Diaz-Balart Recognizes Friends of Freedom and Democracy
WASHINGTON, DC-Today Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) joined Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Former Prime Minister John Howard at the White House for a ceremony awarding them the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“I was honored to be present at today’s ceremony honoring President Alvaro Uribe, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Prime Minister John Howard, whom have demonstrated time after time that they are true friends of freedom and democracy. Their steadfast leadership during challenging times around the world deserves recognition.
“President Uribe and the democratically elected government of Colombia is one of our strongest allies in the region. He has led that nation with unprecedented courage and determination and has been successful at improving the lives and safety of the Colombian people. In the last year alone, President Uribe has made significant progress in improving security while advancing freedom in an increasingly unstable hemisphere. It is imperative that we continue to support him and his initiatives, including a Free Trade Agreement and PLAN Colombia, in order to foster continued growth of democracy in the region.
“Today’s recognition is a strong statement for advancing the cause of freedom in our region and around the world,” said Diaz-Balart.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian award and recognizes exceptional meritorious service. It was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize notable service in the war and in 1963 was reintroduced as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime by President John F. Kennedy.
See photo attached: Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen joined Colombia President Alvaro Uribe, Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award ceremony at the White House on January 13, 2009.