San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fourth of July is a Time to Reflect on Values

For many U.S. citizens, Independence Day is a dual celebration.

On the one hand, the Fourth of July recalls the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, The Stars and Stripes of Old Glory, and the desire for liberty in all its forms. On the other hand, it recalls a more subtle form of freedom: walking barefoot in the grass, picnics, baseball or concerts, and fireworks lighting up the night sky.

Regardless of what images your mind conjures at the mention of the Fourth of July, the ability to celebrate our most treasured national values, in the way one chooses, is possibly our greatest strength as a nation.

As the approximately 6,000 U.S. citizens in Nicaragua celebrate Independence Day this year, I want to invite our Nicaraguan friends to join us in the celebration, not only in spirit, but in practice.

Many U.S. citizens I meet in Nicaragua are here precisely because they feel called to act on the values we share as a people in the United States. Volunteers from religious and medical missions strive every day to improve health and education for thousands of Nicaraguans. Business investors spread economic freedom in Nicaragua by improving local infrastructure and creating jobs.

By working together, hand en mano, both of our countries can and will create a better future for all in Latin America.

I am extremely proud of the generous efforts made by individual U.S. citizens in Nicaragua to help promote development in diverse ways, and I ask you to keep them up.

Nicaragua as a country can benefit from your economic investment and development assistance. Nicaraguans I have talked to express their appreciation for your support. Please know that you are not working alone.

This month, the U.S. government will be sharing some of the best of America with Nicaragua. The U.S.Naval Ship the Comfort will dock in Corinto from July 18 to 25.

Working in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, this “floating hospital” will provide basic medical care to many hundreds of citizens and perform dozens of surgeries a day in its four operating rooms.

The work of military medical teams throughout Latin America makes it absolutely clear that the United States cares for its neighbors.

This year in the department of Carazo, 250 U.S. service men and women built a medical clinic and public school, fixed 72 kilometers of rural roads, and provided basic medical care and medicines to nearly 21,000 people and 8,300 animals.

These and numerous other U.S. government projects carried out by the Peace Corps, the Millenium Challenge Account and the U.S. Agency for International Development are all working to promote social justice in Nicaragua.

But there is more to America’s sense of social justice than our international development assistance.

Americans’ work abroad – your work abroad – is an outward manifestation of our desire to share the abundance of social justice we enjoy at home.

The people of the United States can count on a fair system of trial by jury; freedoms of expression, worship and assembly; and respect for private property. These are not just basic human rights, but the very intrinsic qualities of American life that allow families and neighbors to gather on the grass and celebrate our nation’s birthday in any way they choose.

To all of the U.S. citizens celebrating the Fourth of July in Nicaragua this year: Whether you’re eating vigorón and nacatamales this Independence Day, or baked beans and apple pie, I hope that your hearts and minds will dwell not only on the fireworks you’re missing at home, but on the values we share as a nation. May they strengthen and guide your work here in Nicaragua.

Happy Independence Day! Paul Trivelli is the U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua.


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