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Kaine, Espaillat Emphasize Economic, Democratic Partnerships During Congressional Delegation to Costa Rica, Panama, and Dominican Republic

Photos of the lawmakers’ visits are available here

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)—a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues—and U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13)—the first Dominican American elected to Congress, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)—concluded a week of travel through Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, which are all founding members of the Alliance for Development in Democracy (ADD). Throughout their visits, the lawmakers expressed their support and appreciation for the countries’ formation of the ADD last year, which is focused on strengthening democracy and promoting economic growth between their nations. They discussed the United States’ strong partnerships with the countries and the most effective ways to bolster economic development and combat democratic backsliding throughout the region. They are also stopping in Miami, Florida today to visit with U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) service members from Virginia and New York to thank them for their service and sacrifices for the nation.

“The challenges facing our partners in the Western Hemisphere—like migration, drug trafficking, and transnational crime—directly impact Virginians and Americans across the country. It’s important that we strengthen our alliances in the region to tackle these issues and advance our national and economic security,” said Kaine. “That’s why Congressman Espaillat and I visited Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic to reinforce the importance of these relationships and learn from our counterparts there about efforts underway to cultivate stronger economic ties with the U.S. and to continue building on regional approaches to our shared challenges. Shining a spotlight on what’s working is critical to charting a course toward more economic and democratic prosperity in the Western Hemisphere. As a bloc, ADD countries represent one of our largest trading partners in the region. As such, I’m eager to take what I learned back with me to Washington and explore ways to help both the U.S. and the ADD succeed in our shared economic goals.”

“I was honored to join U.S. Senator Tim Kaine during our visit to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Panama—three countries that initiated the Alliance for Development in Democracy. During our trip, we assessed the implementation of U.S. policies advancing international security, protections for asylum seekers, and economic opportunity,” said Espaillat. “I remain encouraged through our discussions with each of the dignitaries we met and am looking forward to working with Senator Kaine and other members of Congress to ensure that the United States maintain support for a resilient and equitable Western Hemisphere.”

In Costa Rica, the lawmakers met with U.S. Ambassador Cynthia A. Telles to discuss the longstanding partnership between Costa Rica and the United States, and discuss how that relationship can be leveraged to address transnational crime, drug-trafficking, and migration issues. The lawmakers also met with NGO leaders to discuss causes of migration and the migration situation for Nicaraguans in Costa Rica. The lawmakers also met with President Chaves and National Assembly President Rodrigo Arias to discuss our strong bilateral relationship, which benefits Americans and Costa Ricans alike. Then, the lawmakers visited Intel’s only assembly and test operations plant in Latin America—a critical hub that is helping the United States strengthen the resilience of its supply chains.

They then went to Panama City, Panama where they met with Minister of Security Juan Pino and his team to discuss Panama’s response to the Venezuelan migrant crisis. They participated in a flyover tour of the Panama Canal. During the visit, they also discussed China’s efforts to exert influence in the region, as well as Panama’s economic development and the impacts of climate change on the region. They participated in a discussion on economic issues with the Panama American Chamber of Commerce, and a roundtable with UN-affiliated field workers and program implementers supporting migrant communities in Panama. The lawmakers concluded their travels in Panama with a bilateral meeting with President Laurento Cortizo Cohen to discuss joint efforts to address bilateral and regional issues.

Lastly, the lawmakers traveled to the Dominican Republic, where they met with President Luis Abinader to voice their appreciation for the strong bilateral relationship between the Dominican Republic and the United States. They also participated in briefings with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to discuss economic development and with the Ministry of Defense regarding migration and regional security initiatives directly impacting U.S. national security interests. Then Kaine and Espaillat met with various Dominican lawmakers to discuss anti-corruption efforts in the country.