Secretary of State
On behalf of President Obama and the citizens of the United States, I congratulate the people of Panama as you begin Fiestas Patrias celebrations on November 3.
Panama and the United States have a long, shared history of friendship and deep cultural ties. I commend President Varela for his leadership at the historic Seventh Summit of the Americas, held in Panama this past April. And I look forward next year to the opening of the Panama Canal expansion, an event that will contribute further to your country’s position among the world’s most important international shipping hubs.
I also look forward to the second year of the successful Panama Bilingüe program, which has already enabled nearly 1,000 Panamanian English teachers to study at U.S. universities. Being fluent in more than one language can be a vital competitive asset in the 21st century economy, and so we hope this program will help to open the door of opportunity for many young Panamanians.
I am confident that the United States and Panama will continue to work closely on a range of economic and security issues based on our shared commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. I know I speak for all the people of my country when I say that it is good to have friends nearby. Best wishes to the people of Panama and I hope you enjoy your Fiestas Patrias celebrations.
¡Gracias y Felicidades!