WASHINGTON, D.C.— House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) led a ten-member Congressional delegation that returned today from visiting key allies in Central and South America. CODEL Scalise had in-depth and high-level discussions around strengthening bilateral trade relationships, understanding the growing role of China in the region, combatting drug trafficking, and migration.
The delegation met with American service members, U.S. officials, and key government leaders in Honduras, Panama, Argentina, and Peru.
Whip Scalise was joined by U.S. Representatives Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Amata Radewagen (R-AS), Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), and Michael Waltz (R-Fla.).
“It is critical that the United States maintain healthy, cooperative relationships with our neighbors in Central and South America. From the tragedy and brutal dictatorship in Venezuela to China’s increasing involvement in the region, these nations face difficult challenges and need our support,” said Whip Scalise. “Our allies in this region will play an ever-larger role on the world stage. We learned a lot and worked hard to strengthen our friendships and deepen the trade ties between our nations. Above all, we appreciate the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform serving overseas, and the expertise and assistance of our diplomatic corps.”
The delegation had the opportunity meet with our troops stationed at Soto Cano Air Force Base and learn about their dual missions to provide support for drug interdiction efforts and help nations in the region stem the flow of illegal migration.
Whip Scalise greets U.S. Service Members from Louisiana at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras
Whip Scalise chats with two Service Members and a Military Working Dog
Service Members display a Puerto Rico flag with Rep. González-Colón (R-PR), Rep. Radewagen (R-AS), and Whip Scalise
CODEL Scalise saw firsthand how investments in infrastructure at the Panama Canal will lead to greater trade opportunities for U.S. businesses. In discussions with Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo, the delegation thanked President Cortizo for his efforts to reform the constitution and bring transparency to governance in Panama.
Whip Scalise learns how to operate the Panama Canal lock system
CODEL Scalise Members at the Panama Canal
Members of the Scalise delegation thanked outgoing President Mauricia Macri for his strong friendship with the United States, as well as the important steps his government has taken to reform the economy. In discussions with representatives of the incoming governing party, CODEL Scalise was pleased to hear their intentions to continue the current trajectory of relations with the U.S. Whip Scalise and his fellow representatives stressed the importance of continuing to work with other countries in the region to bring a much-needed end to the brutal Maduro regime in Venezuela.
CODEL Scalise with U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Edward C. Prado
Meeting with Argentinian President Mauricia Macri
Scalise and his fellow Representatives meet with Argentina’s Speaker-designate Sergio Massa
CODEL Scalise takes coffee with representatives from the National Congress of Argentina
CODEL Scalise received extensive briefings on China’s growing role in Peru and throughout Central and South America. The American Members of Congress sent a strong message that all countries must stay vigilant, play by the rules of fair trade, and live up to their commitments. Additionally, while meeting with Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, the group heard firsthand about the tragedy of Maduro’s brutal regime and the ripple effects that the crisis in Venezuela continues to have across the region. The Scalise delegation thanked Peru for their leadership in the Lima Group, which maintains a united regional approach to confronting Maduro. In just the past three years, over five million Venezuelans have fled their country to escape miserable and oppresive conditions. 900,000 of the migrants have settled in Peru alone.
Whip Scalise and Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra
CODEL Scalise talks trade at the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism