"On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the Government and people of the Dominican Republic on the 170th anniversary of your independence.
"The United States is proud of its thriving Dominican-American community. Each and every day, some 1.5 million Dominican-Americans contribute to our nation’s economic vitality and culture while maintaining a deep connection with their Dominican roots.
"In the spirit of friendship and mutual respect, the people of the United States are working with the people of the Dominican Republic on citizen security, economic opportunity, clean energy development, and respect for human rights.
"As you gather in celebration, I wish you a happy Independence Day."
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]