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TBT: John F. Kennedy’s speech at UCR in Costa Rica

December 5, 2019

United States President John F. Kennedy visited Costa Rica in 1963 to attend the Conference of Presidents of the Central American Republic.

In doing so, Kennedy became the first sitting U.S. President to make an appearance in Costa Rica.

After the conference, Kennedy spoke at the University of Costa Rica.

“I think it is appropriate that the first speech by any United States president to any student audience in Latin America should take place at this center of learning in a nation so dedicated to democracy,” President Kennedy said.

Watch a short video excerpt of his speech below:

“We also want to express our thanks to the people of Costa Rica,” Kennedy finished. “Every one of us will go home with a most profound impression of what a strong, vital people can accomplish.

“This journey to Costa Rica has illuminated the minds of 180 million people [in the United States] of what a great opportunity and privilege we have to be associated together in our common cause.

“Viva Costa Rica, arriba Costa Rica, y muchas gracias.”

JFK’s visit to Costa Rica coincided with Irazú Volcano’s two-year eruption that impacted the livelihood of thousands of people across the Central Valley.

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