SOURCE: Americas Conference

Americas Conference 2009

September 30, 2009 17:16 ET

Thirteenth Annual Americas Conference Concludes in Coral Gables With a Presentation From a Key Member of President Obama's Administration

CORAL GABLES, FL--(Marketwire - September 30, 2009) - The Americas Conference, presented by The Miami Herald, the State of Florida, Florida International University (FIU) and The World Bank, concluded today at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida. Political leaders, economists and academia from across the region continued discussions that began yesterday after key presentations from Dr. Oscar Arias, President of Costa Rica, and former President Bill Clinton, now U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti.

The second day began with a debate, hosted by The Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer, on the state of Mexico's economy. The focus was the Colombianization of Mexico, comparing Mexico's current battle with drug cartels to Colombia's a decade ago. The topic was debated by David Robillard, Managing Director and Head of Kroll Mexico, and Luis Enrique Mercado, Head of Economic Affairs, Mexico's PAN Block in Congress. Officials from the PRI and PRD parties did not accept invitations to attend. Click here for the full article.

In a look at how the global financial crisis has affected Caribbean nations, John Maginley, Minister of Tourism from Antigua and Barbuda, confirmed they have been forced to accept assistance from whoever is willing to provide it. Jamal Khokhar, Regional Director General of the Canadian International Development Agency for Latin America and the Caribbean, stated that Canada alone provides $600 million in assistance to the islands. Click here for the full article.

Former President of Peru, Dr. Alejandro Toledo, delivered an address at the Conference on the integration of Latin America. He predicted that Peru's economy will shrink in the coming year and confirmed the region must work towards integration to achieve democracy and growth.

The Conference closed with a luncheon keynote address by Dan Restrepo, special assistant to President Obama and senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council. Mr. Restrepo was introduced by Dr. Mark Rosenberg, President of Florida International University and noted expert in Latin American Affairs.

Restrepo started his address by reiterating President Obama's declaration at the Summit of the Americas in which the President "seeks to leave behind old habits of interference and blame in the Americas and forge a new era in hemispheric relations." He focused on the importance of a successful U.S. economy to sustain the region and suggested the "area needs a micro-finance effort for small and medium sized businesses as one of the key elements to success. He concluded by confirming the situation in Honduras affects the entire region and that it is imperative to restore the rights of the Honduran people immediately.

For a full recap of the Americas Conference, including videos and photos, visit

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