Remarks by Ambassador Ronald Johnson at the donation turnover with the Ministry of Health

August 19, 2020

It is a great honor for me to be here this morning and to make the official presentation of this donation to the Ministry of Health. But, before I talk about today’s donation, I want to talk to you about something else. I want to talk about friendship and the partnership between our governments and our people. 

The United States has had diplomatic relations with El Salvador since 1863, that was 157 years ago. That’s a long history, and history is important, but my next point is more important. Today our relationship is stronger than ever. As President Bukele states on numerous occasions, the U.S. is El Salvador’s number one partner and ally. 

And, yes, the United States is El Salvador’s number one trading partner but it goes beyond that. We share a common vision of security, democracy, and mutual economic prosperity. Our shared cultures and our shared values unite us and if that isn’t enough over a third of the people in this world who identify themselves as Salvadorans live in the United States. Tens of thousands of United States citizens also live here in El Salvador.  

And, this is an important point as well it is in the best interest of the U.S. if El Salvador is a stable, secure and prosperous democratic country. 

The United States has supported El Salvador in its times of need. And, we are committed now to support the fight against the coronavirus and to support economic recovery, to expand citizen safety and security, and to create an opportunity for Salvadorans to improve their standard of living and to prosper here in this beautiful country.

I believe a better future is possible if we work together, but we must all do our parts and I ask all of you who are listening to me today to join us in doing your part, to believe in yourselves, and to believe in a better El Salvador, and to look for a way to make a positive difference.

 Now, back to today’s donation. For over 50 years the Southern Command and the Department of Defense have focused their efforts on developing ties and strengthening this alliance with El Salvador, including a wide variety of social and humanitarian projects. And, I want to thank my friend, Admiral Craig Faller, the commander of the Southern Command, his representative here, Colonel Bolina, and his staff for all the wonderful work they do to assist in the security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster assistance here in El Salvador. 

Today, we are highlighting the donation of over 1,720 water purifiers, and three high-end freezers that were delivered last week. 

The freezers go to the main hospitals here in San Salvador, and to San Miguel, and Santa Ana, where they will be used to increase the capacities of the Ministry of Health in its efforts to conduct coronavirus testing.

The water purifiers will be distributed by the Ministry of Health to people who, due to the tropical storms Amanda and Cristobal, have lost their access to drinking water in several parts of the country, including San Salvador, Sonsonate, San Miguel and Cuscatlán.

When the tropical storms hit El Salvador, I was at a Casa Presidencial meeting with mayors and other government officials to see how we could help, even before the rains stopped. And that same day, families from the US embassy donated clothing, bedding and items of food to help our Salvadoran friends. I’m especially proud of that, not because it was a big donation by the government but because it was individuals in our embassy community reaching out to help our Salvadoran friends.

We have been here from the beginning. Even as my own country struggled with our own fight against the coronavirus, we have stood with El Salvador. In fact, after a telephone call between President Trump and President Bukele, El Salvador became one of the first countries to receive a shipment of ventilators from the United States. Those ventilators have saved lives already, and more are on the way. 

In closing let me say this. The United States has stood by your parents and your grandparents. We stand with you now and in the future our children will have a stronger partnership and better lives for the citizens of both our countries. The Salvadoran people have no better friend than the United States and together we will build a more secure, a safer, and a more prosperous future.

God bless each of you and your families. God bless the U.S. and God bless El Salvador.