Congressman Sam Farr (D-Carmel) will travel with President Barack Obama on Air Force One to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. The summit, which takes place this weekend, brings together leaders of Western Hemisphere nations to discuss a variety of issues affecting the region.
Congressman Farr, a Returned Peace Corp Volunteer who served in Medellin, Colombia from 1964 through 1966, is recognized as a leader on Central and South American issues in the House of Representatives. For over three decades, he has traveled widely through the region; and since being elected to Congress has worked with his colleagues to address the area's issues of poverty, security, economic development and educational opportunity.
"I'm grateful to once again be invited to join President Obama at this important regional summit," said Congressman Farr. "The United States has an important role to play in addressing the issues of poverty, human rights, and violence that are plaguing many of countries in our hemisphere. But that will require that we work as regional partners and focus our policies on breaking the cycles of poverty, building local capacity, and creating broad-based, inclusive economic development."
Congressman Farr will depart on Friday with the president to Cartagena, Colombia, where he will join the U.S. delegation in meetings with leaders from the region. He will return with the President on Sunday to Washington, D.C.
Congressman Farr traveled with President Obama to the Fifth Summit of the American in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009, where he pushed for an end to the Cuban embargo and an expansion of the Peace Corps. He also traveled with President Bill Clinton to Colombia in 2000.
After the summit, the Office of Congressman Farr will begin an ongoing briefing series titled "Latin America on the Rise", that will bring in a diverse array of experts to raise Congressional awareness about the emerging and emergent issues in South and Central America. The briefings will address an array of topics, including food security, economic development, opportunities for women and the Mexican elections. The series will begin on April 26th, with a briefing focused on refugees and internally displaced people.
In the lead up to the summit, Rep. Farr's office also hosted a series of well attended briefings titled, "Road Map to Cartagena", on the issues that leaders will discuss at the Sixth Summit of the Americas.
Congressman Farr's interest in Central and South America began during a summer spent working in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He later learned to speak Spanish at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and spent his Peace Corps years in a poor barrio in Medellin, Colombia.