Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send my best wishes to the people of Venezuela as you celebrate 204 years of independence on July 5.
"Today we reflect on the strong ties of friendship, family, culture, sport, and commerce that bind us together. Our mutual love for baseball has produced some of the greats, from Luis Aparicio to Miguel Cabrera. Gabriela Montero’s music making and Carolina Herrera’s exquisite designs are revered both in the United States and Venezuela, and around the world.
"Francisco de Miranda and America’s Founding Fathers shared ideals and a common spirit that paved the way for the American Revolution and independence in Latin America. Our nations were built on the same ideals of freedom, equality, justice, and democracy.
"I am pleased that we have found common cause in our support for Haiti’s elections, reconstruction, and development, as well as in our shared commitment to the Colombian government’s ongoing efforts to achieve a lasting peace.
"As you look toward legislative elections, political dialogue will be important in ensuring peaceful resolution of disputes and the integrity of your democratic process.
"I look forward to further cooperation between our people and governments as we seek ways to improve a historically strong relationship that has endured for nearly two centuries."