Media Center



May 24, 2005 - Washington, DC

Embajador Alberto Borea Odría
Presidente del Consejo Permanente
Embajador Luigi Einaudi, Secretario General Interino
Señoras y señores Representantes Permanentes y Alternos
Señores Observadores
Señoras y Señores

I want to thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to share with you some ideas about our hemispheric organization especially in these historical moments that without doubt will mark its future.

I come representing a Nicaragua committed to development, progress and with respect for the intrinsic values of the human being, fundamental principles of this Hemispheric Forum.

I do so from the perspective of a Nicaraguan who has suffered in his own flesh the horrors of war and the fatality of injustice.

I come from a country small in territory but with great sentiments of brotherhood and solidarity. A country that has successfully experienced the participation of this Organization in the gaining of its peace and democracy. In this regard, the OAS has been a principal actor not only with the XVII Consultative Meeting, which began the overthrow of a dictatorship of more than four decades, but also in the process of pacification that succeeded in concluding a war of almost ten years. It also contributes with the process of humanitarian demining which constituted an experience without precedent in the Central American region.

For these reasons, I am a faithful believer that our Organization should anticipate the events that can threaten some of our young democracies, not waiting until some lamentable actions have already occurred and the damage is irreparable and irreversible.

If it is true that in our continent democracy has overcome the regimes that in the past oppressed some of our peoples, it is also true that now it is necessary to unify our nations in order to confront the new challenges that the new social, political and economic agenda demands of us.

Even as we have gained new liberties new challenges have arisen that require that we adapt our system particularly in the strengthening, preservation and consolidation of representative democratic, incorporating the increasing presence of civil society and at the same time supporting development policies with social justice and the search for an increasingly just international order.

This democracy must be protected by all of us in the framework of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, whose immediate precedent was in the XXIII General Assembly of the Organization of American States held in Managua, Nicaragua, which I had the honor to preside.

On that occasion, the Member States expressed the following in the Managua Declaration for the Promotion of Democracy and Development: “The conviction that the mission of the Organization is not only limited to the defense of democracy in the cases of the rupturing of it values and principles, but requires in addition permanent creative actions to consolidate it, and accordingly a permanent effort to prevent and anticipate the very causes of the problems that affect the democratic system of government.”

A vital example of this type of action by the OAS was carried out in 1993 when it sent a special mission to Guatemala, which I served on as a Foreign Minister, when this sister country was seized by an institutional crisis.

Nevertheless the best preventive actions are those born from the confidence and conviction of the people in their own institutions and the best contribution our Organization can make is to fortify democratic principles and values as well as democratic institutions.

During the decade of the 1990s, while I was Foreign Minister, I came before the Permanent Council to thank this Organization and all the Member States and Observers for their valuable contribution to the democratization of Nicaragua. Today, one more time, I want to reiterate this thanks for what you have left to all Nicaraguans, we live in peace and democracy.

In the heart of the OAS, all countries, independent of their size, have common challenges that require common solutions.

It is necessary then, in addition to the consolidation of democracy, to fight against poverty and unemployment; to respect human rights; gender equality; free and just commerce; hemispheric security; the search for consensus through dialog and learning to combat with efficiency and coordination the new multi-dimensional threats. In summation, these and several other issues are common to all of us.

This is our challenge. It is an equal challenge for us all.

Cooperation and Development

Ladies and Gentlemen

We should have a clear vision about the renovated Organization of American States.

We cannot have democracy if it is not linked to development--development which so worries many of our peoples. Democracy should be protected by all of us within the Framework of the Democratic Charter, but also it is important to connect it with progress so that our citizens feel that democracy produces well being, that without democracy the benefits of development are more difficult to obtain. Accordingly, the Executive General for Sustainable Development should continue being a fundamental pillar for contributing to progress especially for Member States with smaller economies.

Our organization was born having among its objectives the eradication of poverty which was conceived as an obstacle to development. Therefore, it is important that our nations assume the undissolvable links between democracy, liberty and progress, identifying the Organization of American States as an organization committed to work on the basis of our most fundamental necessities. We should go forward increasingly linking the OAS to the solution of the social problems of the small and the vulnerable countries.

Many define development with simple sums of figures, which without any doubt are very important. But our challenge for the future is the connection of the economic with the social and the environmental. We can no longer think of development based only on economic figures, but also based on social and environmental advances; in short, on genuine sustainable development, where the economic, the social and the environmental interact as if they were One.

It is also important to be aware that our development does not only depend on the cooperation of the more developed countries, but also, and most important, on our capacity to put into practice economic policies based on hemispheric solidarity and a just commercial interchange with the all the world. Accordingly, the process of the “Summits of the Americas,” put into place by our Organization, is of vital importance as we face the current challenges with an integrated vision. The Declarations and the Plans that issued from these Summits demonstrate this. From the beginning, these Summits have become connected to hemispheric free trade and the reduction of poverty, and to education and sustainable development in a context of peace, liberty and democracy.

Human Rights

It is without doubt a reality just as we must protect democracy as a political system, that at the same time we must guarantee the promotion and respect of Human Rights. For this reason my country offers its support not only to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, but also the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

As a Nicaraguan, I have personally had to petition to the Commission of Human Rights in moments in which we were suffering the abuses of a dictatorship, so I can personally certify the importance of being able to count on these institutions.

Multidimensional Focus on Security

We are currently living in a globalized world, but unfortunately globalization does not only encompass economic affairs. We are also facing new dangers such as drug trafficking, terrorism, organized crime, corruption, the trafficking in children and people, and including natural disasters which affect us equally. These threats we can only combat if we act in a coordinated manner, and this is the reason why the mechanisms we already count on—such as CICAD (the Inter-American Commission Against Drugs) and CICTE (the Inter-American Commission Against Terrorism) are instruments of such incredible utility for confronting these challenges.

After the end of my service as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I was unanimously elected by the Presidents of Central America as the Secretary General of the System for Central American Integration (SICA). My mission was to direct this organ of integration in the search for solutions to the previously mentioned regional challenges, thus allowing me to obtain a deep and first hand perspective on multilateral relations. We were able to forge a Treaty of Democratic Security which defined a new relation between civilians and the military, as well as led to the adoption of common policies within the Central American system which allowed us to convert the Commission for Security in Central America into coordination mechanism for addressing common problems that affected us all.


Ladies and Gentleman

If we share the same challenges, it is undisputable that all of our regional organizations should, one way or another, share their experiences and promote coordinated efforts to jointly confront our common threats.

The process of integration is more and more a reality between all of the sub-regions, and thus we have SICA, CARICOM, MERCOSUR, COMUNIDAD ANDINA, PLAN PUEBLA PANAMA, etc.—organizations which allow us to work together to tackle the great challenges of globalization.

In the 1990s I had the honor to promote Encounter Forums between two important subgroups --SICA and CARICOM--and these Forums in turn contributed to the creation of the Association of Caribbean States (AEC).

Last week I had the privilege of receiving in Managua, Dr. Rubin Silie the Secretary General of the AEC. We talked about how just by having meetings between the different Secretariats of all our sub-regional organizations we would obtain incalculable benefits, and if we held them at the request of the OAS, all of our countries without exception will receive the benefits of hemispheric solidarity, especially among the countries with small economies.

Most important is that our peoples perceive the benefits of this Organization. That all the citizens of our continent know that the OAS serves to guarantee democracy, peace, progress, development and integration, in spite of any differences that might exist.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Central America feels indebted to offer her efforts as one who has accepted the challenge to contribute to the greatness of this Organization.

The moment has arrived --after 25 years without a Central American as a Deputy Secretary General--to offer our willingness and our capacity to contribute in the strengthening of the OAS so that it can overcome the situations that the Secretary General elect, Jose Miguel Insulza, has so well defined as the urgent priorities.

The OAS must modernize--in austerity and with new and creative ideas. I promise to work in a coordinated manner with the Secretary General and the Member States in order to achieve efficient and effective management, contributing to overcome the budget difficulties that our organization currently faces.

Also with the goal of contributing to a transparent and efficient administration, I submitted the day before yesterday to Ambassador Luigi Einaudi, Interim Secretary General, my declaration of assets, the same declaration which I submitted to the Comptroller General of the Republic of Nicaragua.

Mr President of the Permanent Council

I have shared with you the values and principles in which I have based my commitment to serve as Deputy Secretary General. Nicaragua, which has received the benefits of this Hemispheric Organization, wants to now contribute with all the democracies in the hemisphere.

I ask for your support and thank you for the confidence that has already been deposited in me by various sister countries. I thank you all for this opportunity that you have given me to share with you my reflections.