lunes, junio 04, 2007

U.S.A. en la O.E.A.

Remarks at Organization of American States General Assembly Plenary Session
Secretary Condoleezza Rice; Panama City, Panama; June 4, 2007.-
SECRETARY RICE:Thank you very much. I'd first like to thank the Government and
the people of Panama for being such gracious hosts for this year's OAS General
Assembly. I look forward today to seeing President Torrijos later and I want to
thank the Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis for presiding over this gathering. Let
me also thank you, Secretary General Insulza. Under your leadership, the OAS
has grown into an even stronger and more principled ally to the citizens of our
hemisphere who keep faith with the principles of democracy and who want to be
included in the benefits of democracy, prosperity, personal security, and
social justice. Fellow ministers, ladies and gentlemen, our Inter-American Democratic Charter states that democracy is essential for the social, political, and economic development of the peoples of the Americas. It is the duty of every government in this hemisphere to deliver on the high hopes of its citizens, deliver on what President Bush has called the revolution in expectations in the Americas
today. Our people are impatient for a better life and we must be impatient too.
Every democracy must govern democratically, respecting and protecting the human
rights and fundamental freedoms of all of its citizens. Every democracy must
ensure that its people have an equal opportunity to prosper through free
markets and free trade. And every democracy must open the doors to social
justice for its citizens by governing justly, fighting corruption, reforming
its economy, and investing in its people, in their education, in their health,
and in their housing.
In all of these ways, we must take action to ensure the long-term success of
democracy in the Americas. And one of the most pressing challenges that we face
right now, one that affects the economic development of every nation in this
hemisphere is indeed energy. I am pleased that the OAS has made energy the
focus of this year's General Assembly and I am eager to hear your thoughts
about how we can meet this common challenge together.
We are off to a good start. The declaration of Panama drafted here demonstrates
that energy is a vital part of our hemispheric agenda and that we will work
together to address the challenges of energy security, climate change,
environmental stewardship, and sustainable development. These four challenges
are indivisible and we must tackle them together.
Under President Bush, the United States is helping to lead on the issue of
energy. We recognize the problem. It is, in the President's words, about our
addiction to oil and we are going to do something about it. We are working to
realize the President's goal of cutting our use of gasoline by 20 percent in
ten years through better automotive efficiency and greater use of alternative
fuels. Over the past six years, with the full support of Congress, we have provided
more than $12 billion for research into alternative sources of energy. And just
last week, President Bush announced a long-term strategy to address the problem
of climate change, calling for the world's top 15 countries to work together to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This declaration realizes that biofuels will
be critical to diversifying the use of our energy in our hemisphere. We
completely agree. And that is why the United States and Brazil recently
concluded a groundbreaking bilateral agreement on biofuels. Our two countries
are now transforming the way we work together, deepening research and
investment, helping developing countries in our hemisphere to supply energy for
themselves and others and enabling them to fuel their own growth.
In short, we seek to promote the democratization of energy in the Americas,
increasing the number of energy suppliers, expanding the market, and reducing
supply disruption. We are starting this work now with El Salvador, the
Dominican Republic, Haiti and St. Kitts. And we are eager to expand our
cooperation on energy with more countries and especially with the OAS. Our goal
should be nothing less than to usher in a new era of inter-American security in
energy. Solving the challenge of energy will clearly strengthen the link between
democracy and development in the Americas and it will contribute to the
long-term success of democracy. But we must always remember that our greatest
source of energy as democracies is not oil or gas, wind or water, biofuels or
fossil fuels; it is the talent and the creativity of our people unlocked by the
democratic and human rights that the OAS stands for and defends. This is the
purpose and the meaning of our democratic charter.
Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience are not a
thorn in the side of government. They are the beginning of justice in every
society. The unfettered public discussion of ideas is the greatest guarantee
for the rule of law and the surest protection against the whims of rulers.
Disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic and it most certainly
should not be a crime in any country, especially in a democracy. Open dialogue
and debate is not only a fundamental principle of democracy, it is a practical
necessity for good decision-making, for transparent oversight, and for
effective policy implementation. This is the only way that democratic
governments can hope to make economic development and social justice real for
their people.
All of this is important to bear in mind as we consider recent events in
Venezuela.
Many Venezuelan citizens are raising their voices in peacefulprotest at their government's closing of RCTV. Many international groups andinstitutions have added their voices to this course of concern and I applaud Secretary General Insulza for doing so as well.
The United States Senate has called on the OAS to address this issue. President Bush and I agree. In keeping with Article 18 of the Democratic Charter, we urge the Secretary General to go to Venezuela to consult in good faith with all interested parties and to present a full report to the foreign ministers through the Permanent Council.
We, the members of the OAS, must defend freedom where it is under siege in our
hemisphere, and we must support freedom whenever and wherever it is denied. In
that regard, a process of change is taking place in Cuba, and the OAS must be
ready to help the Cuban people realize their aspirations and freedom and to
secure the rights that are now enjoyed within our democratic community of the
Americas. No other country in the hemisphere, including the United States of
America, should, can, or will determine Cuba's political and economic future.
That decision is for Cubans in Cuba. But it is our responsibility as American
democracies to help the Cuban people chart whatever course they freely desire.
The demand for freedom and democracy has transformed this hemisphere in but a
few short decades. Today, we can hear the voices of our people more clearly
than ever. Their expectations are high and their patience is not unlimited.
They want good governments and economic opportunity. They want better schools
and better hospitals. They want their rights protected and their neighborhoods
safe. They want social justice and good jobs. And they want limitless horizons
for their children. We must listen to our people's voices. They are voices of dignity and worthy aspiration, transcending all the borders and cultures of this diverse hemisphere. We must respect and heed those voices, for they embody not just our common humanity, but also our shared future.
Thank you very much.