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Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs

Regional map of Western Hemisphere Affairs.The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs is headed by Assistant Secretary of State Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., who is responsible for managing and promoting U.S. interests in the region by supporting democracy, trade, and sustainable economic development, and fostering cooperation on issues such as drug trafficking and crime, poverty reduction, and environmental protection.

Mission:  We are working with our partners in the Americas to generate broad-based growth through freer trade and sound economic policies; to invest in the well-being of people from all walks of life; and to make democracy serve every citizen more effectively and justly.

Objectives:  We are strengthening an Inter-American community formed by:

  • Economic partners that are democratic, stable, and prosperous;
  • Friendly neighbors that help secure our region against terrorism and illegal drugs;
  • Nations that work together in the world to advance shared political and economic values. 

U.S.-Central American Security Dialogue
Several members of the U.S. delegation to the U.S.-SICA Dialogue on Security. State Dept. photo.Assistant Secretary Shannon announced the U.S. Strategy to Combat Criminal Gangs from Central America and Mexico at the First U.S.-SICA Central America Integration System Dialogue on Security in Guatemala City with the seven Central American countries. This comes almost 4 months after President George W. Bush's Latin America tour when he met with Guatemalan President Oscar Berger Perdomo, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon to discuss the severity of the security situation in Central America. The Presidents also discussed the threats that gangs pose to both the U.S. and Latin America, and development of a regional strategy to combat gangs and other transnational threats in Central America.

Secretary Rice delivers closing remarks at the White House Conference on the Americas, Crystal City, Virginia.White House Conference on the Americas
Secretary Rice:
"We in the Americas, in all our diversity, are truly an alliance of peoples...What also binds us together is the promise that we carry with us. It is the revolutionary promise that life in the Americas would represent an opportunity for all people--regardless of class or culture, race or religion, blood or birth--to break with the past and begin life anew: to replace poverty with prosperity, injustice with dignity, and oppression with freedom." Full Text


Americas Conference
Assistant Secretary Shannon:
"This is a region that resolves its problems through dialogue and engagement, and recognizes that diplomacy must address differences without damaging the essential connectivity of the Americas." full text

Fact sheet: Advancing Cooperation on Biofuels

President Bush stands with Mexican President Calderon, left, and Canadian Prime Minister Harper at the North American Leaders Summit on Aug. 20, 2007, in Montebello, Canada. ©AP Images
Joint Statement at the North American Leaders' Summit

Prime Minister Harper, President Bush and President Calderon: "The values and principles we share, in particular democracy, the rule of law and respect for individual rights and freedoms, underpin our efforts in building a more prosperous and secure region." full statement | press availability

Flexibility Within Western Hemisphere
U.S. citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda who have applied for but not yet received passports can nevertheless temporarily enter and depart from the U.S. by air with a government issued photo identification and Department of State official proof of application for a passport through September 30, 2007.
media note (en Español) | Q&A

Visit Consular Affairs to keep up with Travel Warnings, travel-related Public Announcements, and other items of interest to travelers.

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