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Chairman Menendez Questions Witnesses at Subcommittee Hearing on Vaccine Diplomacy in Latin America and the Caribbean

WASHINGTON – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today questioned witnesses at this morning’s Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing entitled “Vaccine Diplomacy in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Importance of U.S. Engagement.”

“The pandemic exposed many of the region’s weaknesses, including widening social inequalities, [expansive informal sectors], growing environmental risks, a gender-based violence epidemic, and weak healthcare and education institutions,” Chairman Menendez said. “When you pair this with massive population displacement and efforts by certain leaders to systematically dismantle democratic institutions, I am concerned that the next decade in the hemisphere will be a turbulent one, unless the United States, the international community, and our partners in the region are strategic in addressing these increasingly complex challenges.”

Testifying before the Subcommittee were Mr. Kevin O’Reilly, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Mr. Peter Natiello, Acting Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, United States Agency for International Development; Dr. Arachu Castro, Director of the Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America (CHELA), Tulane University; Mr. Dan Restrepo, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; and Mr. Daniel F. Runde, Director, America’s Program, Center for Strategic International Studies.