This year, people across our hemisphere will celebrate the “Year of the Bicentennial.” Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico are marking 200 years of independence. All of us across the Americas are joining together to honor our shared history and the values of democracy, diversity, and tolerance that form our common heritage.
In the last year, our hemisphere has been challenged -- from Honduras to Haiti to Chile. And our ability to respond to these crises as a community has been tested. But we have met these challenges together, with faith in our institutions, confidence in our values, and compassion for our friends and neighbors.
We must strive to carry that same spirit of cooperation beyond times of crisis in order to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities facing the people of the Americas. There is so much we can learn from each other and so much we can accomplish together. We can encourage broad-based prosperity, champion democracy and human rights, and ensure that every child born in the Americas has the opportunity to fulfill his or her God-given potential.
This “Year of the Bicentennial” is a time to honor our past while we look to the future -- as we continue on our common journey to create better lives for our citizens and even stronger ties between our nations. On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, congratulations and best wishes.