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Colombia and the United States: Partners in Security, Partners in Prosperity

Recorded on December 3, 2007

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, a staunch ally of the United States and supporter of market-based democracy, has been fighting with great courage and success since 2002 to build a more democratic and prosperous Colombia.  Under Uribe, rates in Colombia for murder, inflation, unemployment and poverty have all fallen dramatically, while economic growth, exports and investment are flourishing.  Next-door neighbor Hugo Chavez is taking Venezuela down the exact opposite path, imperiling both Colombia and the entire Andean region.  To bolster prosperity and security for both the United States and Latin America, Congress must continue to assist and engage one of America's closest friends in Latin America.

Carlos M. Gutierrez is the 35th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the voice of business in government.  Secretary Gutierrez oversees a diverse Cabinet agency with some 38,000 workers and a $6.5 billion budget focused on promoting American business at home and abroad.  A top priority for Secretary Gutierrez is opening global markets for U.S. companies so they can continue innovating and competing to build a stronger American economy.  Born in Havana, Cuba in 1953, he came to the United States with his family in 1960.  In 1975 he joined Kellogg as a sales representative.  Rising to President and Chief Executive Officer in 1999, he was the youngest CEO in the company's nearly 100-year history.