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NESTOR MENDEZ, ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
SPEECH OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE 47TH OAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

June 19, 2017 - Cancún, Mexico


Democracy is a right of the people. At the OAS we have built our coexistence around the basic freedoms of our people.

The construction of democracy is permanent. The agenda demands that every day we renew our commitment to the rights of our citizens to political participation.

The international defense of democracy and human rights are creations of the Inter-American system; security and development depend on them. We must be strong to be coherent. Every word we have agreed to has a deep meaning for our societies. Our heroes gave their lives so that we could build our political systems on basic freedoms: the separation of powers, independence of the judiciary, electoral rights, guarantees of the basic liberties of our people, respect for the right to expression and political dissidence.

Anonymous heroes continue giving their blood even today to reaffirm these basic freedoms. Every social activist murdered, every human rights activist murdered, every environmental activist murdered, every journalist investigating corruption murdered, every political prisoner, every demonstrator who demands his freedom murdered, just as today Fabian Urbina was murdered by the shots of repression, everyone who has died has opened more doors to freedom. Every one, who lives and struggles, moves us forward on this path to democracy with their actions. Every one of the citizens of the Americas is the expression of our democracies, because our legitimacy, that of all of us here, comes from the people and only can be decided by the people. If that legitimization is lost, it will be to our disgrace.

The peace of our peoples depend on the strength of our rights. We will never renounce our rights, we will never renounce peace.