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Remarks by Marcos Mandojana Chargé d’Affaires to Bolivia Fourth of July (Santa Cruz)
July 12, 2023

Marcos Mandojana
Marcos Mandojana

Thank you so much Cecilia and Joe for your remarks!

Good evening and welcome! It is a great honor for me to be here with you in Santa Cruz as we celebrate the 247th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America.  This year we are highlighting the sights, sounds, and food of the iconic city of Miami– a city with a strong Latin feel, and close to Santa Cruz in many ways.  Both cities are known for being open and welcoming.  As I have been able to verify in this my first trip to Santa Cruz: “Es ley del cruceño la hospitalidad!”  I thank you for welcoming us with such kindness and warmth!

I also want to extend a warm welcome to Miami to world champion Lionel Messi, who arrived in Florida this week with his family but was unable to be with us tonight because he will be introduced as a new Inter Miami player this Sunday.

I would like to begin by recognizing our distinguished guests, who include representatives of the Santa Cruz government, partners from the private sector and civil society, youth leaders, and many other friends.  Thanks for being with us. I would also like to express our special gratitude to our corporate sponsors connected to the United States and to our embassy staff for making this beautiful celebration possible.

Today, we invite you to join our U.S. 4th of July traditions by celebrating democracy, freedom, independence, and justice: the fundamental values that the United States has strived to uphold and strengthen for nearly two and a half centuries.

And today, as we commemorate our freedom and independence, we cannot forget the Ukrainian people who, with immense courage, continue to defend their sovereignty, territory, freedom, and democracy in the face of the brutal Russian invasion that has destroyed tens of thousands of families and damaged the global economy.  The United States and the vast majority of the world stand united with the people of Ukraine. 

The United States Declaration of Independence emphasizes that we all have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This declaration continues to be, for us, our national ideal.  As Americans, we aspire to treat everyone with dignity and respect, to reject hate and bias, and to provide equal opportunity for all people.  However, as President Biden has said, “democracy is hard work” and the job is “never finished,” so we will continue to strive to advance our aspirations. 

Although I just arrived in Bolivia 18 days ago, it is very clear to me that Bolivians share these same values and these same aspirations.  Justice, freedom of expression, diversity, inclusion, mutual respect, and human rights are important to Bolivians and Americans alike.

Many of you here today have dedicated your lives to protecting democracy and improving the lives of your fellow citizens.  Whether you are a youth activist, an indigenous community leader, a journalist, or an entrepreneur, your voices are important.  We are proud to stand with you.

The United States is also committed to ensuring that everyone has access to education and decent jobs.  Together, we can increase trade and investment opportunities that will benefit both Bolivians and Americans and contribute to sustainable growth.

Trade between Bolivia and the United States surpassed $1 billion last year.  Of all of Bolivia’s trading partners, the United States purchases the greatest variety of Bolivian national products.

We are proud that this year, the U.S. government recognized singani as a distinctive product of Bolivia. This will help increase exports of singani to the United States, its largest foreign market, and will benefit the families and communities involved in its production here in Bolivia.

Singani is just the latest example of the opportunities and benefits that are possible when the United States and Bolivian governments work together with the private sector.  And this cooperation isn’t limited to economic issues.  Whether we are talking about the climate crisis, irregular migration, human trafficking, or a pandemic… no country can address these challenges alone.  The only way to face these challenges is by working together to achieve our common goals.

We remain open to working more closely with the Bolivian government, so we do not miss more opportunities to address issues that concern Bolivians and Americans alike.  We must work at all levels – with governments, with civil society, with multilateral institutions, and others—to effectively manage the challenges we face as a global community.

Although the city of Miami may be thousands of miles away, it represents the energy and spirit that we share.  Both Santa Cruz and Miami are known for being welcoming and attracting tourists with their beautiful tropical climate.  They are enterprising and productive cities that offer unique opportunities for development and growth.  Above all, they value and respect diversity, equality, and inclusion of people, as well as protection of human rights.

As Cecilia said, the American Chamber of Commerce carries out important business exchange activities between Bolivia and the United States. And we cannot forget to mention Centro Boliviano Americano, which over the years has become much more than an English teaching center for the people of Santa Cruz to become one of the leading cultural institutions providing support to environmental and social programs in Santa Cruz today.

We are also very proud of our participation, for more than 25 years, in the Chiquitos Baroque Music Festival, supporting the performance of famous musical ensembles such as the one from the Julliard school that created a co-production with the Urubichá choir.  This important festival of music and culture also contributes to the development of the towns of Chiquitania, as it attracts tourism to the region.

We are proud of the close ties between our peoples that have strengthened the friendship between Bolivia and the United States over time.  And this evening we reaffirm our commitment to our shared values, which have been and will continue to be the engine of our friendship and cooperation.

Thank you for your leadership, your friendship, and for joining us to celebrate this important holiday.

Cheers and Happy 4th of July!