President Barack Obama heads to Mexico tomorrow, and then on to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago Friday for the 34-nation Summit of the Americas. In a press briefing earlier this week, White House advisors, including NSC senior director for Latin America Dan Restrepo, outlined the agenda for the trip. Topping the agenda, they said, Obama's efforts to show U.S. reengagement with the hemisphere, the economy, and preventing the poorest of the poor from bearing the brunt of the economic crisis, public safety concerns throughout the hemisphere, and energy/climate issues.
MR. RESTREPO: ...At the moment, the
Americas, the countries of the Americas, the included, face three baskets of shared challenges. One ... is the economic crisis and how do we rekindle economic growth and ensure that that growth is equitable economic growth; that the -- that no segments of society are left behind as the hemisphere recovers from the current economic crisis. United States
The second is the challenges of energy, our energy and climate future, and ensuring that we're moving to -- moving forward in partnerships to ensure our energy security and the climate future and ensuring that those two do not work in conflict with one another.
And third is on the question of public safety. If you ask -- if you conduct polls -- and people have -- the challenges, the principal challenge facing people in their daily lives throughout the Western Hemisphere, they will tell you it is the economy and it is public safety.
And the President believes that we can at this summit -- looking forward and in a pragmatic way of how can we confront these challenges that we face together, how can we form dynamic partnerships with countries in the hemisphere who are willing to work with the United States and willing to work with one another, to come up with concrete proposals, to share ideas, to share practices that have worked in countries, understanding that there are differences from one place to the next, but creating the kind of flexible responses, not a one-size-fits-all solution, that can address these challenges that the hemisphere as a whole faces.