On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate Colombia on the bicentennial of your independence this July 20. On my first visit to Colombia just last month, I was struck not only by the hospitality of the Colombian people and the beauty of Bogotá, but by your determination and resilience to overcome significant challenges. I hope that all Colombians celebrating this special day, whether watching the parade in Bolivar Plaza, enjoying one of the Grand Concert performances, or celebrating with family and friends, will pause to appreciate how much you have accomplished.
In the last decade, the United States and Colombia have been close partners in the region and in the world. We share common values and a respect for democratic governance, the rule of law, and self-determination. Colombia’s recent elections showed a firm commitment to the basic principles of democracy, including freedom of speech, a free and independent media, and protection of human rights. Colombia’s experience is proof that a strong democratic government that respects civil rights and individual liberties is the surest path to security and prosperity.
Bicentennials are a unique opportunity for countries to celebrate and reflect on their past, while charting a course for the future. I wish all Colombian citizens a safe and happy bicentennial celebration, and I look forward to continuing the close relationship between our countries in the next year and beyond as we work together toward a safer more prosperous world.