Memorial Day 2013 & VP Biden travels to Brazil, Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago

Memorial Day History

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May.

For more: http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp

Memorial Day 2013 Arlington

2008 Memorial Day Poster #2

National Memorial Day Observances
Monday, May 27th – 3:00 pm Local Time

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Vice President Joe Biden  travels to Brazil, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago

VPOTUS & SLOTUS AF2

Flag_of_Brazil.svgColombia flagRepublic of Trinidad and Tobago flag

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden travel to Brazil, Colombia,  Trinidad and Tobago during the week of May 26th, 2013.  In each country, the Vice President will meet with key leaders to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues.

Vice President Biden will meet with Brazilian President Rousseff and Vice President Temer and discuss ways to deepen our economic and commercial partnership and further our engagement on the broad array of bilateral, regional, and global issues that connect our two countries.

Vice President Biden will meet with Colombian President Santos to build on security relations and focus on ways to further the prosperity of our two countries.

Vice President Biden will meet with Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar as well as leaders of  other Caribbean countries, to discuss our collective efforts to promote economic growth and development, access to energy and our ongoing collaboration on citizen security.

Brazil

Colombia

Trinidad and Tobago

Sunday, May 26
Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden travel to Bogota, Colombia

Monday, May 27
Vice President Biden is greeted to Colombia  by Colombian Foreign Affairs Minister María Ángela Holguín
Catam military airport, Bogotá, Colombia

Vice President Joe Biden and his family visit the Botero Museum
Bogotá, Colombia

Dr. Jill Biden visited Escuela Taller, a program sponsored by USAID. Colombian First Lady Maria Clemencia de Santos and Fátima McKinley joined Dr.Biden.
Bogotá, Colombia

Vice President Biden and Colombian President Santos hold a bilateral meeting
Bogotá, Colombia

Vice President Biden and Colombian President Santos Speak to the press
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, May 28

Vice President Biden is welcomed to Trinidad and Tobago

Vice President Biden meets with Trinidad and Tobago’s President Carmona and Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar

Vice President Biden participates in a meeting and working lunch with a number of other Caribbean leaders

Vice President Biden , Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, and President Martelly of Haiti on behalf of CARICOM deliver statements to the press
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden arrive in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport

Wednesday  May 29 
Vice President Biden is welcomed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dr Jill Biden visits the Coletivo Varejo program.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Vice President Biden delivers remarks on the U.S.-Brazil partnership
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Vice President Biden tours a Petrobras site
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Vice President Biden meets with Petrobras officials and Brazilian officials to discuss issues related to the future of energy and discuss our energy cooperation, security and social inclusion.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Thursday  May 30
Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden meet with U.S. Embassy staff and families in Brasília, Brazil

Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden meet with U.S. Embassy staff and families in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Friday, May 31
Vice President Biden meets with Brazilian President Rousseff and with Vice President Temer
Brasilia, Brazil

Vice President Biden holds a bilateral meeting with Brazilian President Rousseff
Brasilia, Brazil

Vice President Biden holds a press conference with Brazilian  Vice President Temer
Brasilia, Brazil

Obama_Biden_thumbnail

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51 thoughts on “Memorial Day 2013 & VP Biden travels to Brazil, Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago

  1. WH

    Monday, May 27, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    Vice President Biden is greeted to Colombia by Colombian Foreign Affairs Minister María Ángela Holguín
    Catam military airport, Bogotá, Colombia

    Vice President Joe Biden and his family visit the Botero Museum
    Bogotá, Colombia

    Dr. Jill Biden visited Escuela Taller, a program sponsored by USAID. Colombian First Lady Maria Clemencia de Santos and Fátima McKinley joined Dr.Biden.
    Bogotá, Colombia

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:30 AM
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle hosts a breakfast in honor of Gold Star Families
    State Dining Room

    10:00 AM
    10:50 AM
    11:00 AM
    President Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns to commemorate Memorial Day; First Lady Michelle in attendance
    Arlington National Cemetery

    11:20 AM
    President Obama delivers remarks to commemorate Memorial Day; First Lady Michelle in attendance
    Arlington National Cemetery

    12:00 PM
    12:20 PM
    Vice President Biden and Colombian President Santos Speak to the press
    Bogotá, Colombia

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    • POTUS podium

      May 27, 2013

      WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

      11:00 AM ET
      President Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns to commemorate Memorial Day; First Lady Michelle in attendance
      Arlington National Cemetery

      11:20 AM ET
      President Obama delivers remarks to commemorate Memorial Day; First Lady Michelle in attendance
      Arlington National Cemetery

      12:20 PM ET
      Vice President Biden and Colombian President Santos Speak to the press
      (Audio Only)
      Bogotá, Colombia

      —-

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      11:00 AM ET
      President Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns to commemorate Memorial Day; First Lady Michelle in attendance
      Arlington National Cemetery http://www.c-spanvideo.org/event/218992

      —–

      Department of Defense http://www.PentagonChannel.mil

      11:00 AM ET
      President Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns to commemorate Memorial Day
      Arlington National Cemetery

      11:20 AM ET
      President Obama delivers remarks to commemorate Memorial Day
      Arlington National Cemetery

  2. Memorial Day

    History

    Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

    The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

    The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

    For the entire article: http://www1.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp

    • May 25, 2013

      WEEKLY ADDRESS: Giving Thanks to our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day

      Remarks of President Barack Obama
      Weekly Address
      The White House
      May 25, 2013

      Hi, everybody. This week, I’ve been speaking about America’s national security – our past, our present, and our future.

      On Thursday, I outlined the future of our fight against terrorism – the threats we face, and the way in which we will meet them.

      On Friday, I went to Annapolis to celebrate the extraordinary young men and women of the United States Naval Academy’s Class of 2013 – the sailors and Marines who will not only lead that fight, but who will lead our country for decades to come.

      And on Monday, we celebrate Memorial Day. Unofficially, it’s the start of summer – a chance for us to spend some time with family and friends, at barbecues or the beach, getting a little fun and relaxation in before heading back to work.

      It’s also a day on which we set aside some time, on our own or with our families, to honor and remember all the men and women who have given their lives in service to this country we love.

      They are heroes, each and every one. They gave America the most precious thing they had – “the last full measure of devotion.” And because they did, we are who we are today – a free and prosperous nation, the greatest in the world.

      At a time when only about one percent of the American people bear the burden of our defense, the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform isn’t always readily apparent. That’s partly because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coast guardsmen are so skilled at what they do. It’s also because those who serve tend to do so quietly. They don’t seek the limelight. They don’t serve for our admiration, or even our gratitude. They risk their lives, and many give their lives, for something larger than themselves or any of us: the ideals of liberty and justice that make America a beacon of hope for the world.

      That’s been true throughout our history – from our earliest days, when a tiny band of revolutionaries stood up to an Empire, to our 9/11 Generation, which continues to serve and sacrifice today.

      Every time a threat has risen, Americans have risen to meet it. And because of that courage – that willingness to fight, and even die – America endures.

      That is the purpose of Memorial Day. To remember with gratitude the countless men and women who gave their lives so we could know peace and live in freedom.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/25/weekly-address-giving-thanks-our-fallen-
      heroes-memorial-day

    • May 24, 2013

      Presidential Proclamation — Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2013

      PRAYER FOR PEACE, MEMORIAL DAY, 2013

      – – – – – – –

      BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

      A PROCLAMATION

      Since our Nation’s earliest days, America has been blessed with an unbroken chain of patriots who have served our country with honor and distinction. From Concord to the Korengal, generations of brave warriors have fought for freedom across sand and snow, over mud and mountains, into lonely deserts and through crowded streets. Today, we pay tribute to those patriots who never came back — who fought for a home to which they never returned, and died for a country whose gratitude they will always have.

      Scripture teaches us that “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” On Memorial Day, we remember those we have lost not only for what they fought for, but who they were: proud Americans, often far too young, guided by deep and abiding love for their families, for each other, and for this country. Our debt to them is one we can never fully repay. But we can honor their sacrifice and strive to be a Nation equal to their example. On this and every day, we must meet our obligations to families of the fallen; we must uphold our sacred trust with our veterans, our service members, and their loved ones.

      Above all, we can honor those we have lost by living up to the ideals they died defending. It is our charge to preserve liberty, to advance justice, and to sow the seeds of peace. With courage and devotion worthy of the heroes we remember today, let us rededicate ourselves to those unending tasks, and prove once more that America’s best days are still ahead. Let us pray the souls of those who died in war rest in eternal peace, and let us keep them and their families close in our hearts, now and forever.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/24/presidential-proclamation-prayer-peace-memorial-day-2013

    • A Message of Thanks — Memorial Day 2013

      Published on May 26, 2013

      Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel thanks service members, the fallen and their families on his first Memorial Day in office.
      Video by Sgt. Aaron Hostutler, USMC.

    • Sole Survivor: Iraq Rescue Mission Ended In Tragedy

      May 25, 2013 8:00 AM NPR

      In our latest installment of the StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative, we hear from Lance Cpl. Travis Williams. In 2005, while serving in Iraq, Williams and his 12-man squad came under attack. He was the only survivor.

      Lance Cpl. Travis Williams, 29, is an Iraq War veteran — and the only post-9/11 Marine to lose every other member of his 12-man squad. It happened in August 2005, when Williams and his teammates were sent on a rescue mission in Barwanah, Iraq.

      “That morning, we loaded into the vehicle,” Williams recalls. “And I get tapped on the shoulder, and I got told that I need to bounce up to the next vehicle. I said, ‘Catch you guys on the flipside.’ And that was the last thing I ever said to them.”

      “Next thing I know, I just hear the loudest explosion. And I see, that’s my squad’s vehicle that got hit. The bomb flipped it upside down, it ripped it completely in half, and everything inside of it was just parts,” he says.

      A helicopter was sent to recover his squad’s remains. “So the guys from the rest of our platoon had to go out there with blankets and cover up these body parts, so dogs don’t come and grab my friend’s arm and have a meal,” Williams says.

      Williams was attached to Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, out of Columbus, Ohio. “When I got back into our room for the first time, it was just a mess, you know. We had to spend the next couple of days just packing all this shit up, and mailing it home to their families. Mailing their letters that they hadn’t mailed, and cleaning up the dishes that they hadn’t cleaned up and — there’s dirty laundry,” Williams pauses. “It was all I had left of my friends.”

      He faced hard challenges once he returned home. “I knew that I would meet these guys’ parents, their girlfriends and their brothers and sisters and — it’s hard because I feel guilty for being the one guy left,” he says. “But I also feel a responsibility. I better make sure that everybody knows who these guys were, what these guys did.”

      There was his own grief to deal with, too. “I am most proud of not blowing my head off by now,” Williams says. “It’s just a whole lot easier if you’re dead. But that shouldn’t be your tribute to your dead friends. When they’re looking down on you, they don’t want you to be living in the moment that killed them. You made it. You got home. You should honor their memory by living the life that they didn’t get to live.”

      For the audio interview: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=186560432

    • May 08, 2013

      Vice President Biden, Dr. Jill Biden to Travel to Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago

      Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago during the week of May 26th, 2013. In each country, the Vice President will meet with key leaders to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues. In Brazil, he looks forward to the opportunity to meet with President Rousseff and Vice President Temer and discuss ways to deepen our economic and commercial partnership and further our engagement on the broad array of bilateral, regional, and global issues that connect our two countries. In Colombia, the Vice President will meet with President Santos to build on security relations and focus on ways to further the prosperity of our two countries. In Trinidad and Tobago, the Vice President looks forward to meeting with Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar as well as leaders of other Caribbean countries, whom Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar has graciously offered to invite. This trip will be an important chance to discuss our collective efforts to promote economic growth and development, access to energy and our ongoing collaboration on citizen security.

    • May 22, 2013

      Background Conference Call with Senior Administration Officials on Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden’s Trip to Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil

      Via Teleconference

      3:37 P.M. EDT

      MS. TROTTER: Thanks, everyone, for joining today’s call. Our hope is to provide you with a more detailed sense of the Vice President and Dr. Biden’s schedule and goals during their trip next week to Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil.

      This call will be on background and our speakers are happy to take questions after they give some brief opening statements at the top. We’d like to keep this call as focused on the trip as much as possible and just remind everyone it’s one question per person.

      With that I will turn it over to our first official who you can quote as a senior administration official.

      SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, everyone, for joining the call. As you all know as this point, Vice President Biden will be making his fourth trip to the region next week since he became Vice President. And it follows on President Obama’s recent visit to Mexico and Costa Rica as our latest demonstration of the United States’ commitment to reinforcing our partnerships in the Americas.

      It will also be our latest demonstration of an approach to engagement from the beginning that has been based on mutual respect and shared responsibility.

      President Obama and Vice President Biden right from the outset of their time in office have made clear their view that the Americas represent a region of opportunity for the United States, and they’re looking at the period that we’ve entered now as a time to really ramp up our engagement in the hemisphere in every part of the hemisphere, in Mexico, in Central America, the Caribbean and South America. And you will see a number of visits in the coming months, most immediately President Piñera of Chile and President Humala of Peru, and further travel by the Vice President to the region later in the year as well.

      When we look to the Americas, we see a region that has reduced poverty by over 50 percent in the last decade and has seen tens of millions of people join the middle class. And I said earlier that we look at this as a region of opportunity, and it’s in no small part because the countries of the region are among our most important trading partners, and that’s only becoming more true as time goes on. Our economies, our societies, our people are becoming more and more connected.

      The Vice President gave remarks on May 8th to the Conference of the Americas at the State Department where he laid out the vision and the agenda for the administration’s approach to the hemisphere in the second term. And his sort of fundamental, underlying point was that our objective is to work with our partners across the hemisphere to promote a hemisphere that’s middle class, secure and democratic. And that’s the message that he’s going to be carrying with him when he goes on this trip next week.

      Now, the countries that the Vice President is going to visit are all very different. But they each have governments that share our democratic values, that are focused on delivering for their citizens and on working as partners to advance common interests across the region and around the world. The countries of the Americas, including Colombia and Brazil, are playing an increasingly large and important role in global affairs, and that’s just one more reason for why the hemisphere and the region are so important to U.S. interests.

      So before going to your questions, I just want to take a minute to talk through the specifics of the Vice President’s itinerary and the purposes of each of the stops along the way. So he will depart Sunday for Bogota and will begin his trip in Colombia. On Monday, he’ll have the opportunity to meet with President Santos. And his visit to Bogota will be a chance to reaffirm the strength of our relationship with one of our most important partners in the Americas. It will allow us to highlight the remarkable progress on security in Colombia, both our support for President Santos’s efforts to bring an end to conflict in the Americas.

      The Vice President last was in Colombia in 2000, so he will personally get to see the distance that Colombia has traveled over the last 13 years. He’ll also have a chance to meet with people and business leaders who will demonstrate firsthand to him the importance of our commercial relationships in the years since our free trade agreement came into force.

      In Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, the Vice President will meet with President Carmona and Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and participate in a meeting and working lunch with a number of other Caribbean leaders who have been invited by Trinidad and Tobago to a regional meeting with the Vice President.

      And in that series of meetings, we anticipate good discussions on regional efforts to promote economic growth; on cooperation around citizen security; on energy issues, and other issues that are high on the priority list of our partners across the Caribbean.

      Then on Wednesday, in Brazil, the Vice President will visit Rio de Janeiro, where he will have a public speaking event to help frame our view of Brazil at a strategic partner of the United States, and the trajectory of the U.S.-Brazil partnership as we head into the future. He will also tour a Petrobras site and discuss our energy cooperation, meeting with Petrobras officials and Brazilian officials to discuss issues related to the future of energy, both in Brazil and the United States and the global energy picture. And he will also have the opportunity to discuss with local leaders issues around security and social inclusion.

      And then in Brasilia, on Friday, the Vice President will meet with President Rousseff and with Vice President Temer, and have a chance to talk about the architecture of the partnership that we’ve built together over the last four years, and then get down to the specifics in terms of the bilateral and global agenda that our two countries share moving forward.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/22/background-conference-call-senior-administration-officials-vice-presiden

    • President Obama on Improving U.S. Partnership with Latin America

      07 May 2013 http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov

      This commentary by President Obama originally appeared in the Miami Herald on May 6. There are no republication restrictions for use by U.S. embassies.

      Improving our Partnership with Latin America
      By Barack Obama

      Last week, I was proud to visit Mexico for the fourth time as president and to meet with Central American leaders in Costa Rica. It was a chance for me to reaffirm our friendship with a region to which tens of millions of immigrants and Americans trace their roots.

      It was also an opportunity to highlight the impressive progress being made across Latin America, one of the world’s most dynamic regions, and forge new partnerships that will help improve the lives of all our citizens.

      I went because this is a moment of great promise for our hemisphere. Today, almost all the people of the Americas live in democracies. Latin America has some of the world’s fastest growing economies. And across the region, tens of millions of people have escaped poverty and entered the middle class.

      This represents an incredible opportunity for all our countries, especially when it comes to my top priority: creating good, middle-class jobs here in America. Because, as I saw in my visit to the port of Miami in March, one of the best ways to do that is by expanding trade that allows us to sell more products around the world.

      Right now, over 40 percent of our exports go to Mexico, Central and South America, and those exports are growing faster than our trade with the rest of the world. That’s creating more jobs here in the United States, but it’s also benefitting people across the entire hemisphere. The United States is the largest source of foreign investment in the Americas. And the trade agreements I’ve signed with Colombia and Panama are creating new markets for businesses in our countries.

      Read more: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/article/2013/05/20130507146946.html#ixzz2T7xJswjk

    • May 28, 2013
      FACT SHEET: United States Support for Economic Growth and Development in the Caribbean

      In his meeting today with 15 Presidents, Prime Ministers and other senior ministry officials from the Caribbean region, Vice President Biden discussed the United States’ commitment to deepening economic collaboration and expanding prosperity and social inclusion in the region. The leaders also discussed citizen security cooperation and the importance of building safe communities that contribute to a favorable business and investment climate.

      The United States supports the region’s economic growth and social inclusion efforts through multiple, complementary programs that contribute to: building strong, capable and transparent institutions; facilitating trade and creating favorable business and investment climates; expanding access to reliable, clean, and affordable energy; and investing in human capital so that citizens are prepared to contribute to the development of their communities.

      During his visit to Trinidad and Tobago, Vice President Biden signed the United States – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on behalf of the United States. President Martelly of Haiti, serving in his capacity as Chair of CARICOM, signed on behalf of the 15 member states. The Agreement provides a strategic framework and principles for dialogue on trade and investment issues of mutual interest. The TIFA establishes the United States – CARICOM Trade and Investment Council that will guide implementation of the Agreement.

      During bilateral meetings between Vice President Biden and Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad and Tobago, the two leaders discussed a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance cooperation on the scientific, technical, and policy aspects of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. The MOU establishes a Renewable Energy Research Centre to promote the rapid deployment of critical technologies for renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment in the Caribbean.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/28/fact-sheet-united-states-support-economic-growth-and-development-caribbe

      • US Vice President Joe Biden in Trinidad and Tobago for trade and energy talks

        Published on May 28, 2013

      • A 60 second recap: The Vice President and Dr. Biden in Trinidad

        Published on May 29, 2013

        Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visit Trinidad &
        Tobago to meet with Caribbean leaders during their trip to South America.

    • May 28, 2013

      FACT SHEET: United States Support for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative

      Today, Vice President Biden met with the Prime Ministers, Presidents, and senior ministry personnel from 15 Caribbean nations in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where they discussed our comprehensive regional partnership to improve citizen security in the Caribbean.

      Working together in support of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), the United States and the nations of the Caribbean are combating the drug trade and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security. This partnership fulfills the commitment to deepen regional security cooperation that President Barack Obama made at the 2009 Summit of the Americas. CBSI is part of an integrated citizen security effort that includes the Merida Initiative in Mexico, the Central America Regional Security Initiative, and the Colombia Strategic Development Initiative.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/28/fact-sheet-united-states-support-caribbean-basin-security-initiative

  3. Monday, May 27

    Vice President Biden is greeted to Colombia by Colombian Foreign Affairs Minister María Ángela Holguín
    Catam military airport, Bogotá, Colombia

    Vice President Joe Biden and his family visit the Botero Museum
    Bogotá, Colombia

    Dr. Jill Biden visited Escuela Taller, a program sponsored by USAID. Colombian First Lady Maria Clemencia de Santos and Fátima McKinley joined Dr.Biden.
    Bogotá, Colombia

    Vice President Biden and Colombian President Santos hold a bilateral meeting
    Bogotá, Colombia

    12:20 PM ET
    Vice President Biden and Colombian President Santos Speak to the press
    Bogotá, Colombia

    • Vicepresidente de EE.UU. inicia gira por América Latina

      Published on May 26, 2013

      Joe Biden comienza en Colombia una gira por latinoamérica, donde se reunirá el próximo lunes con el presidente de ese país Juan Manuel Santos.

      Durante su gira Biden también visitará Trinidad y Tobago y Brasil, en el marco de los esfuerzos del gobierno de Barack Obama por lograr un mayor acercamiento con latinoamérica y el caribe en materia económica.

    • On Board with the Vice President: A Flower Farm in Bogota, Colombia

      Published on May 28, 2013

      Vice President Joe Biden tours the Serrezuela flower farm in Bogota, Colombia. The flower farm provides good jobs to the community, and has a predominately female labor force. Also, 60% of their product to the United States. This stop was on May 27th 2013 during the Vice President’s trip to South America.

  4. 26 May 2013 Last updated at 16:56 ET bbc.co.uk

    Colombia and Farc rebels reach agreement on land reform

    The government of Colombia and left-wing Farc rebels have agreed on land reform, after more than six months of peace talks.

    “This agreement will be the start of a radical transformation of rural Colombia,” read a joint statement.

    The deal calls for the economic and social development of rural areas and providing land to poor farmers.

    Land reform is one of the most contentious issues in the talks on ending five decades of conflict.

    “Today we have a real opportunity to attain peace through dialogue,” said the Colombian government’s chief negotiator, Humberto de la Calle.

    “To support this process is to believe in Colombia,” he told journalists at the talks in the Cuban capital, Havana.

    For more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22676049

  5. Native American vets push for recognition

    5/26/13 By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN | Associated Press – 49 mins ago

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Code Talkers are legendary. Then there was Cpl. Ira Hamilton Hayes, the Pima Indian who became a symbol of courage and patriotism when he and his fellow Marines raised the flag over Iwo Jima in 1945.

    Before World War II and in the decades since, tens of thousands of American Indians have enlisted in the Armed Forces to serve their country at a rate much greater than any other ethnicity.

    Yet, among all the monuments and statues along the National Mall in Washington, D.C., not one stands in recognition.

    A grassroots effort is brewing among tribes across the country to change that, while Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii has introduced legislation that would clear the way for the National Museum of the American Indian to begin raising private funds for a memorial.

    “This is not a political gamble for anyone, and it’s not politically threatening for anyone,” said Jefferson Keel, a retired Army officer and president of the National Congress of American Indians. “This is something that both sides of the aisle can get behind and support, because it’s not going to cost a lot of money for the country. It’s just something that needs to be done.”

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/native-american-vets-push-recognition-133548153.html

    • May 27, 2013

      Remarks by the President Commemorating Memorial Day

      Arlington National Cemetery
      Arlington, Virginia

      11:31 A.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Please be seated. Thank you very much. Good morning, everybody. I want to thank Secretary Chuck Hagel, not only for the introduction but, Chuck, for your lifetime of service — from sergeant in the Army to Secretary of Defense, but always a man who carries with you the memory of friends and fallen heroes from Vietnam. We’re grateful to you.

      I want to thank General Dempsey, Major General Linnington, Kathryn Condon, who has served Arlington with extraordinary dedication and grace and who will be leaving us, but we are so grateful for the work that she’s done; for Chaplain Brainerd, Secretary Shinseki, all our guests. And most of all, to members of our armed services and our veterans; to the families and friends of the fallen who we honor today; to Americans from all across the country who have come to pay your respects: I have to say it is always a great honor to spend this Memorial Day with you at this sacred place where we honor our fallen heroes — those who we remember fondly in our memories, and those known only to God.

      Beyond these quiet hills, across that special bridge, is a city of monuments dedicated to visionary leaders and singular moments in the life of our Republic. But it is here, on this hallowed ground, where we choose to build a monument to a constant thread in the American character — the truth that our nation endures because it has always been home to men and women who are willing to give their all, and lay down their very lives, to preserve and protect this land that we love.

      That character — that selflessness — beats in the hearts of the very first patriots who died for a democracy they had never known and would never see. It lived on in the men and women who fought to hold our union together, and in those who fought to defend it abroad — from the beaches of Europe to the mountains and jungles of Asia. This year, as we mark the 60th anniversary of the end of fighting in Korea, we offer a special salute to all those who served and gave their lives in the Korean War. And over the last decade, we’ve seen the character of our country again — in the nearly 7,000 Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice on battlefields and city streets half a world away.

      Last Memorial Day, I stood here and spoke about how, for the first time in nine years, Americans were no longer fighting and dying in Iraq. Today, a transition is underway in Afghanistan, and our troops are coming home. Fewer Americans are making the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, and that’s progress for which we are profoundly grateful. And this time next year, we will mark the final Memorial Day of our war in Afghanistan.

      And so, as I said last week, America stands at a crossroads. But even as we turn the page on a decade of conflict, even as we look forward, let us never forget, as we gather here today, that our nation is still at war.

      It should be self-evident. And in generations past, it was. And during World War II, millions of Americans contributed to the war effort — soldiers like my own grandfather; women like my grandmother, who worked the assembly lines. During the Vietnam War, just about everybody knew somebody — a brother, a son, a friend — who served in harm’s way.

      Today, it’s different. Perhaps it’s a tribute to our remarkable all-volunteer force, made up of men and women who step forward to serve and do so with extraordinary skill and valor. Perhaps it’s a testament to our advanced technologies, which allow smaller numbers of troops to wield greater and greater power. But regardless of the reason, this truth cannot be ignored that today most Americans are not directly touched by war.

      As a consequence, not all Americans may always see or fully grasp the depth of sacrifice, the profound costs that are made in our name — right now, as we speak, every day. Our troops and our military families understand this, and they mention to me their concern about whether the country fully appreciates what’s happening. I think about a letter I received from a Naval officer, a reservist who had just returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. And he wrote me, “I’m concerned that our work in Afghanistan is fading from memory.” And he went on to ask that we do more to keep this conflict “alive and focused in the hearts and minds of our own people.”

      And he’s right. As we gather here today, at this very moment, more than 60,000 of our fellow Americans still serve far from home in Afghanistan. They’re still going out on patrol, still living in spartan forward operating bases, still risking their lives to carry out their mission. And when they give their lives, they are still being laid to rest in cemeteries in the quiet corners across our country, including here in Arlington.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/27/remarks-president-commemorating-memorial-day

  6. 12:20 PM ET
    Vice President and President Santos Speak to the press
    (Audio Only)
    Bogotá, Colombia

    • May 27, 2013

      Remarks to the Press by Vice President Biden and Colombian President Santos, Bogota, Colombia

      Casa de Nariño
      Bogota, Colombia

      12:30 P.M. (Local)

      PRESIDENT SANTOS: (As interpreted.) Good afternoon, everyone. First of all, I would like to warmly welcome Vice President Joe Biden on behalf of the 47 million Colombians. I would like to welcome his wife and his two granddaughters as well. And to tell him how pleased all Colombians are with his visit to our country today.

      Vice President Biden is an old friend of Colombia. He knows us well and he’s helped us a lot. I was the finance minister when he was the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he came here with President Clinton, to launch Plan Colombia. That was 13 years ago; it will be 13 years in August. And since then, everybody is aware of the great progress that Colombia has achieved.

      And it’s great to see Vice President Biden here as Vice President. He arrived yesterday with the news of the first agreement that was reached with the FARC in Havana. And if we are able to wrap up on the five points of our agreement, that would be a very happy ending to the process that began 13 years ago. That is why I want to deeply thank you, Vice President Biden, for your ongoing support throughout all these phases that Colombia has undergone; a process that has yielded very positive results already.

      Vice President Biden delivered a speech at the Council of the Americas a few weeks ago, and he repeated a phrase that I want to highlight now. He said that the United States is looking at Latin America, not in the spirit of what the United States can do for Latin America, but what the United States can do with Latin America. And I want to home in on that phrase, because that attitude is the right attitude. And that is the focus that the United States and Colombia have worked on to further our relations during my administration, as partners on equal footing, looking at each other eye to eye and working shoulder to shoulder.

      And to me, as a President, and Colombia, it’s a great pleasure to me to say right now that the relations between Colombia and the United States have never been better — not just because of the passing of the free trade agreement that turned one just a few days ago, but because our agenda is a broad, robust agenda, and it is an agenda that will undoubtedly bring great benefits to both countries.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/27/remarks-press-vice-president-biden-and-colombian-president-santos-bogota

  7. WH

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    Vice President Biden is welcomed to Trinidad and Tobago

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:20 AM
    President Obama departs White House

    10:50 AM
    Vice President Biden meets with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
    Trinidad and Tobago

    Vice President Biden participates in a meeting and working lunch with a number of other Caribbean leaders
    Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

    11:00 AM
    11:05 AM
    President Obama arrives Joint Base McGuire-Dix, New Jersey

    President Obama views the rebuilding and recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy accompanied by Governor Chris Christie
    Jersey Shore, New Jersey

    President Obama visits with families and business owners affected by Hurricane Sandy
    Jersey Shore, New Jersey

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:30 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks on the rebuilding of the Jersey Shore
    Jersey Shore, New Jersey

    First Lady Michelle Obama is joined by school children from across the country to harvest the summer crop from the White House Kitchen Garden

    2:00 PM
    2:50 PM
    President Obama departs New Jersey

    3:00 PM
    Vice President Biden , Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, and President Martelly of Haiti on behalf of CARICOM deliver statements to the press
    Trinidad and Tobago

    3:55 PM
    President Obama arrives White House

    4:00 PM
    4:30 PM
    4:30 pm
    President Obama meets with Secretary of Defense Hagel

    5:00 PM
    5:30 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks at the AAPI Heritage Month Celebration
    East Room

    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM
    Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden arrive in Rio de Janeiro
    Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport

  8. Tuesday, May 28

    Vice President Biden is welcomed to Trinidad and Tobago’

    Vice President Biden meets with Trinidad and Tobago’s President Carmona and Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar

    Vice President Biden participates in a meeting and working lunch with a number of other Caribbean leaders

    Vice President Biden , Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, and President Martelly of Haiti on behalf of CARICOM deliver statements to the press
    Trinidad and Tobago

    Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden arrive in Rio de Janeiro
    Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport

    • Biden coming to T&T

      May 8, 2013 at 10:06 PM ECT By Ria Taitt: Political Editor – trinidadexpress.com/

      US Vice-President Joseph Biden yesterday announced that he will visit Trinidad and Tobago during the week of May 26 as part of his travel in the region.

      Biden also said he looks forward to meeting with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

      He also said he is eager to meet with other Caribbean leaders, whom Persad-Bissessar has invited to come to Port of Spain, to discuss inclusive economic growth, development, energy and security cooperation throughout the Caribbean basin.

      A release from the White House, forwarded by the US Embassy in Port of Spain, stated that Biden and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, will travel to Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

      “In each country, the Vice-President will meet with key leaders to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues.

      “In Brazil, he looks forward to the opportunity to meet with President Rousseff and Vice-President Temer and discuss ways to deepen our economic and commercial partnership and further our engagement on the broad array of bilateral, regional, and global issues that connect our two countries.”

      “In Colombia, the Vice-President will meet with President Santos to build on security relations and focus on ways to further the prosperity of our two countries.

      “In Trinidad and Tobago, the Vice-President looks forward to meeting with Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar as well as leaders of other Caribbean countries, whom Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar has graciously offered to invite. This trip will be an important chance to discuss our collective efforts to promote economic growth and development, access to energy and our ongoing collaboration on citizen security,” the release said.

      Persad-Bissessar said in a statement she welcomes the visit of Biden and his wife to Trinidad and Tobago. The Prime Minister confirmed that she had invited regional heads to discuss collective efforts to promote economic growth, energy interdependence and development in the region.

      US Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Smitham said, “The visit of Vice-President Biden is a recognition on the part of the US government of the importance of our partnership with the Caribbean region. We look forward to a warm and productive visit in Trinidad and Tobago with Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and to engagement in Port of Spain with other Caribbean leaders. This is an excellent opportunity to reflect on what we have accomplished together since President Obama’s visit in 2009 (for the Fifth Summit of the Americas), and look ahead to continued cooperation. And we know Vice-President Biden will enjoy a very warm welcome from the people of T&T.”

      For more: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Biden-coming-to-TT-206696121.html

  9. Obama’s Tuesday: The Jersey Shore with Chris Christie

    5/23/13 7:26 PM EDT By REID J. EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

    President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are getting back together for another tour of the Jersey Shore.

    Obama will travel to New Jersey on Tuesday to inspect the Shore’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy, a White House official said Thursday.

    While in New Jersey, Obama will deliver remarks about “expanding economic opportunity for middle class families who were hard hit by the storm” and meet with residents who have benefited from the federal recovery efforts.

    For more: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/05/obamas-tuesday-the-jersey-shore-with-chris-christie-164707.html

  10. May 23, 2013

    Children Affected by Hurricane Sandy to Join First Lady Michelle Obama for the Summer Harvest of the White House Kitchen Garden

    Mrs. Obama will be joined by children from New Jersey communities that were affected by Hurricane Sandy, as well as children who helped plant the garden in April

    Washington, DC – On Tuesday, May 28, at 1:30 PM ET, First Lady Michelle Obama will join school children from across the country to harvest the summer crop from the White House Kitchen Garden. For this harvest, the First Lady invited children from two New Jersey communities that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. The First Lady also invited back all the children who helped plant the garden in April so they could see the fruits of their labors. She will be joined by students from Somerville, MA; Knox County, TN; Milton, VT and Washington, DC.

    Mrs. Obama planted a vegetable garden on the South Lawn to initiate a national conversation around the health and wellbeing of our nation – a conversation that evolved into her Let’s Move! initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.

  11. Trail of Tears

    May 28, 1830, The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by Andrew Jackson authorizing the president to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders. A few tribes went peacefully, but many resisted the relocation policy. During the fall and winter of 1838 and 1839, the Cherokees were forcibly moved west by the United States government. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees died on this forced march, which became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

  12. Home Prices in U.S. Rise by Most Since 2006 in March

    May 28, 2013 6:16 AM PT By Lorraine Woellert – bloomberg

    Home prices rose in the 12 months through March by the most in seven years as the recovery in residential real estate gained momentum.

    The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values increased 10.9 percent from March 2012, the biggest 12-month gain since April 2006, after advancing 9.4 percent in February, a report showed today in New York. The median projection of 30 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 10.2 percent advance.

    Property values may keep climbing as cheaper borrowing costs and gains in confidence lure buyers while the number of houses on the market remains near the lowest level in a decade. Rising prices are shoring up household finances, which could give a lift to sales at retailers including Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSM) (WSM), and help builders such as PulteGroup Inc (PHM).

    “We have a continued gradual recovery,” said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist for Societe Generale in New York, who projected a 10.6 percent increase, the highest forecast in the Bloomberg survey. “The data is solid.”

    Stock-index futures held earlier gains after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in June rose 0.9 percent to 1,665.1 at 9:15 a.m. in New York.

    Bloomberg survey estimates ranged from increases of 9.3 percent to 10.6 percent. The S&P/Case-Shiller index is based on a three-month average, which means the March data were influenced by transactions in January and February.

    February’s reading was revised from a previously reported 9.3 percent gain.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-28/home-prices-in-u-s-rise-in-year-ended-march-by-most-since-2006.html

  13. Consumer Confidence in U.S. Rises to Highest Since February 2008

    May 28, 2013 7:00 AM PT By Jeanna Smialek – bloomberg

    Confidence among U.S. consumers climbed in May to the highest level in more than five years as views on the economy and labor market improved.

    The Conference Board’s index rose to 76.2, the strongest since February 2008 and exceeding the highest estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists, from a revised 69 in April, data from the New York-based private research group showed today. The median forecast called for an increase to 71.2.

    The gain in sentiment coincides with rising property values and stocks that are providing a boost for household balance sheets at the same time the job market heals. Further improvement in Americans’ outlooks may encourage a pickup in consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

    “Equity market strength and particularly job growth, that’s really the key,” David Sloan, senior economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York, said before the report. “The economy and confidence will move up together. As employment grows, people can feel more secure in spending.”

    Forecasts (CONCCONF) of the 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg ranged from 65 to 76 after a previously reported 68.1 in April. The measure averaged 53.7 in the recession that ended in June 2009.

    The Conference Board’s gauge of consumer present conditions advanced to 66.7 in May, the highest since May 2008, from 61 a month earlier. The measure of expectations for the next six months jumped to 82.4, the highest since October, from 74.3.

    Those expecting business conditions to improve in the next six months climbed to 19.2 percent in May, the highest since November, from 17.2 percent the prior month.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-28/consumer-confidence-in-u-s-rises-to-highest-since-february-2008.html

    • May 28, 2013

      Remarks by the First Lady at White House Kitchen Garden Harvest

      Kitchen Garden

      1:24 P.M. EDT

      MRS. OBAMA: Hey! What’s going on? How are you guys doing?

      CHILDREN: Good!

      MRS. OBAMA: It’s exciting! Look! Look what you did — it grew! It’s very exciting.

      Well, welcome back. We’ve got a few things going on here. We’ve got a handful of kids who are brand new and I will say hello to them, but we’ve got kids who are returning who helped from schools who actually helped us plant the garden — and I’m going to list you. And when I list your school, I want you to scream so I know where you are.

      Sarah Moore Green Magnet Academy, where are you? (Applause.) Is that a scream? Let’s try that again. Sarah Moore Green Magnet Academy. (Applause.) That’s good. And to your principals, teachers, administrators, parents who are here, let’s here it from you guys as well. (Applause.) That’s some screaming — that’s some screaming.

      We’ve got the Arthur D. Healey School from Somerville, Massachusetts — where are you guys? (Applause.) Yes! And where are your teachers, principals, administrators, parents? (Applause.) Welcome. Yes, yes.

      And then we’ve got Milton Elementary School from Milton, Vermont. (Applause.) Oh, come on, you guys. Come on, Milton — let me hear it. (Applause.) Are you hungry already? You’re running out of energy?

      Well, it’s good to have you guys back. Thank you for being here. You see — how many kids who are here actually helped me plant? All of you guys — you guys — isn’t it amazing how the garden has grown? It’s just terrific.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/28/remarks-first-lady-white-house-kitchen-garden-harvest

    • May 28, 2013

      Remarks by the President in Asbury Park, NJ

      Asbury Park Convention Hall
      Asbury Park, New Jersey

      1:26 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, New Jersey! (Applause.) It is good to be back in Jersey.

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!

      THE PRESIDENT: I love you back! (Applause.)

      Let me, first of all, say thank you to Governor Christie for that introduction and the great work he’s done here. (Applause.) Your Mayor, Ed Johnson, is here as well and has been working tirelessly on your behalf. (Applause.) We’ve got three great representatives in Congress from New Jersey — Rush Holt, Frank Pallone, Donald Payne, Jr. (Applause.)

      Now, last week, my advisors asked me — they said, Mr. President, do you want to spend next Tuesday in Washington, or would you rather spend it at the Jersey Shore? (Applause.) And I’ve got to say I’ve got to make some tough decisions as President, but this wasn’t one of them. (Laughter.)

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)

      THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. (Applause.)

      Governor Christie and I just spent some time on the Point Pleasant boardwalk. I got a chance to see the world’s tallest sandcastle being built. We played some Touchdown Fever — I got to say, Christie got it in the tire the first try — (laughter) — although I did pay for his throws. (Laughter.) I played a little Frog Bog, and Governor Christie’s kids taught me the right technique for hitting the hammer to get those frogs in the buckets the way I was supposed to. (Laughter.) And, of course, I met with folks who are still rebuilding after Sandy.

      Now, we all understand there’s still a lot of work to be done. There are homes to rebuild. There are businesses to reopen. There are landmarks and beaches and boardwalks that aren’t all the way back yet. But thanks to the hard work of an awful lot of people, we’ve got wonderful shops and restaurants and arcades that are opening their doors. And I saw what thousands of Americans saw over Memorial Day Weekend: You are stronger than the storm. (Applause.) After all you’ve dealt with, after all you’ve been through, the Jersey Shore is back and it is open for business, and they want all Americans to know that they’re ready to welcome you here. (Applause.)

      And I’ve got to say, if they ever let me have any fun, I’d have some fun here. (Laughter and applause.) I was telling my staff on the ride over, I could see being a little younger — (laughter) — and having some fun on the Jersey Shore. (Applause.) I can’t do that anymore. (Laughter.) Maybe after I leave office. (Laughter and applause.)

      I think a friend of mine from here once put it pretty well: “Down the shore, everything’s all right.” (Applause.) He’s the only guy a President still has to call “The Boss.” (Laughter.) Other than the First Lady. (Laughter.)

      But for generations, that’s what this place has been about. Life isn’t always easy. We’re a people who have to work hard and do what it takes to provide for our families — but when you come here, everything’s all right. And whether you spend a lifetime here, or a weekend, or a summer, the Shore holds a special place in your heart and a special place in America’s mythology, America’s memory.

      When I was here seven months ago, Hurricane Sandy had just hammered communities all across the East Coast, and lives were lost, and homes and businesses were destroyed, and folks were hurting. And I remember something Chris said back then. He said, “We cannot permit that sorrow to replace the resilience that I know all New Jerseyans have.”

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, we do!

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/28/remarks-president-asbury-park-nj

    • May 28, 2013

      Remarks to the Press by Vice President Joe Biden in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

      REMARKS BY VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN,
      IN STATEMENT TO THE PRESS

      Diplomatic Center
      Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

      3:47 P.M. AST

      VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you very much. Good afternoon, everyone. Mr. President, Madam Prime Minister, distinguished leaders of Caribbean countries, I want to thank you all — and I mean all of you — for what for me was a very fruitful and good meeting. I learned a great deal, and I’ve also learned we have a lot more work to do together.

      And I want to thank all the leaders who traveled here. Madam Prime Minister, you hosted this. We contacted you on a relatively short notice — all of you — to see if you’d be willing — President Obama asked me if I had an opportunity whether I’d have a chance to meet with each of you, and I thank you for your hospitality and doing it on such short notice.

      I’m here because President Obama wanted me to have an opportunity to dialogue with all of you and because our country is deeply invested and wants to become more deeply invested in a partnership with all the nations of the Caribbean.

      Our search for growth, jobs and affordable supplies of energy, our fight against transnational crime, and the protection of our climate and our environment — all of these issues, all of these issues have no respect for borders and they affect all of our borders. They directly affect the people of my country and each and every one of yours.

      Economically, the President and I are aware that island nations face special difficulties. The cost of doing business can be higher. Goods are more expensive. And in a globalized world, everything can become more attenuated. And so through Caribbean Basin Initiative, we’ve eliminated tariffs on 85 percent of your goods, and now we’re looking for additional ways — and you’ve discussed some of them with me today — to help create growth and diversity in the economies within the Caribbean.

      Today I will sign, on behalf of my country, a trade and investment framework agreement with the Caribbean community that will give us all a vehicle — a vehicle to overcome special, specific, practical barriers to trade and investment, and accommodate those changes as rapidly as possible.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/28/remarks-press-vice-president-joe-biden-port-spain-trinidad-and-tobago

    • May 28, 2013

      Remarks by the President at AAPI Heritage Month Celebration

      East Room

      5:48 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you so much. Aloha!

      AUDIENCE: Aloha!

      THE PRESIDENT: Welcome to the White House, everybody. And thank you, Joan, for the introduction. And I want to thank everybody who’s here — the incredible warmth of the reception. A sign of the warmth is the lipstick on my collar. (Laughter.) I have to say I think I know the culprit — where is Jessica Sanchez? (Laughter.) Jessica — it wasn’t Jessica. It was her aunt. Where is she? (Laughter.) Auntie, right there. Look at this. (Laughter.) Look at this. I just want everybody to witness. (Laughter.) So I do not want to be in trouble with Michelle. (Laughter.) That’s why I’m calling you out right in front of everybody. (Laughter.)

      We are here today to honor the incredibly rich heritage and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. And there’s no better example of that diversity than the people who are in this room. We’ve got members of Congress; we’ve got members of my administration; we’ve got lots of special guests and talented performers.

      And every day, we’re reminded of the many ways in which Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders have all contributed and enriched our nation throughout our history. Obviously for me, I don’t have to look any further than my own family. I’ve got my brother-in-law here, Konrad, who is — (applause) — Konrad Ng, who’s heading up the Smithsonian Asian American Center — it probably has a longer name than that. (Laughter.) My sister, Maya; their beautiful daughters — my nieces, Suhaila and Savita.

      I can think back on my college years when my roommates were Indian and Pakistanis, which is how I learned how to cook keema and dal. (Laughter and applause.) Very good. And of course, I can dig back into my own memories of growing up in Hawaii and in Indonesia. And so certainly it’s been a central part of my life, the entire Asia Pacific region.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/28/remarks-president-aapi-heritage-month-celebration

  14. Wednesday, May 29

    Vice President Biden is welcomed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Dr Jill Biden visits the Coletivo Varejo program.
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Vice President Biden delivers remarks on the U.S.-Brazil partnership
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Vice President Biden tours a Petrobras site
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Vice President Biden meets with Petrobras officials and Brazilian officials to discuss issues related to the future of energy and discuss our energy cooperation, security and social inclusion.
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    • May 29, 2013

      Remarks by the Vice President on U.S.-Brazil Relations, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

      Pier Maua
      Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

      12:24 P.M. (Local)

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you all, very, very much. And, sir, I may need to borrow you hat before this is over.

      Ladies and gentlemen, I’m delighted to be here and impressed to see such a large crowd. Everyone I’ve spoken to so far in Rio keeps apologizing for the weather. This is wonderful as far as I’m concerned. (Laughter.)

      It’s a truly — I need not tell anyone here, this is truly a marvelous, marvelous city. And it’s not just the welcoming spirit of the Brazilian people or the mix of cultures and ethnicities, it’s the vibrancy, the inclusive democracy; seizing the opportunities that you all can taste and feel and smell that portend for a future that’s even brighter than what exists today.

      I’ve been traveling across the Americas, and I find something interesting. I’ve been doing this job a long, long time as you can tell; I’m a very old man. But I was elected when I was 29 years told to the United States Senate, and my portfolio has been American foreign policy. So I’ve traveled the hemisphere and the world over the last 40 years. And it’s astounding to see the transformation that not only Brazil has gone through, but that the hemisphere is going through.

      Political conflicts are now most often resolved at the ballot box. Democratic elections are the norm, not the exception. There are now 275 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean who are part of the middle class. If you look at it in perspective of the last three, four decades, it’s truly astounding. Things are changing. The economies of the region are growing. Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, members of the G20. Brazil is about to become the director general of the WTO.

      There’s a new sense of dynamism across the Americas. In the 1990s, we began in talking about Europe — as I traveled Europe in my capacity as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee with a focus on Europe, we talked about after the Wall came down, the promise of a Europe for the first time since the nation state, a Europe that was whole, free and at peace. Well, today I think we can say with some degree of certainty that we can envision the Americas — the Americas which are middle class, secure, democratic from the Arctic Circle to the Straits of Magellan.

      In the U.S. the discussion is no longer what it was when I was first elected as a young man: What could we do for the Americas? That’s long since gone. The issue now is: What can we do together? What can we do together?

      And President Obama and I believe that the times present an incredible opportunity for a new era of relations between the United States and the Americas. We’ve never had so many capable partners. And American attitudes have changed as well. But none — no partner is more significant in this endeavor than Brazil.

      The size of these new opportunities, of the middle class, a secure and democratic region requires broader, deeper relationships with this great country and quite frankly all the countries in the hemisphere. And that’s not going to happen without sustained interaction and consultation.

      That’s why I’m here in Brazil today. That’s why the President has asked me to extend an invitation to your President who I’ll be meeting tomorrow to come to the United States in October for the only state visit that will occur in Washington this year.

      Ladies and gentlemen, that’s why the President has visited recently Mexico, Costa Rica. That’s why he’s made six trips to Latin America and the Caribbean, and that’s why I’ve traveled within the Americas on four separate occasions, why I met yesterday with the CARICOM nations; before that, with President Santos in Bogota. And the President has asked me to — future trips in the fall and into the winter. It’s real simple: We want to engage more. We think there’s great opportunity. We’re optimistic.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/29/remarks-vice-president-us-brazil-relations-rio-de-janeiro-brazil

  15. Thursday, May 30

    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden meet with U.S. Embassy staff and families in Brasília, Brazil

    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden meet with U.S. Embassy staff and families in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    • May 29, 2013

      Remarks by the Vice President on U.S.-Brazil Relations, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

      Pier Maua
      Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

      12:24 P.M. (Local)

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you all, very, very much. And, sir, I may need to borrow you hat before this is over.

      Ladies and gentlemen, I’m delighted to be here and impressed to see such a large crowd. Everyone I’ve spoken to so far in Rio keeps apologizing for the weather. This is wonderful as far as I’m concerned. (Laughter.)

      It’s a truly — I need not tell anyone here, this is truly a marvelous, marvelous city. And it’s not just the welcoming spirit of the Brazilian people or the mix of cultures and ethnicities, it’s the vibrancy, the inclusive democracy; seizing the opportunities that you all can taste and feel and smell that portend for a future that’s even brighter than what exists today.

      I’ve been traveling across the Americas, and I find something interesting. I’ve been doing this job a long, long time as you can tell; I’m a very old man. But I was elected when I was 29 years told to the United States Senate, and my portfolio has been American foreign policy. So I’ve traveled the hemisphere and the world over the last 40 years. And it’s astounding to see the transformation that not only Brazil has gone through, but that the hemisphere is going through.

      Political conflicts are now most often resolved at the ballot box. Democratic elections are the norm, not the exception. There are now 275 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean who are part of the middle class. If you look at it in perspective of the last three, four decades, it’s truly astounding. Things are changing. The economies of the region are growing. Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, members of the G20. Brazil is about to become the director general of the WTO.

      There’s a new sense of dynamism across the Americas. In the 1990s, we began in talking about Europe — as I traveled Europe in my capacity as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee with a focus on Europe, we talked about after the Wall came down, the promise of a Europe for the first time since the nation state, a Europe that was whole, free and at peace. Well, today I think we can say with some degree of certainty that we can envision the Americas — the Americas which are middle class, secure, democratic from the Arctic Circle to the Straits of Magellan.

      In the U.S. the discussion is no longer what it was when I was first elected as a young man: What could we do for the Americas? That’s long since gone. The issue now is: What can we do together? What can we do together?

      And President Obama and I believe that the times present an incredible opportunity for a new era of relations between the United States and the Americas. We’ve never had so many capable partners. And American attitudes have changed as well. But none — no partner is more significant in this endeavor than Brazil.

      The size of these new opportunities, of the middle class, a secure and democratic region requires broader, deeper relationships with this great country and quite frankly all the countries in the hemisphere. And that’s not going to happen without sustained interaction and consultation.

      That’s why I’m here in Brazil today. That’s why the President has asked me to extend an invitation to your President who I’ll be meeting tomorrow to come to the United States in October for the only state visit that will occur in Washington this year.

      Ladies and gentlemen, that’s why the President has visited recently Mexico, Costa Rica. That’s why he’s made six trips to Latin America and the Caribbean, and that’s why I’ve traveled within the Americas on four separate occasions, why I met yesterday with the CARICOM nations; before that, with President Santos in Bogota. And the President has asked me to — future trips in the fall and into the winter. It’s real simple: We want to engage more. We think there’s great opportunity. We’re optimistic.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/29/remarks-vice-president-us-brazil-relations-rio-de-janeiro-brazil

  16. Friday, May 31
    Vice President Biden meets with Brazilian President Rousseff and with Vice President Temer
    Brasilia, Brazil

    Vice President Biden holds a bilateral meeting with Brazilian President Rousseff
    Brasilia, Brazil

    • May 31, 2013

      Remarks to the Press by Vice President Biden and Brazilian Vice President Temer

      Diplomatic Center
      Brasilia, Brazil

      1:08 P.M. (Local)

      VICE PRESIDENT TEMER: (As interpreted) It’s my pleasure to welcome Vice President Joe Biden.

      And on a more personal note, I’d like to say that some time ago as a representative of Brazil at taking office of the President of Mexico, I was happy to sit next to Vice President Biden. And there we had the opportunity to have a long conversation at the time, at a Latin America dinner there, for a very long dinner. So we had the opportunity to talk about many issues that are of interest to Brazil and the U.S.

      And particularly at the personal level, both of us were from the legal field, and we had the opportunity to exchange a lot of ideas on that occasion. And I think that has strengthened our ties of friendship I believe between myself and Vice President Biden.

      And it is precisely within the context of growing and closer ties between Brazil and the U.S., and that’s the setting for the visit of Vice President Biden, following the visit paid by President Obama, and followed by a trip of President Dilma to the United States. And now in July, President Dilma will pay a state visit.

      And as you may know, a state visit is a very special visit to the United States. And that is done only once a year. That’s the information I have received. And that reveals — that shows the importance of the relationship between Brazil and the U.S. and also the closer relationship between the U.S. and Brazil.

      And I say so to you, the members of the press, that it’s very often said that we in Brazil have had — have kept a very close relationship with African and South American and the Arabian countries. And that is true because we did build those closer ties. But we have not withdrawn from a very close relationship with the United States of America. We also — because the bilateral trade between Brazil and the U.S. is a very close one after our — second only to China — and the relationship — trade relationship between Brazil and the U.S. And so we are both sides very much interested in strengthening these ties, the commercial ties, which are being strengthened by these visits I have just mentioned.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/31/remarks-press-vice-president-biden-and-brazilian-vice-president-temer

    • June 05, 2013

      Op-Ed by Vice President Joe Biden in The Wall Street Journal: The Americas Ascendant

      The following op-ed by Vice President Joe Biden appeared today in print in The Wall Street Journal.

      Biden: The Americas Ascendant
      The spread of free trade and democracy has been a boon to the hemisphere.
      By Vice President Joe Biden

      Last week, during a five-day trip through Latin America and the Caribbean, I visited a cut-flower farm outside Bogota, Colombia, an hour’s drive from downtown that would have been impossibly dangerous 10 years ago. Along the way I passed office parks, movie theaters and subdivisions, interspersed with small ranches and family businesses. At the flower farm, one-quarter of the workers are female heads of households. The carnations and roses they were clipping would arrive in U.S. stores within days, duty free.

      What I saw on the flower farm was just one sign of the economic blossoming in the year since a U.S. free-trade agreement with Colombia went into force. Over that period, American exports to the country are up 20%.

      The U.S. experience with Colombia reflects a larger economic boom across the Western Hemisphere that offers many exciting partnership opportunities for American business. In Rio de Janeiro, I met with Brazilian and American business leaders—representing the aerospace, energy, construction and manufacturing sectors—who laid out a remarkable vision for prosperity that spans the Americas. As these business leaders made clear, Latin America today is a region transformed. Elections that once were exceptions are now largely the norm. In a growing number of places, conflicts between left and right have given way to peaceful, practical governance. And in the process, Latin America’s middle class has grown 50% in the past decade alone. By some estimates, it is nearly the size of China’s.

      There is enormous potential—economically, politically and socially—for the U.S. in its relations with countries of the Western Hemisphere. And so the Obama administration has launched the most sustained period of U.S. engagement with the Americas in a long, long time—including the president’s travel to Mexico and Costa Rica last month; my own recent trip to Colombia, Trinidad, and Brazil; Secretary of State Kerry’s participation in the Organization of American States’ annual meeting in Guatemala; the president of Chile’s visit to Washington this week and a planned visit to Washington by the president of Peru. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff arrives in Washington in October for the first state visit of the second term.

      As leaders across the region work to lift their citizens out of poverty and to diversify their economies from commodity-led growth, the U.S. believes that the greatest promise—for Americans and for our neighbors—lies in deeper economic integration and openness.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/06/05/op-ed-vice-president-joe-biden-wall-street-journal-americas-ascendant

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