Before we begin, I think it’s important to recognize that there are many bereaved families.
Our condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the terrible prison attack.
In two weeks, on the 4th of July, the United States celebrates the signing of our Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Eleven years after the signing, the United States Constitution was written.
Many people confuse our constitution with the Declaration of Independence.
Our constitution is the fundamental framework of our system of government and
divides the powers of the state between the executive, legislative, and judicial.
It should be said that our constitution ensures that none of the powers of the state have too much power.
Importantly, it also recognizes that democracy is not about unity.
Nor is it about uniformity.
Rather the complete opposite:
Democracy is about diversity and protecting the rights of minorities.
That, even when we disagree with some beliefs, cultures, practices, and rhetoric.
In America, this way of thinking is put to the test every day and has managed to stand the test of time.
However, we cannot take it for granted.
Today the world faces individuals, groups and countries that do not accept democracy and within their communities try to impose their beliefs.
With the support of Europe, the United States, and other countries around the world, Ukraine continues to fight for its sovereignty.
This attack has hurt us all.
All member countries of the United Nations must support their charter and must not allow one country to invade another.
Other global challenges come from organized crime groups that traffic migrants, drugs, weapons, and people.
These groups bring with them high levels of corruption that threaten the integrity of government institutions.
Strong governments and institutions that enjoy the trust and respect of their citizens are essential to achieve three things: security, prosperity, and democracy.
All of us who live in this hemisphere depend on each other.
This requires that we put our historical differences behind us.
And that we work together for a prosperous, secure, and democratic future for all.
Each of you contributes to this process.
Mr. Chancellor, Enrique Reina;
Presidential Appointed, Renato Florentino;
Presidential Appointed, Salvador Nasralla;
Mr. President of the National Congress, Luis Redondo;
Madam President of the Supreme Court, Mrs. Rebecca Raquel;
Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice Admiral José Fortín Aguilar;
Dear special guests.
And thanks to all the companies that sponsored this event.
Did you see the photos displayed at the entrance and on the screens?
The photos show how we unite for democracy by building a strong civil society, protecting freedom of the press and expression, the environment, and human rights.
The photos show how the 200 US companies in Honduras and Honduran companies have come together to create jobs and increase trade by a record 22 percent.
The photos show how we have come together to celebrate the diversity that enriches Honduras: from indigenous communities, and women, to the LGBTQI+ community.
Together we will enjoy the Garifuna ballet.
The photos show how Honduras and the United States have come together to promote the rule of law, fight corruption, and reduce the flow of drugs.
The photos show how our close and long-standing relationships help Honduras mitigate situations such as hurricanes, fires, and the pandemic.
They also show how our military has worked hand in hand with its Honduran counterparts to provide medical care to many patients – including the visit of the USNS Comfort.
The photos show that we have provided training to thousands of Honduran farmers.
The photos show how the Alliance for Education, working with the private sector, other international donors, and the Honduran government have rebuilt schools across the country.
The photos show how each year we have fed more than 120,000 students from vulnerable areas.
In fact, I would love to recognize someone special today: Chef Melissa Araujo.
She is here as a representative of one of our exchange programs that we organize at the embassy.
She is a Honduran-American chef living in New Orleans, the most Honduran city in the United States!
If you want to try her short ribs with pistachio and cilantro chimichurri sauce, they are on the left!
In the end, the photos show, since mid-2022 when I arrived in Honduras, how together we have started programs worth more than 800 million dollars, the equivalent of almost 20 billion Lempiras.
Do not get wrong:
The United States is here for our Honduran brothers and sisters.
People to people, supporting them so that Honduras becomes a safer, more prosperous, and democratic country.