Panama's Independence Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 31, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Panama as you begin Fiestas Patrias celebrations on November 3.

The Republic of Panama has much to celebrate this year. You marked the 100-year anniversary of the Panama Canal. Your government created the Panama Bilingue initiative which will significantly increase educational exchanges between our two nations. And you inaugurated a new president after a spirited campaign.

I was honored to attend President Varela’s inauguration this July. I watched as thousands of Panamanians in Rommel Fernandez Stadium celebrated another peaceful transfer of power – the hallmark of a strong democracy. I visited Panama as a young Navy officer in 1969. To return to your country decades later and witness the great strides you have made in bringing prosperity to your people and building a lasting democracy is remarkable.

Alongside all Panamanians, the United States looks forward to the upcoming Summit of the Americas and the expansion of the Panama Canal. You have a pivotal role to play in helping further democratic ideals, advancing the role of civil society, protecting human rights, and expanding economic development for the benefit of all peoples of our hemisphere.

On this day of celebration, I send best wishes to all Panamanians. Felicidades!