Congressman Rivera joined Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-21), Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Commissioners Joe Martinez and Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director Jose Abreu, Port of Miami Director Bill Johnson, representatives from the Beacon Council and other local groups on Thursday at a press conference at Miami International Airport on the passage of the Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
Congressman Rivera made the following statement at the press conference noting the importance of the free trade agreements for America's economy and national security:
"It is important to recognize all the work that has been done over the years, not just by our Congressional delegation, but by so many business and civic leaders here in this community in particular. The Colombian-American community, in the Panamanian-American community, and with the Chambers of Commerce here in our community and in our state have been great contributors and facilitators to finally achieving this great victory for free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, which, as I have said in just the few months I've been in Congress talking to my freshman colleagues, it's not only an issue of economic security, because of the fact that it represents thousands and thousands of jobs and business opportunities for our country and particularly for our state and for here in South Florida, but it is also an issue of national security.
"It is an issue of national security because countries like Colombia and Panama have been our best allies in the region. Colombia, in particular, which has been fighting side by side with the United States against terrorism in fighting narco-terrorism and narco-trafficking, has been training troops for other parts of the region to fight terrorism and narco-trafficking. That is so important."