This is a voluntary and flexible partnership that nations across this region are invited to join; a partnership that will enhance energy efficiency, improve our infrastructure, and support investments that can make energy more affordable. In doing so, we can create the jobs of the future, promote renewable sources of energy, and make the Americas a model for cooperation.
Now, meeting these challenges and seizing these opportunities will not be easy. It will not happen overnight. Our efforts to work together may be strained at times by disagreements, and one of the things that I think is going to be critical to do is to make sure that we are working with our respective teams to encourage implementation at a more granular level. Sometimes at these summits we have very lofty statements; there’s got to be follow-through across the way.
But I firmly believe that if we’re willing to break free from the arguments and ideologies of an earlier era and continue to act, as we have at this summit, with a sense of mutual responsibility and mutual respect and mutual interest, then each of our nations can come out of this challenging period stronger and more prosperous, and we can advance opportunity, equality, and security across the Americas.
So, with that, let me take some questions. I’m going to start with Edna Schmidt at Univision.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. The spotlight on your visit here was on the handshake and smiles with Hugo Chavez, but we didn’t see much interaction with some of the other leaders of the region like Daniel Ortega, Rafael Correa, or Evo Morales, who yesterday accused the United States of still interfering in its affairs and, even though it’s too soon, he says, of not seeing much of change. Did you have any private meetings with any of these leaders, and if so, can you tell us what was discussed?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I had meetings with all the leaders involved, including Daniel Ortega, who was the chairperson of the Central American meeting. I had very cordial conversations with President Morales and President Correa. And I think it’s just that President Chavez is better at positioning the cameras.
And in all these conversations, here’s what I emphasized: that we’re not going to agree on every issue, but that as long as we are respectful of democratic processes, as long as we’re respectful of principles of sovereignty for all nations, that we can find areas where we can work in common. And my sense is, if you talk to any of those leaders, that they would say that they feel encouraged about the possibility of a more constructive relationship.
Now, specifically on the Bolivia issue, I just want to make absolutely clear that I am absolutely opposed and condemn any efforts at violent overthrows of democratically elected governments, wherever it happens in the hemisphere. That is not the policy of our government. That is not how the American people expect their government to conduct themselves. And so I want to be as clear as possible on that.