miércoles, octubre 10, 2007

OAS-OEA & CONDI RICE & others issues

Remarks at the Organization of American States, Hosted by the Council on
Foreign Relations.-Secretary Condoleezza Rice Washington, DC October 9, 2007 (OAS-OEA)

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. Thank you, Carla -- Ambassador Hills, a
long-time friend that very kind introduction. I would like to thank also Secretary General Insulza for welcoming us here to the Organization of American States and you have given fantastic Remarks at the Organization of American States, Hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations leadership to
this organization, and indeed to the hemisphere. Thank you for that. I would also like to thank the Council on Foreign Relations for hosting this event and for inviting me here to speak with you. I have to say I've never seen the Council’s Washington offices; this despite that fact that I been a
member of the Council for many, many years. But it is because the Council takes the opportunity to go to wonderful places like this to engage. And it's a great thing that we're in this wonderful hall.
I'd like to thank the members of the diplomatic corps for being here and
honored guests, ladies and gentlemen. I'm here today to speak about the trade
agreements that we have concluded with Peru, Colombia, and Panama. These are
agreements on which our Congress will soon vote. The agreements are important
for our economy – but they are also important for the impact that they
will have on our national interests, our national interest in this hemisphere,
our ability to pursue them effectively, and our capacity to positively
influence events in this region. What is at stake is the success of what I will call today our Pan-American Community -- the vision of a hemisphere of independent nations, living in liberty and prosperity and peace, which U.S. leaders of both parties have nurtured since the founding of our republic. So to understand the true value ofthese trade agreements, we need to step back for a moment and look broadly at
our hemisphere. We in the United States have always thought of ourselves as one part of a larger Pan-American Community. Here, in the seat of our hemispheric unity, the
statue of our own George Washington stands proudly beside those of fellow
liberators of the Americas -- Juarez, Marti, Bolivar and many others. The
United States has always believed that our success is linked to the success of
our neighbors, and at our best we have supported Latin American independence,
the Good Neighbor Policy, the Alliance for Progress and we have worked to build
a thriving Pan-American Community. In 2001, this hemisphere was close to completing an historic transition to free societies, free markets and democracy. One of President Bush first actions was to support a regional effort to formalize this new consensus in the Inter-American Democratic Charter -- signed by every nation in the region but one, and stating that democracy is essential for the social, political,
and economic development of the people of the Americas.
Since then, this consensus has been reaffirmed, again and again, by citizens
across the region, whose elected leaders are governing democratically, trading
freely, opening markets, fighting poverty, and expanding opportunity for all
their people. The exceptions to this rule may be noisy, but they are heading in
the opposite direction of the hemisphere as a whole.
What is clear is that democracy is the most significant driver of change in our
region today. Millions of people once on the margins of their societies -- the
poor and the disadvantaged, indigenous peoples and Afro-Latinos -- have now
become active citizens. And they have launched, what President Bush has called,
a revolution in expectations -- for good jobs and opportunity,
for personal security and social justice. Because of democracy, our neighbors are rethinking their national priorities, redefining their national interests, and pursuing them pragmatically.
Our hemisphere is growing more competitive in every way, and we should be mindful
that our neighbors are not waiting around for us. How will democracy deliver economic and social development to all – especially to the 209 million men, women, and children among us who still live in poverty? That is the defining challenge for our region today a debate not over ideology but a debate over interests.
Democracies from left to right are now giving their free market reforms of the last decade a new focus on social justice, a focus that frankly that once lacked. They are broadening the so-called Washington Consensus into a new and truly Pan-American Consensus.
In a way, the situation in our region today recalls that of Western Europe in
the last century, a time when old ideological conflicts had given way to
growing agreement in support of political and economic liberty, a time when
democracies were struggling to fight poverty and create lasting development.
And most importantly, a time when we in the United States expanded our
security, diplomatic, and development assistance, opened our markets and made a
strategic, bipartisan, and sustained commitment to the success of our allies.
Today, we are making a similar strategic commitment in our hemisphere, to the
success of our Pan-American Community. This commitment was begun in the last
decade by leaders of both parties. Now it is being advanced further.
We are deepening our historic alliance of peoples in the hemisphere -- the ties
between our civil society and our businesses, our universities and our
faith-based groups. That was the goal of the recent White House Conference on
the Americas. At the same time, we remain deeply engaged diplomatically. President Bush has now made more trips in the hemisphere than any U.S. president ever -- most
recently in March, when he said that helping democracies in Latin America to
deliver social justice to their people is in the U.S. national interest. So we
are working pragmatically and supporting the success of all responsible
democratic governments, from the left to the right. The United States charges
no ideological price for our partnership.
To strengthen our Pan-American Community, we are transforming our relations
with major regional powers -- with Brazil and Mexico and Chile and Colombia. We
are identifying common purposes that invest these democracies as leaders and
stakeholders in our region, and in the broader international system. At the
same time, we are renewing our relations with our Caribbean friends, and
working with the international community to restore stability and hope in
Haiti. To protect our Pan-American Community, we are defining a new regional security
agenda -- one that is rooted in multilateral cooperation among the democracies,
and focused on combating global and transnational threats to our hemisphere:
like criminal gangs and terrorism, natural disaster and disease.
To complete our Pan-American Community, we are helping the Cuban people to
prepare for a democratic transition. Here in this building is the table used by
the representatives of the Pan-American Union when this building was dedicated
in 1910. One of the original chairs at that table is marked “Cuba.”
But today, when the democracies of the OAS meet, right downstairs, Cuba has no
chair at the table.
The proud people of Cuba deserve liberty and opportunity,
and they deserve the right to reclaim their place among the free nations of our
hemisphere. Finally, to expand the promise of our Pan-American Community to all, we are helping our fellow democracies to create opportunity and social justice for
their people -- for as President Kennedy once said, unless all the men and
women of the Americas “share in increasing prosperity, then our alliance,
our revolution, our dream, and our freedom will fail.
Debt relief is one way that we can help to expand opportunity. So we have led
global efforts to forgive more than $17 billion of debt to our poorest
neighbors in the region. Foreign assistance can also help. So with President
Bush leadership, and with the bipartisan support of the Congress, the
United States has doubled foreign assistance to our hemisphere. At the same
time, through our Millennium Challenge Corporation, we are using our assistance
as an incentive for governments to build democratic institutions that fight
poverty and corruption, invest in their people and create sustainable
Ultimately, though, only one force is strong enough to lift people out of
poverty, to reduce economic inequality, and to break down social exclusion in
the Americas, and that is sustained economic growth, fueled by fair and free
trade. Our neighbors realize that the paradigm of development has changed --
that development in the region cannot come solely from within, that it must
come from competing successfully in global markets, and using democratic
institutions to expand opportunity to the poor and to the vulnerable.
Since taking office, President Bush has made the expansion of trade a top
priority. Building on the foundation that Presidents Bush and Clinton laid with
NAFTA, we have concluded trade agreements with ten additional countries, most
recently with Peru, Colombia, and Panama. We now have the potential to create
an unbroken chain of trading partners from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic
Circle -- a community that now includes Costa Rica, whose people voted just two
days ago to approve CAFTA. Our neighbors want to trade freely with us, and this
should focus our Congress on its responsibility to fulfill our promises to
Peru, to Colombia, and to Panama.
These trade agreements will benefit U.S. workers and businesses, enabling them
to compete on a level playing field in new markets, to create jobs and
opportunity in our nation, and to address the wealth of all in our economy. As
the President said recently, all three of these pacts embody the values
of open markets: transparent and fair regulation, respect for private property
and resolving disputes under international law. These agreements also contain the strongest labor and environmental obligations of any agreement -- trade agreement anywhere in the world. And those obligations are subject to the same dispute settlement procedures, remedies, and sanctions that apply to other agreement provisions.
Now, I know that for many U.S. workers competing in the global economy is
bringing some dislocation and some insecurity -- a fear that the jobs, and
savings and health care that they have today may not be there for them
tomorrow. I know that many feel that globalization may not be a rising tide
that lifts all boats. The responsibility to strengthen our nations
workers extends to our nations diplomacy, and I personally take that
duty very seriously. So our diplomats are using every article of law and every
tool of persuasion to protect and promote the interests of U.S. workers in the
global economy. We in the United States must also continue to invest in our people. Just last week, I saw one of those long-term investments when I had the pleasure of
joining Congressman Charlie Rangel to visit the Harriet Tubman School in New
York City in Harlem. This is a remarkable school, where underprivileged
children are discovering through education that their horizons are limitless
and it's the kind of investment that we as a nation need to make to prepare all
of our citizens to succeed in the 21st century. And together with job
retraining and education our workers do need to have a fair shake, because
after all, education is the single greatest force in the world for equality and
social inclusion and personal transformation. I know that Americans well-prepared will compete well.
And therefore, I am confident that we can pass these trade agreements, that we can move forward in a globalized economy as a confident nation in our leadership and in our ability to compete. But I would note to you that perhaps the greatest value of passing these trade agreements will be the positive impact that they will have on the prosperity and the stability of our Pan-American Community, a community whose well-being is vital to U.S. interests. Peru, Colombia, and Panama now stand on the threshold of far-reaching national success. Trade agreements with the United States would help significantly to advance our partners political, economic and social development making their democratic institutions more transparent and accountable, more effective at fighting poverty and corruption, enforcing the law, and investing
in education, health and opportunity for their people.
By enacting these trade agreements into law, our Congress would send a signal
to every citizen of these countries, to people across the hemisphere, and to
investors across the globe that Peru, Colombia, and Panama are dedicated to
democracy and economic growth, that they are institutionalizing their reforms
and that the United States is completely committed to their success.
Now, I know that some may ask about the wisdom and the timing of these agreements. Some may ask: How can we afford to pass them now? I would ask: How can we afford not to pass them now? How can we afford not to honor our agreement with Panama? A country that only
two decades ago was ruled by an international criminal and a drug runner; a
country that has now embraced democracy and is expanding its economy at more
than 8 percent a year; and a country that sits astride the strategic waterway
the Panama Canal through which two-thirds of its annual shipments head to
or from our nations shore. A trade agreement with the United States
could help Panama to transform itself once and for all into a pillar of
democratic stability and prosperity.
How can we not afford to honor our agreement with Peru? A country that just a
decade ago was torn apart by guerrilla violence and whose economy was in a
tailspin; a country now committed to moving its citizens out of poverty and
into the formal economy; and a country that, over two democratic
administrations, despite criticism at home and in the region, has resolved to
trade freely with the United States. Few things could help Peru fight poverty
more effectively than securing its trade agreement with us.
And perhaps most of all: How can we afford not to honor our agreement with
Colombia? A country that, not seven years ago -- just seven years ago was on
the verge of becoming a failed state, whose territory was a safe haven for
narco-terrorists and whose people were fleeing their homes by the thousands; a
country to which we as a nation made a strategic commitment, sustained by
presidents and Congresses of both parties, and funded now with billions of
dollars in U.S. assistance; a country that, in the past five years, has reduced
kidnappings by 76 percent, terrorist attacks by 61 percent and murders by 40
percent, and that has now expanded the sovereign writ of this democratic state
and restored the hope of its people.
We recognize that this progress stands in contrast to the dark deeds in
Colombia past, especially the murder of labor leaders and other
innocent people. Crimes like these are of deep concern to us. And President
Uribe has committed his government to bringing those responsible to justice, to
protecting the lives and liberties of all its citizens, and to showing that
there will be no impunity for any crime -- past, present or future.
Despite its ongoing struggles, Colombia is on a trajectory of positive change
politically, economically and socially. Indeed, Colombia
transformation in less than a decade from failing state to thriving democracy
is one of the greatest victories for the cause of human rights in our world
today. Passing these trade agreements is not a narrow partisan interest; it is of
vital national interest. And members of both political parties understand this.
They also understand that these agreements are an indivisible package. In the
words of 43 prominent Democrats -- former ambassadors, cabinet officials,
policy experts, and members of Congress, they said, rejecting
these agreements would set back regional U.S. interests for a generation. So we need to be absolutely clear about the consequences of failure.
What signal would failure send to our democratic partners in the Americas?
We can answer that question in one word: Retreat. It would be a retreat from
our responsibility of leadership and a renunciation of our influence in the
Americas. It would be a retreat from three democratic leaders, who embody the
aspirations of their citizens for social justice, economic growth, and trade
with the United States. And it would be a retreat from our historic, bipartisan
effort to build a successful Pan-American Community -- united in peace,
prosperity, and freedom. Peru, Colombia, and Panama are among our best partners in the region. Their governments have put themselves on the line and made strategic commitments to
us through these trade agreements. All three of their national legislatures
have passed these agreements by wide margins and they now expect the United
States to hold up its end of the bargain. Failing to conclude these agreements would be a great blow to these three countries from which one cannot assume that there would be easy recovery. It
would send a signal loud and clear across the region that the United States can
somehow not be trusted to keep its promises. After all, if we are unwilling to
support the success of Colombia, a nation to which we have committed billions
of dollars in assistance over many years, others would have the right to ask
what chance is there that we would support them.
We must also ask ourselves: What signal would failure send to the enemies of
democracy in our hemisphere? There are some in the region today who want to shove toward a future of authoritarian politics and state-run economies.
In truth, this is a
backward-looking agenda with a long history of deepening poverty and misery.
The real revolution in the Americas today is being led by responsible
democratic leaders, like Bachelet and Lula, Vazquez and Uribe, Garcia and
Torrijos, Calderon and Saca. Their democratic governments, and many others, from left to right, are
deepening the Pan-American consensus on creating opportunity for all through
free markets, economic growth and democracy. This is the real story of recent
years: Not the so-called Left Turn that we hear so much about.
Authoritarianism may be a competing idea with free market democracy, but it is
not an alternative vision -- because one leads to success, the other leads to
failure. Trying to alleviate poverty and inequality in the Americas through
authoritarianism is like trying to defy the laws of gravity. The only question
is how much harm this failed idea will do to our region. And in large part, the
answer lies with us -- in whether we support responsible democracies that want
more engagement, more partnership and more trade with the United States. Not
. Finally, we must ask ourselves: What signal failure would send to nations
across the globe, to friend and foe, ally and enemy alike. In that regard, how
would failure be interpreted by a long-standing ally like Korea, which has
concluded its own free trade agreement with us? This agreement will strengthen
the U.S. economy and help our democratic ally to enhance its security and
prosperity in a rapidly changing Asia. We fully support our free trade
agreement with Korea and we look to Congress to approve it.
Ladies and gentlemen, at this time of unprecedented opportunity, we in the
United States cannot afford to turn inward, to become fearful, to dwell on the
actions of others or to give in to doubt and despair. Instead, we must remain
what Americans have always been -- optimistic and, indeed, yes, idealistic. We
must remain open to the world and actively engaged. We must prepare our people,
especially our children, with the educations and the opportunities that nourish
and nurture hope about the future. And most of all, we must be confident in our
ability to compete and to prosper -- not just as one country, but as a part of
one Pan-American Community.
Nearly 100 years ago, at the dedication of this building, my predecessor, Elihu
Root, the first secretary of state to travel to Latin America, described this
building as a true expression of Pan-Americanism a declaration of
allegiance to an ideal." and a reminder “of the perpetual assertion of
unity, of common interest, and purpose and hope among the republics.
So it was then, and so it remains today.
The founding ideal of our Pan-American Community, borne across many centuries
and carried by us still, is the hope that life in the hemisphere would signify
a break with the Old World, and a new beginning for all mankind: the promise of
liberty, and dignity, and government by law, the opportunity to reach one full potential, regardless of class or culture, race or religion, and the creation of a new system of international politics, based on mutual respect and cooperation among independent nations.
We and our neighbors in this hemisphere are now closer than ever to achieving
that ideal. And now, as before, the United States has a special responsibility
to lead the way. So let us honor our agreements with our partners -- Peru and
Colombia and Panama -- and let us show the world that the Pan-American
Community is alive and well and that it remains an abiding hope for all
Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Let me open the conversation with the Secretary and say you have
eloquently described how trade generates growth, respect for property,
transparency, rule of law, all elements of democracy. And yet support for trade
in this country has plummeted. Now as our chief diplomat, what steps would you
recommend that our government, and I would say people in this room, do to try
to get support for this consensus that is so vital to our national interests?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, first of all, it will take all of us, not just the
government, but the assembled friends of the United States around the
hemisphere and around the world and also our business leaders and our
university leaders and indeed, those who are concerned about economic growth
and development. We have to be one in promoting trade.
And I would make three points. The first is that we have to defend trade for
what it is: an opportunity for growth and economic prosperity for our people
and for the people with whom we trade. You know, you'll know, Carla, that at
the end of World War II, the United States was by far the dominant economic
power in the world. Europe was still devastated after the war. But we chose not
to protect; we chose an open trading system believing that if the pie got
bigger everybody could benefit. And so I think we have to defend that
Secondly, we have to make the strategic argument for trade and democracy.
Democracy is the government of choice by people around the world because -- I
don't care whether you live in the back mountains of Afghanistan or in a
village in Guatemala or in Eastern Europe. People, if they're asked: Do you
want to have a say in your future, do you want to elect those who are going to
govern you? They will say yes. And we've seen that time and time again, but then they expect from those governments a great deal. They expect that they're going to have jobs; they
expect that their children are going to be educated; they expect that there is
going to be a benefit. And when democracies don't deliver they give ground for
a kind of terrible populist authoritarianism that we see in some places. And so
there's a strategic argument: if you want democracy you want economic
development, and trade certainly helps with that.
Finally, I would say that we need to address, frankly and openly, the concerns
that are there of particularly American workers, many of whom may have skills
that are not up to par for today's economy, many of whom have children that
perhaps they feel are not being educated to the skills of the future. I'm very
concerned that the number of engineering students in the United States, the
number of engineering graduates has actually gone down slightly. I'm very
concerned that our math/science skills are not what they should be. And I do
not think that it is a fair answer to say that Americans -- well, you'll just
have to see those jobs go elsewhere. We have to train our people for jobs.
So there is plenty of an economic pie to share with open and free trade. And I
was in New York last week and I said that I thought in many ways education
might be one of our highest national security priorities because if our people
believe that they are being educated and that they can compete we will be open
to trade. If we believe that we are not going to be educated and capable to
compete we will become fearful and closed. And I think we who believe in free
trade, and believe in its value and its benefit, have to be ready and willing
to address those fears and concerns that are there too.
QUESTION: Thank you. Stephen Donahoo from Kissinger McLarty Associates, and
thank you for coming to speak to us at the Council.
Madame Secretary, President Uribe has taken some political risk in asking
Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to
facilitate and mediate a humanitarian exchange of prisoners and hostages
between the Government of Colombia an the FARC. How would you characterize your
support for the efforts of President Uribe, Senator Cordoba and President
Chavez to get this exchange going, which includes three U.S. hostages that have
been held by the FARC for four and a half years?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, let me make one point first, which is obviously the
release of hostages is something that we have worked for with the Uribe
government and continue to seek. And it is certainly the case that we have been
reassured and comforted by Uribe's government continued emphasis on the fact
that all hostages must be treated alike; in other words, that American hostage
are not to be treated differently than other hostages. And so I think that that
is a reassurance that we did not even have to seek; Colombia came to us in that
regard. We will work very closely with Colombia on this idea, on this initiative, to
make certain that none of our and their red lines are crossed here. I think
everybody wants to be able to get to a solution of the hostage crisis. But we
have very close coordination and very close discussions with Colombia about
this initiative as it goes forward.

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