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President George W. Bush has doubled economic assistance to the Western Hemisphere since taking office to over one-point-six billion dollars per year and provided almost nine-hundred million dollars more through the Millennium Challenge Corporation to support transparency in government and social spending by Latin American countries. Mr. Bush has now introduced a series of initiatives to help the countries of Latin America extend health care, education and economic opportunity to millions of working poor:
Among the many initiatives: the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort will be deployed to twelve Latin American countries, where its staff will provide health care services for up to one-hundred-thousand patients. Military medical teams will also partner with fourteen Latin American governments to deliver medical services as part of scheduled medical readiness training exercises. And a new U.S.-sponsored training center will be established in Panama to increase the number of health care workers across Central America.
With thirty-four democracies now active in the Organization of American States, said Mr. Bush, Latin America has made great strides:
But amid the prosperity, tens of millions of people in Latin America remain in grinding poverty. One in four, said President Bush, live on less than two dollars a day:
With U.S. help, Mr. Bush said, countries can further the cause of social justice by meeting basic necessities like education, health care and housing, promoting strong, effective governance and helping facilitate economic growth to allow citizens to realize their full potential.