BEST RESPONSE TO TERRORISM IS TO STRENGTHEN THE DEMOCRATIC CHARTER, SAYS
THE PRESIDENT OF BOLIVIA AT THE OAS
President of Bolivia, Jorge Quiroga, said today at the Organization of
American States (OAS) that the best response to the terrorist acts of
September 11 is to support the Inter-American Democratic Charter, signed
on that date in Lima, Peru, by representatives of the 34 democratic
states of the Americas.
Bolivian leader, speaking at a protocolary meeting held by the OAS
Permanent Council to welcome him, referred to the challenges that “we
face together in this 21st century:
combating terrorism, drug trafficking, and corruption, and the
ongoing struggle for the development of our peoples.”
the drug trafficking problem, President Quiroga referred to the
implementation of the Dignity Plan, which has “dramatically” reduced
coca leaf crops. “We do not accept drug trafficking in the guise of
social action, nor should we accept terrorism in the guise of political
action,” he said.
He also referred to steps his government has taken to fight
corruption, by strengthening state institutions, and to deal with
poverty. “Our task in the
21st century will not be complete if we do not address trade
liberalization on all fronts and at all levels,” he said.
President Quiroga said “we are aware of the short-term economic
problems facing all of us in the region, and are convinced that economic
difficulties should serve never to infringe on democracy but rather to
his welcoming remarks, the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council,
Ambassador Swinburne Lestrade of Dominica, spoke of President
Quiroga’s “extraordinary record of achievements” in service to his
country, particularly in strengthening democracy.
“Bolivia is one of the
founding countries of the OAS and, since that time, has participated
actively in building and carrying out the inter-American agenda,”
recalled the Caribbean diplomat. He mentioned the Summit of the Americas
on Sustainable Development, held in 1996, and the high-level
meeting on decentralization and local governance, held this year, as two
events through which “Bolivia has made a significant
his part, the Secretary General of the OAS, César Gaviria, agreed with
President Quiroga that “one of the most important achievements of the
OAS in its new role in the Hemisphere is, without a doubt, the
Inter-American Democratic Charter.”
also praised the initiative of reforming the country’s Constitution,
which, in his view, is a way to strengthen its democratic institutions.
“The end of the one-party monopoly, the adoption of the referendum and
other means of consulting the populace, and increased decentralization,
among other initiatives, will translate into significant progress toward
full democracy,” he said.
to “Bolivia’s ceaseless efforts to fight drug trafficking,” the
Secretary General said that the results of the Dignity Plan have been
very good to date in terms of crop eradication. “All of the
international community must recognize the enormous effort being made by
Bolivian society, the serious social conflict that has arisen from that
struggle, and the need for continuing alternative development and crop
substitution programs, without which Bolivia may be subject to
considerable social and even political trauma,” he noted.