Presidential Palace
Tegucigalpa, Honduras

PRESIDENT CASTRO:  (As interpreted.)  Madam Vice President.  I wanted to tell you, Madam Vice President, that it was the right decision sending me on the tour because it opened dialogue, it created that peace of sitting down with different sectors, and to be very clear that President Biden’s government — his desire was respect for democracy from countries. 

And it was necessary for the Honduran people to create peace and tranquility in our elections process on November 28th, to create a refoundation — because this returned peace, given the fears that were created. 

And today, we see the results of that.  And those results are there: 1.7 million people supported my candidacy.  We did not need to go to a second round of elections because we obtained 51 percent support of the Honduran people.  So, I would like to thank the Biden government — Biden administration.  I’d like to thank you.  And I’d like to thank your Secretary for being here as well. 

So, will the media be here? 

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS:  Well, if you don’t mind, Madam President, I’d like to publicly congratulate you on your election.  We were watching the election process closely.  And on behalf of President Biden and myself, we wish you great success.  We appreciate that your election was a democratic election — that the people spoke. 

I was there today to witness the ceremony of your inauguration.  And it is clear that you have the support of many, many of the people of this important and beautiful country.

 Our perspective as the United States, in terms of our relationship with Honduras, is one that we believe our nations, as are most nations these days, interconnected and interdependent.

We also, as the United States, recognize that we are a member, a neighbor in the Western Hemisphere.  And as neighbors, we have a relationship that is important and can impact one another.

In particular, today and going forward in our working relationship, as you and I have discussed in our telephone conversations, I look forward to many areas of partnership, including the work that we can do to address the economic prosperity of Honduras.

As I shared with you, I have been convening American CEOs and corporations who have pledged to support this region.  And right now, the pledge has reached $1.2 billion. 

There is a lot of opportunity there — you spoke about this in your inaugural address — in terms of the importance of uplifting the economy and what that means to families, what that means in terms of the creation of jobs, and what that means on the issue of migration.

I particularly appreciated your point, which you and I have discussed before, which is: Most people don’t want to leave home; they don’t want to leave places where they worship — their church; their grandmother.  And if they leave, it is usually because they are either fleeing harm or they simply cannot satisfy their basic needs or their family’s needs if they stay.

Therefore, the area of cooperation and work that we will do together on economic prosperity will be pivotal to that issue, in particular for irregular migration.

     We have also discussed and you discussed at length in your inaugural speech the importance of combatting corruption. 

I take a particular interest in that, as does the President.  And we share, again, with your administration and your campaign pledge, a priority around doing what we can do as partners to address that issue, which is an issue not only in terms of the standing of a country, but also it is related to the issue of economic prosperity. 

And I will say also that, on the issue of — you touched briefly on the issue of children and education.  And one of the issues here in Honduras has been the COVID-19 impact on that. 

And so far, the United States has donated 3.9 million vaccines.  Based on our last conversation, I’m also proud to report today that several hundred thousand more doses will be coming here in the next couple of months. 

In addition, I’m pleased to announce to you today that we will send, in the next couple of weeks, half a million pediatric syringes to help with the administration of vaccines to children.  And we are pledging $1.35 million to help you upgrade the health and educational facilities of this country, all with the intention of uplifting and supporting your public health and educational priorities.

 So, in closing, I will say that we are honored to be here.  It was a pleasure to witness your inauguration.  And we look forward to this partnership, as a working partnership, as neighbors in this hemisphere.  Thank you.

                                            END

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