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Rep. Gallego's One-Minute Speech on Colombian Independence

July 21, 2015

Mr. Speaker,

Yesterday, I joined the people of Colombia and my fellow Colombian Americans in celebrating the nation’s 215 years of independence.

I’m extremely proud of Colombia’s rich history and vibrant culture. I’m even prouder of the close friendship between our two countries—a partnership which has never been more important.

On issues from narco-trafficking to the promotion of democracy, the United States and Colombia are working arm-in-arm together to make our hemisphere a more peaceful and prosperous place.

Mr. Speaker, the Colombian people are celebrating their independence at a critical juncture in Colombia’s history.

After decades of bloody conflict and instability, Colombia is engaged in intense negotiations with the FARC guerilla organization that could produce a landmark peace agreement.

This bold and inspiring effort not only demonstrates the Colombian government’s commitment to peace, but also the Colombian people’s capacity for healing and forgiveness.

I commend Colombian President Santos and his administration for their impressive progress to date and encourage both parties to press ahead despite the obstacles that remain.

A final peace deal would resonate far beyond Colombia’s shores. By signing a successful accord, Colombia can provide an enduring example to the world that even after countless deaths and decades of bitter conflict, peace is still possible.

Mr. Speaker, my sincere hope is that one year from today, the Colombian people will be able to celebrate not just their independence but their freedom from fear and violence.

Thank you.