From: Lucía Leal
Sent: Friday, December 2, 2016 10:43
To: Goodman, Meghan Hays K. EOP/OVP
Subject: VP pool report #1
Vice President Biden and President Santos spoke for almost an hour at the inaugural meeting of the US-Colombia Advisory Council, which gathers around 70 CEOs and representatives of the private sector of the two countries. The session was held at the Hilton hotel in Cartagena.
The Vice President spoke for 26 minutes. Some highlights:
"I don't know of any place in the world where peace has been sustained without economic growth". He said it would require "billions of dollars" for Colombia to be able to "fulfill its full potential" and "it's gonna take the full and sustained effort of the private sector to make that happen".
He, as he uses to, quoted an Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, who in 1916 wrote: "All changed, changed utterly; a terrible beauty is born". He said that describes "how fundamentally the world is changing".
"The populism you referred to in the US is an infection in Europe right now", he said after a representative from the US Chamber of Commerce alluded to the victory of Donald Trump.
He said he hasn't seen a place where "there is as much self doubt as in Europe" or "as much hope as in this hemisphere".
He said when he was a Senator he "became deeply invested in the success of Colombia". "Historians will look back at this moment and say this was a genuine new beginning. This is the time that Colombia seized its opportunities in ways many people thought would not happen.
It's been a long time coming".
He said that the Nobel commitee made "the right choice" in awarding President Santos the peace prize, and that he could think of about 7 countries who could have a change but "are lacking an individual leader con the courage to change everything, be the catalyst for that change".
"This is a moment of unmatched opportunity for Colombia", he said but cautioned that "the signing of an agreement alone" doesnt guarantee peace and that "now the hard part begins".
"This is a moment to ensure that our incoming administration hears the chorus of support from this council", he said, arguing that the CEOs from both countries have a "unique voice" to push for engagement with Colombia.
"I think you will have an outsize impact on the attitude of the incoming administration" which talks about their desire to "withdraw from the world"
"This is not the time for a withdrawal". "Between now and January, the more it can be demonstrated that this country has their act together (...) the more likely it is that policies that are basically sound will continue".
Will send Santos quotes in next pool report.
Among the guests who spoke was General Petraeus (trying to get more details as to why he was here and whether he has a role in the council). The only thing your pooler could hear from him was "It's all about productivity". Biden called him "one of our great generals".
The President of the Inter American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, was also there.
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