "Chile has great conditions for solar energy."

Mr. Obama was also lavish in his praise for Chile and his Latin American colleague, President Bachelet:

"I look to President Bachelet for good advice and good counsel in terms of how the United States can continue to build a strong relationship with all of Latin America. And I think the good progress that we began to make at the Summit of the Americas can be built on with some very concrete steps in the months and years to come. We consider Chile to be one of our most important partners in that process. And so I expect that in the months to come we'll be working very closely together."
Obviously, the relationship between the United States and Latin America has not always been a smooth one. But projects, such as the one the two presidents put into place yesterday, are ways in which strong and enduring bridges can be built between the north and the south.

Since 2000, nearly 35 Latin American lawyers have earned their LLM degrees here. They have added immensely to the diversity of our program and their contributions to all of us -- professors, fellow students, staff -- have been and continue to be remarkable. These graduates are among the leading environmental and natural resources professionals across the whole of Latin America.

Let us hope that the cordial meeting between Presidents Bachelet and Obama will mark the beginning of a new chapter in our relations with energy, the environment, and natural resources being the cornerstone of mutual respect and benefit for all. Energy, environment, and natural resources -- as we all know -- do not fall precisely along geographic lines. Our responses to these great challenges should not either.

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