Ambassador Remarks at the Amistad en Acción Festival first concert

Remarks of U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador

Jean Elizabeth Manes

June 23, 2017

** This English translation is provided as a courtesy. The original text was prepared and delivered in Spanish; only the original Spanish text should be considered authoritative. **

Today we launch the “Friendship in Action” Music Festival in commemoration of June 15th which marks 154 years of friendship between El Salvador and the United States. And what better place to start this festival than right here in Santa Ana; a city known as “the capital of the world and the branch of heaven.” What an honor to be part of the artistic history of this beautiful theater, which represents the true spirit of “OrguYO Santaneco”.

I want to begin by thanking Master James Brooks Bruzzese, founder of the Symphony of the Americas, and its Executive Director, Renee LaBonte, for their commitment and delivery to this series concerts. This festival would not have been possible without their support.

I also extend my thanks to Father Pepe Moratalla, who in 2001 saw potential in a youth thirsty for opportunities and full of talent, and decided to found the “Coro y Orquesta Polígono Industrial Don Bosco”, which has had extraordinary achievements ever since. Such as performing at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2015, where I first heard them.

We seek to support these initiatives that move the country forward. Part of our job is precisely to find these kinds of passionate, motivated people who think differently. Because all you really need is an idea, and the conviction that anyone can be an actor of change.

I am sure that a prosperous and safe future for all El Salvador is possible. And the United States Government is committed to continuing to support Salvadoran efforts to make that future a reality.

We are also joined this afternoon by the Chalchuapa Philharmonic Orchestra. This is the first Philharmonic Orchestra implemented under an USAID project, and which had its first concert only three months after being founded in 2012.

However, these orchestras are just one example of the work we are doing with the youth of El Salvador. Here in Santa Ana, we are also supporting the police, who are working in schools under the G.R.E.A.T. program and guiding young people so they can make good decisions for their future. In addition, it was here in Santa Ana where we started the Police Athletic League, an initiative that offers safe and healthy after-school activities and provides an alternative to gangs.

Let us continue working side by side and take inspiration from these musicians for their determination and perseverance. They have rehearsed for this festival every day since February.

I am very proud of all these students. Each and every one of them matters and I am greatful for the teachers who believed in them.

And let us ask ourselves what differences we can make today to turn aspirations and hopes into positive actions in our communities.

Let’s support these young people as they strive to silence the noise of violence through music, these youths that are making a difference now, one note at a time.

Thank you.

** This English translation is provided as a courtesy. The original text was prepared and delivered in Spanish; only the original Spanish text should be considered authoritative. **