In the new president’s inauguration speech, he made special references to President Obama of the United States and President Lula da Silva of Brazil, saying that they will be examples for him to follow in his leadership. Also, the President Funes made clear that he hoped to reinstate diplomatic and commercial relations with Cuba.
Leaders not attending the ceremony include President Evo Morales of Bolivia, President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, President Raúl Castro of Cuba, and President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Chávez had planned on attending the ceremony but canceled last minute stating that there was an assassination attempt planned against him. He is blaming anti-Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and United States intelligence agencies for the attempt, but maintains that he does not blame the Salvadoran government and hopes to continue having good relations with El Salvador.
Former-president Fidel Castro of Cuba did not react kindly to President Funes’s speech. He was displeased with President Funes’s remarks about his admiration and support for President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Lula. Furthermore, according to La Prensa Grafica, the Cuban government is still discussing whether or not to accept open relations with El Salvador.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has shown positive support for the incoming Salvadoran government. In an interview for La Prensa Grafica, Hillary Clinton acknowledged that after the damage done to Latin American relations with the United States during the Bush presidency, there would be some rebuilding to do, and promised that the United States did not wish to “impose” ideas” on El Salvador or other countries in Latin America. She has also shown her support for the entry of Cuba into the Organization of American States (OAS), which is meeting in Honduras this week. Several members of President Obama’s administration have visited Latin America in recent months, including Obama himself in April at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.
Concerning foreign relations, President Funes reiterated in his speech that he hopes to strengthen relations with all Central and South American countries, including Cuba, as well as strengthen and maintain strong relations with the United States.