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Jill Biden uses her soft diplomacy to make the case for partnering with the US during three-country Latin America tour | News – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona 2022-05-23 09:14:00 –

First Edition: May 23, 22 08:07 ET

Kate Bennett, CNN

(CNN)- First Lady Jill Byden Monday rap 6-day 3-country tour The Latin American agenda is sometimes subtle and sometimes with direct intent, The United States has that advantage.

“Alone, you can only do so much. All of us can do so much,” Biden said Thursday at the Ecuadorian presidential residence. “That’s what I want to talk about today. How can we make our country and our world stronger when we work together?”

Biden addressed issues related to democracy, growth and political freedom in the three capitals of Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica, and spoke on similar themes. Her mission was to strengthen relations with allies in areas full of corruption and immigration issues. This is a controversial topic in her husband’s administration in her hometown.

Federal Judge of Louisiana on Friday Blocked the Biden administration By ending the Trump-era pandemic restrictions known as Title 42 on the US-Mexico border, it blocked plans to end the controversial public health authorities. Since his inauguration, the Biden administration has continued to rely on Title 42, a public health authority that was launched at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, allowing border authorities to alienate immigrants at the US-Mexico border.

yet Jill Biden’s message on South America and Central America Travel was not “not coming” Vice President Kamala Harris contacted frankly during his visit last June. To Mexico and Guatemala. Instead, Biden’s tone was closer to “stay where you are and enjoy the benefits of US relations.”

“”[Biden] Kate Andersen Blower, CNN contributor and author of “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern,” said: First ladies. “

Throughout her trip this week, the first woman interspersed her stops with gifts of funding, announcements of aid, and promises of aid from the United States, combining sweet spots and warnings of a hilarious partnership-recently. In the world of ongoing and perhaps future challenges-it’s better to put the United States in your corner than not.

“Injustice and corruption, poverty and pollution, illness and despair. They are not contained at the border,” Biden personally met with him on the podium in Ecuador, right next to the country’s president, Guillermo Lasso. rice field. One hour before that day.

“If we’ve learned anything from the Covid-19 pandemic over the last few years of illness and sadness, it’s how one deadly virus travels the world. How hunger and violence interweave. How the war in Europe spills over into stocks Markets and supermarkets. And where the loss of trees in your Amazon can rob us all of a part of the future. “

Quiet diplomacy behind the scenes

Biden left Ecuador the next day after lighting a candle and visiting Quito’s largest church with the First Lady Maria de Lourdes Arcival de Lasso.

But what the well-meaning photography operation did not reveal was a new conversation about margins between State Department officials and the Ecuadorian government, an opportunity for the necessary behind-the-scenes involvement offered by the first women’s trip.

Negotiations are currently underway with Ecuador on a bilateral agreement on migration and protection with countries throughout the region, US officials involved in the talks told CNN.

“Ecuador accepts a large number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees,” officials said. “We also discussed the importance of protecting this vulnerable group.”

“More than 6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants have been displaced, making it the second-largest external evacuation crisis in the world,” said a Department of Homeland Security official.

Seventeen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean host about 80% of this Venezuelan diaspora, including the majority of Ecuador. Costa Rica, a country of only 5 million people, has accepted about 150,000 Nicaraguan migrants and is fleeing from other countries with weak political conditions, officials said.

“The First Lady is the most prominent woman in American politics,” Blower said. “By showing her interest in another region and using the unique soft power of her position to promote American values ​​and democracy, she strengthens and even heals her relationships. I can.”

Blower also noted that the position of First Lady, especially Biden, is becoming more and more influential in high stakes diplomatic scenarios.

“There is a general acceptance that the First Lady has the gravity and influence to travel to areas of importance to the United States,” Brower said.

“Diplomacy is about relationships”

In Panama on Saturday, when visiting the HIV / AIDS shelter home funded by the US PEPFAR program, First Lady added another 8,090 to PEPFAR in the region, including Panama’s $ 12.2 million devoted to HIV expansion. Announced 10,000 dollars. / According to AIDS service and treatment, Biden spokesman Michael La Rosa.

“I see this wonderful community. I understand how hard you are working. Perhaps with the additional funding we announce today, I hope it makes a difference to you.” According to statistics provided by the East Wing, a roundtable at a shelter listens to the needs of communities that receive little financial support for HIV / AIDS from their governments.

The involvement of the PEPFAR program took place long before Biden’s visit, according to White House officials, but the announcement at the center was seen as a surprise.

Anita McBride, director of the First Lady Initiative at American University and former Chief of Staff of Laura Bush, said:

In Costa Rica, the third and final destination of the tour, Biden had dinner with Costa Rica’s new President Rodrigo Chavez at the US Ambassador’s residence on Saturday night. Recently caught up in a sexual harassment scandal from his year at the World Bank, his wife, First Lady Signe Zeicate.

Zeicate met Biden’s plane at the airport that afternoon, welcoming Americans in a hug and attending Saturday and Sunday events.

“Diplomacy is a relationship. (Biden) builds a relationship with the first spouse. It’s important. It helps to break the ice and establish some degree of familiarity with each other, and in a private moment the husband’s We share our position. They build a greater mutual understanding. Hopefully, “McBride said.

At the San Jose National Children’s Hospital on Sunday, Zykate was sitting in the front row of the small room Biden was talking about. In a statement to gathered media and local government officials, First Lady dropped the news that the national public health authorities had recently entered into a memorandum of understanding between the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. This will boost research, according to Larosa. Availability and “Help Costa Rican children access life-saving cancer treatments.”

“No country can beat cancer alone,” Biden said. “We all need to work together.”

Biden was introduced to Cynthia Theres in Costa Rica by the US Ambassador.

“It’s important to note that the First Lady’s visit to Costa Rica helped complete the agreement,” Telles said.

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