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Pelosi Remarks at Press Availability With President Nayib Bukele in El Salvador

August 10, 2019

San Salvador, El Salvador – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at a press availability with President Nayib Bukele during the congressional delegation’s visit to El Salvador.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.   Thank you very much.  Thank you, Mr. President, for the warm welcome that you extended to our delegation and for your leadership.  I know I speak for all of them when I extend congratulations to you, on your new Administration, and a new baby to come momentarily, perhaps.

It’s all about the future, and that’s what our purpose is.  We’re here as a delegation to, of course, take pride in the history that each of us has in El Salvador, but also look to the future.

With your permission, Mr. President, I would like to introduce our delegation.  You acknowledged Mr. McGovern, who’s our spiritual leader on the delegation, Chairman of the Rules Committee.  Congressman Eliot Engel, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee.  Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez of the Small Business Committee.  Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard on the Homeland Security Appropriations [Subcommittee].  Henry Cuellar of Texas.  Congresswoman Amata Coleman Radewagen, American Samoa.  Congresswoman Norma Torres of California.  Congressman Anthony Brown of Maryland.  Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania.  Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia of Illinois.  Congresswoman Katie Hill of California.  And Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of Illinois.

The last four names I mentioned are Freshmen.  We have senior Chairs of Committees, senior Members of other Committees, but four Members of the Freshman class, to bring fresh ideas, new invigoration to our conversation about how we go into the future.  And a commitment I believe, to be with us in our relationship between the United States and El Salvador.

When we met with the President, he welcomed us home in the warmest possible way and we accepted that welcome, personally and officially.

For many of us, the interaction between the United States and El Salvador has been transformative in our own advancement in politics.  For me, I owe El Salvador a big favor, because in the middle of the seventies – just about the time the President was born, a couple of years earlier, maybe – had the privilege of coming here and we went to El Mozote, all of that.

But I mean, in terms of personally, I was at an orphanage with little children, Mr. President, little children there.  And they struck my heart and I said, ‘I’ll never forget you and I’ll always work to hopefully make your future better.’

Those children are your age now, all these years later, some of them maybe a little older.  And I wonder what their future turned into. Rather than wonder, we want to make sure we can ensure a future for the children of El Salvador that is very positive.

And that experience for me deepened my commitment to human rights, not only for those children and El Salvador, but universally.  El Salvador has a way of doing that to people, it just embraces you.  Because of the values, because of the culture, because of the personalities.

I know that is true in California and through the entire United States.  We are blessed with a large population of El Salvadorians in our country, and their commitment to family and work ethic, and faith — their American values — their courage, their determination to make the future better for their families, their American values, and their presence in America makes America more American.

So, we are fighting some initiatives that even doubt what that status may be for some of them.

We want to work together to have the resources to build the three pillars of our relationship, which are security, prosperity and governance.  And, how that can enable people to have the choice to come home – come back if they wish or stay home, if that’s what they call home, in the United States.

But it’s all about justice.  Pope Paul VI – you know I quote him all the time – he said, ‘Mr. President, if you want peace, work for justice.’  That’s economic justice, social justice, judicial justice, environmental justice – justice in every way.

And, our experience is that justice is very well-served by investing in our children – their health and education, investing in women.  We think that when women succeed, America succeeds, El Salvador succeeds.  And, congratulations on your cabinet being so representative of women leadership.

Children, women, indigenous people have so much value added to any country, and I always talk about them wherever I go.  And, I know you have a commitment there as well.

So, Mr. President, we, on behalf of our delegation, congratulate you on your inauguration.  We congratulate you doubly for your new baby coming to you and [Gabriella].

And, we look forward to working in a very positive way, as equals, as partners, in how we build security and stability in our hemisphere.

Thank you, Mr. President.