Fw: Travel pool report #5

From: Lee, Carol [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2015 11:16 AM
To: Allen, Jessica
Subject: Travel pool report #5

‎Pool was brought into the room for the plenary session at 10:30am. Pool was then taken back out.
‎When we were brought back in at 10:43am, POTUS was already speaking. He offered condolences to Chile.

Mr. Obama referenced his comments at first Americas summit and said "I met that commitment"

He referenced US-Cuba relations, said "It will mean...more Americans traveling to Cuba, more commerce."

He said the United States won't be tethered to the past. Said he and Castro will continue to have differences. But if the two can seize momentum both countries will benefit.

He talked about his other ‎policies in the region.

He cited his immigration executive action, said he still wants comprehensive legislation.

"The United states is focused on the future. We're not caught up in ideology, at least I'm not."

He said he's "not interested in theoretical arguments" he's interested in doing things.

Relations between US and Latin America "as good as they've ever been"

‎He said the region has to focus on economic growth, climate change, security.

Before POTUS spoke, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa had some choice words for Mr. Obama and the US.

He called the Cuba embargo "illegal" and said it must end and Guantanamo must be handed back. He also talked about how terrible American journos are.


‎After saying he's looking toward a "new chapter of engagement" with the region, he had some choice words of his own for Mr. Correa. "I always enjouythe history lessons that I receive when I'm here," he said. Said he's the first one to acknowledge the US hasn't always lived up to the standards it preaches.

"I'm certainly mindful that there are dark chapters in our history" talked about his recent visit to Selma.
"America doesn't make claim about being perfect. We do make claim to being open to change."

He said people can focus on past grievances and use US as convenient punching bag but, he said "that's not going to bring progress"

When we speak out on human rights it's not because we think we're perfect, he said.

He took a jab at Mr. Correa ‎for throwing in jail people who disagree with him. He said maybe he's confident to distinguish between good press and bad press‎ but I'm not sure one person should be deciding. Said he gets plenty of press he thinks is unfavorable to him, but those people continue to speak out in the US‎

"The Cold War's been over for a long time. I'm not interested in having battles that frankly started before I was born"

Pool was ushered out and immediately taken to family photo area. Then we were moved to a pending spray in a hallway upstairs from the plenary session.

‎Carol Lee
The Wall Street Journal

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