She will visit El Salvador to attend the June 1 inauguration of Salvadoran President-elect Mauricio Funes and then Honduras where she will participate in the June 2-3 annual general assembly of the Organization of American States.
The trip will be a follow-up to last month's Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago at which President Barack Obama said his administration was willing to pursue more positive relations with all nations in the Western Hemisphere.
She spoke at a meeting of the Council of Americas today where she announced her trip and noted recent hemispheric cooperation on combating the H1N1 swine flu virus.
"We need to provide people with the tools they need to fulfill their own God-given potential and empower citizens of every background to help build and participate in more equitable and just societies.U.S. ties with several Latin American countries, including Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, which are all headed by democratically elected but leftist leaders, languished during the Bush administration.
At the recently held Summit of the Americas, President Obama outlined ways in which the U.S. will engage with our partners in the region. We are not interested in rhetoric without results. We are committed to taking concrete steps to further and fulfill the summit’s agenda, and to build principled and pragmatic partnerships that move beyond “one size fits all” solutions that don’t reflect the diversity and breadth of our hemisphere. So we intend to be flexible and innovative to deliver material improvements to the lives of more people in more places.
For our part, the United States has been engaging our neighbors ... to find collaborative and effective ways to move forward in areas of urgent concern."
Earlier this month, Clinton told State Department employees that the Obama administration is looking at restoring ambassadorial-level representation and other strategies aimed at those nations. She also said the United States wants better relations with Cuba but wants evidence of reform on the communist island.
On May 1, the Secretary told State Department employees that President George W. Bush's Latin American policy had been counterproductive, allowing leftist leaders like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Bolivia's Evo Morales and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega to promote anti-U.S. sentiment and rely on aid from China, Iran and Russia.
She said the growing influence of China and Iran in those countries is "quite disturbing" and that "they are building strong economic and political connections with a lot of these leaders. I don't think that's in our interest."