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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 7, 2005

President Bush Discusses Panama's Future During Roundtable
Salon Miraflores
Panama City, Panama

President's Remarks

      Trip to Latin America: Panama

11:30 A.M. (Local)

THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank you very much. Mr. President, thank you for your invitation. I told the President earlier I was really looking forward to stopping here in Panama for a variety of reasons. First, I'm proud of the job he's done. He's fought corruption, he's been a strong fiscal steward of the people's money. This economy is growing.

Secondly, I wanted to see the Panama Canal. It's a marvel. It's a fantastic opportunity to see this great engineering feat. And at our press availability today, I said how proud I was of the people of Panama for managing this canal in such a professional way, for the good of commerce around the world.

Thirdly, I think it's very important for us always to reconfirm the importance of democracy in our hemisphere. And Panama is a strong democracy -- a democracy that believes in the freedom to worship, the freedom to speak, the freedom of the press, the notion that everybody has got a voice. And so it's an opportunity to say, thank you, for those of you who are working so strong to make sure your democracy flourishes.

So Laura and I are really thrilled to be here. It's a magnificent trip. I'm sorry it's not longer. I told the President after I'm President I'll come back and go fishing with him. (Laughter.) In the meantime, thanks for having us. I'm proud to be here.

END 11:32 A.M. (Local)

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