Ambassador Jean Elizabeth Manes
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 10:00 A.M., Parque Cuscatlán
Remarks by Ambassador Jean Manes on the Parque Cuscatlán Opening
July 10, 2019
* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish version should be considered authoritative.
Parque Cuscatlán, “the place of precious things”, is one of my favorite places in San Salvador And especially with all the work they have done, without a doubt, this IS a beautiful place. Since we started talking about this project, there was something we all agreed on: we wanted this park to be a world-class park. From the beginning we said that we wanted more than just painting a couple of walls, because we believe that Salvadorans deserve more than that. And when we invest from the United States, be it from the government or the private sector, we do it first class.
Public spaces say a lot about a country. We want this park to be an example of El Salvador, an example of the quality of the people who live here, of the people who work every day to move the country forward, and the dignity that places like this offer them.
For me this park represents that and much more. It represents what is possible to achieve when you put the country first. This park has brought together the private sector, the public sector and international partners to work together towards the same shared goal. This is the objective of a public space, to offer a platform where people from different places, sectors, socio-economic levels can come together, interact and build community. This is an important first step in restoring the fabric of society.
I want to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly on this project. To President Bukele who initiated this project and to Mayor Muyshondt for giving it continuity. Of course I extend my gratitude to the Howard G. Buffet Foundation that has invested $ 9.4 million in this park, thank you for believing in El Salvador and the potential that this country has. And I also want to thank Glasswing, our entire team at our Embassy, USAID and especially Adam Schmidt who has returned to El Salvador solely for this event.
Initiatives like these do not happen overnight, nor are they the result of a single effort. Great changes require great efforts, the commitment of all sectors of a society and the dedication of many people. We have not yet finished the work, but the day this park officially opens, it will represent a first-rate joint effort.
The United States government is willing to continue accompanying them in this work, committed to transforming and investing in public spaces in El Salvador. USAID has awarded $ 7.4 million to Glasswing International to promote citizen security, through interventions in public spaces, including the transformation of the Cuscatlán Park, and the recovery of even more spaces in the Historic Center. Preventing violence and offering dignified spaces to youth and families is an integral component of any plan to improve security, combat youth recruitment by gangs, and foster creativity and a culture of peace.
I am hopeful that this park will be a catalyst for change for El Salvador, and that just as a multitude of different people and sectors came together to carry out this project, they will continue to unite to achieve the other goals. The way forward is together, working hand in hand and focusing on long-term goals.
Four years ago, renovating the park seemed impossible, and now we are here thanks to the thousands of people who believed in this project. Congratulations to all, and thank you very much for believing in El Salvador.