On Friday, as Vice President Biden was preparing for to leave for Chile and Costa Rica, he published an op-ed that appeared in eleven papers throughout Latin America entitled, "A New Day for Partnership in the Americas":
Next month, President Obama will travel to Trinidad and Tobago to meet his colleagues from across the Western Hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas. In advance of that historic meeting, I am traveling to Central and South America to consult with Latin American leaders gathered in Chile and Costa Rica about the Summit and the challenges faced by the people of the Americas.
These meetings are an important first step toward a new day in relations and building partnerships with and among the countries and people of the Hemisphere.
The President and I understand that only by working together can our countries overcome the challenges we face. Today, we are more than just independent nations who happen to be on the same side of the globe. In today’s interconnected world, we are all neighbors who face many common concerns.
The current global economic crisis has touched virtually all of us—every country, every community, every family. Citizens everywhere are searching for answers, looking for hope—and turning to their leaders to provide them. It is our duty as global partners to heed their calls, to together forge a shared solution to a common problem.
The Vice President went on discuss the Recovery Act and the President’s plan to address the problems in the markets, as well as mutual concerns of security, drug cartels, and climate change.
On his trip, the Vice President attended the Progressive Governance conference along with the Presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, as well as the Prime Ministers of Norway and the United Kingdom. He was hosted by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. See a slideshow of this trip (full size is worth the click-through):
In his remarks to the conference, Vice President Biden once again emphasized the Administration’s agenda with a focus on the economy, making clear that education, energy, housing and health care are inseparable from long term economic stability. He ended his remarks on a humorous yet serious note:
And so the good news is there's a change. The bad news is, for you all, there's a change. (Laughter.) as I said to one of you -- and I will not -- we were joking -- I said, the very good news is that we're willing to, and want to collaborate. The bad news is that you don't have the last administration to use as an excuse -- I use this phrase editorially, not "you" particularly -- the last administration as an excuse for non-action.
So we look forward to working with you. I'm delighted to be here and I truly am flattered, as Vice President, to be here and given the same privileges as the Presidents of these great countries -- and Prime Ministers. Thank you very much. (Applause.)