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Remarks With President of Neoenergia Marcelo Correa and Governor of da Bahia Jacques Wagner

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
March 14, 2008

MR. CORREA: (Via interpreter.) Good morning, Madame Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State of the United States of America, Mr. Jaques Wagner, honorable Governor of the state of Bahia, representatives, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Coelba and Neoenergia group, I would like to mention that we are very pleased to have you here in our electricity museum, the center of energy efficiency. This center is an opportunity for students and visitors from our city to learn how energy is generated, is transported and consumed and with responsibility. The monitors of these centers are students in a risky situation, a social risky situation, aging from 16 to 24 years of old -- of age. And they have been trained by our (inaudible) project, which is supported by the American government. Receiving from Coelba, there's a scholarship to develop their work. The results have been excellent.

This project is part of the programs, the annual program of energy efficiency from Coelba, which have been approved and supported by the NAEE, National Agency of Electric Energy, and the develop -- they were developed by the state and the government of the state in partnership with (inaudible) Coelba. It is a very important social background, which our fellow mentor for the community in our state.

Coelba services more than 4 million consumers. Sixty percent of those are classified as low-income people. Salvador has 62 percent of its population living in slums. Numbers that are very close to the ones in Africa, which are around 70 percent. Project of income generation using energy as a factor for development are a need for the population of the low-income population who need work to rescue their citizenship and also their self-esteem. These programs here for us represent a small step for them. They might represent a quantum leap to the future. It is important then to give them -- to provide tools so that these people could win and face the challenge that are before them.

We could also mention, as an example, the American citizens -- what they did in the ‘60, and especially in Mississippi and in Alabama, that have resulted especially on the approval of the human rights law.

And finally, that leader – great leader used to say that we have a dream that every people will have equal opportunities independent from the origins. We'll be always here ready to strengthen our partnership with the American Government and also with the Brazilian Government and the Government of the state of Bahia, using resources and projects that work so hard the development of our society.

On behalf of the Bahians, who are here receiving these benefits, and the society as a whole, I would like to say thank you so much, thank you to the American people and you, Mrs. Madame Secretary, you -- be a spokesman for this event. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

Now, we'll have the Governor of the state Jaques Wagner.

GOVERNOR WAGNER: (Via Interpreter) Good morning, everyone here. And I would like to salute Marcelo, President of Neoenergia, Coelba, and everyone here with us. And I'd like to salute especially the Secretary of State Madame Condoleezza Rice and say that I thank you for accepting the invitation from the government of the state Bahia and to come here and visit us. It's a capital, which is the third capital in Brazil, and the first capital of the country.

The people of Bahia is very much honored in having you here with a lot of warmth, because of the bonds that we have in terms of cooperation uniting Brazil and the United States. Bahia has special peculiarities, ethnical cultures coming from the European immigration in the African was the largest population, African population outside of Africa. The cultures here also have given us this diversity aspect with harmonial living. Our (inaudible) features, and I would like to emphasize Pelourinho, which is the largest (inaudible) in the Americas, are reason to be proud and also an attraction for people from all over the world. The state of Bahia represents the sixth economy in Brazil, and the largest economy in the Northeast. Here we find many different companies with North American capital contributing for the development, the regional development also generated the jobs which are so needed here.

The United States has been traditionally the main partner, commercial partners of the state of Bahia. In 2007, responsible for 19.8 percent of the exports in the state, and 8 percent of the imports, global imports in Bahia.

I would like at this moment to manifest our recognition to the United States and together with international agencies they have been supporting Bahia and Brazil especially, in this program for the elimination of discrimination, ethnical, racial discrimination, and promotion of equity and also the program for elimination of child labor in our state and in the country. It is the first program, which the protocol was celebrated by its (inaudible), the minister and yourself. The Government of Bahia will try briefly to be able to expand the actions that have already been developed at the state level.

Our state has assumed, as a brand new thing, at some national level, the elaboration of the Bahia (inaudible) work. And the first results I have -- that will be presented as we were invited by (inaudible) to represent this at the National Conference in June this year. It's a great effort we are making to make this an effective public policy that would bring work opportunity and for the social inclusion, so that Bahia will be able very soon to overcome the low index of human development.

Within this context we'll try to find a partnership with USAID to implement the program English for all. This is an attempt to give our youngsters, and especially the African descendents, this important tool in this inclusion of the market, which is to be able to master the English language. And also offering English courses to 60,000 African descendent students from the public that (inaudible) at schools. We are innovating that this concept of ethnical tourism, due to the many visitors we have related to the African heritage. We have to develop sustainable economic factor. The actions also are supported by the federal government and through Marta Suplicy, the Minister of Tourism, ensures -- has been ensuring funds since August 2007 for the expansion of ethnical Afro tourism in Bahia.

When I think of (inaudible) in September 2007, I started a series of international missions with the objective of attracting investments for the Bahian development, and also capture direct flights from many different cities in the United States to Salvador jointly to increase the tourists flow and also the number of investors in our state. At this moment, the American tourism is responsible for only 5 percent of the international flow that we receive here in state of Bahia. As a consequence, we have been trying to get some understanding. And I would like to ask for your support, and your support, Madame, with the city of Washington and New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Chicago, so that we'll be able to achieve our objectives. And I hope that the North American Government and yourself, Madame, for visiting our land.

And you notice the strengths of the African presence in Bahia, continue collaborating with the state of Bahia, first with the objective of stimulating the aviation of airline companies to have options of flights straight to Salvador, directly to Salvador, negotiating a new flexibility bases for the reciprocity agreement and also a large number of flights to Brazil. And also transform and have a -- transform the honorary consulate with now becoming a new general consulate to have noticed how many of the station that was not program of someone who came with a sign and expressing the desire of having here in Salvador a consulate.

Madame Secretary, if we have these happy people, but we have many challenges and we have a lot of courage. Our conquests are the result of fights for the democratic ideals. We have a single land here because of all of the races here living together, all of the beliefs (inaudible) groups. That is why it's a blessed land by every god. These blessings will still touch each one here who is committed in constructing a world of freedom, justice. And thank you very much for your visit, and I hope that you have a nice and safe trip back to the United States. (Applause.) Thank you, thank you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it’s really an honor and a privilege and a joy to be here in Salvador in the state of Bahia. The more I learn about the region, the more I realize how totally fitting it is that the United States and Brazil would develop stronger ties and that the ties between our peoples would become stronger. After all, when I look around and I see the many faces of Brazil, the many colors, the many ethnicities, the many cultures, I recognize a little bit of the United States, also a great multi-ethnic democracy, where people of difference are coming together to make a common future in a democratic way.

Our partnership reflects also the vision of people like Governor Wagner who understands that this world is changing rapidly and who realizes that contact with the world and contact with countries like the United States will benefit its people. And we’ll look into those air links, Governor, I promise you. I’m also very impressed with the work here at the Neoenergia group and its President, Mr. Correa, for the social commitment that has been shown here. It’s terrific.

Now, I have to say that I’m really proud that USAID is a partner. Thank you very much, our mission director, for the work here. But what I am most impressed by today is the wonderful young people that I have met. I’ve met young people who take seriously the responsibility to make the environment clean and their social responsibility to make certain that their neighbors also do that. I’ve met young people who are learning the skills for video work and for artistic work. I’ve met people who are making biscuits and grape juice. But in every conversation, I see that there are people who are bettering their lives. And after all, that’s what democracy really is all about. It is giving people a chance to choose those who are going to govern them so that those people are then accountable to people for bettering their lives.

Now, some of the young people that I met are also going to college and they want to learn English. I think that’s a really fine ambition. And for those who are going to college, I’ve been saying that the sky is limitless. You’ve already come so far and I’m so proud of each and every one of these young folks that we’ve met with. I’m also just very proud that the United States is a partner in this great enterprise and a friend of Bahia and a friend of Brazil.

So I look forward to returning, Governor, probably when I have a little bit more time to also enjoy the extraordinary beauty. I’ve had a wonderful time last night with great artists and great ministers of your government. So thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you to the state of Bahia. Thank you to the city of Salvador and thank you to the people of Brazil. (Applause.)

2008/T9-5



Released on March 15, 2008

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