#2021WCA: U.S. Vice President Kamala D. Harris

“We will not make significant progress if corruption in the region persists,” said the vice president.


  • Kamala D. Harris, Vice President of the United States
  • Andrés Gluski, CEO, AES Corporation and Chairman, Americas Society/Council of the Americas (introduction)

“America is back,” said Vice President Kamala Harris at the 51st annual Washington Conference on the Americas, shortly after the Biden administration marked its first 100 days in office. “The Western Hemisphere is our home. And because it is our home, because the people within it are our neighbors, it is imperative that we promote democracy and good governance, security and prosperity within the region.”

The vice president discussed the White House's plan to address migration from the El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, emphasizing a two-pronged approach addressing both acute factors like catastrophes and natural disasters, as well as the long-term root causes of migration such as violence, absence of economic opportunity, and lack of climate resiliency. She also singled out corruption in the Northern Triangle as being particular pernicious to progress. “Corruption causes government institutions to collapse from within," she said. "In the Northern Triangle, we know that corruption prevents us from creating the conditions on the ground to best attract investment.” The global cost of corruption, the vice president noted, is estimated to be 5 percent of the world’s GDP. She also highlighted that the administration has committed an additional $310 million in aid to Central America, and that departments across the federal government are working to bolster trade, food assistance, and disaster-response efforts.

“Latin Americans are shaping their own future. They are writing their own story. They hold the pen. As I see it, our role is to read those words, take them in, and help however we can as Latin America writes its own next chapter,” she said. “The United States is committed to supporting the vision of the people in the region in their need for relief, in their hope for opportunity, in their calls for justice.”