Media Center

Press Release


  September 25, 2003

Paraguay’s President, Nicanor Duarte Frutos, speaking at the Organization of American States (OAS) today, cited the campaign against corruption in his country as central to the war on poverty and social inequity.

“Paraguay is experiencing a political, moral and ethical rebirth after a long history of corruption and shattered dreams,” the Paraguayan leader told member state ambassadors at a protocolary session of the OAS Permanent Council, called in his honor. He outlined his government’s three-pronged anti-corruption drive, centered on transparency, public service evaluation and social responsibility.

President Duarte Frutos said, “Poverty will end when democracy emerges in our countries.” He warned that “unless we can tackle social inequity, poverty and corruption in our regions, demagogic nationalism could return and our region could see a strange kind of militarism reappear.”

Pointing to the need for a sincere war on poverty, the Paraguayan President added, “We do not want to be viewed merely as markets but rather as communities—as human beings with aspirations and dreams.” He said “those who have more must understand that people are more important than markets.”

That is why Paraguay is emphasizing the need to forge a new kind of state with moral authority, he went on to state. “If the state has no moral authority, what market economy is there? If governments are held captive to lobbyists and big corporations, and if leaders are committed to certain economic interest groups, what free market can there be without a state or government having moral authority?”

The President expressed appreciation for the role the OAS and its Secretary General, César Gaviria, at critical junctures in his country’s history. He said his country’s democracy has been bolstered, thanks to support from the hemispheric organization.

For his part, the Permanent Council Chairman, Haiti’s Ambassador Raymond Valcin, lauded the priorities established by the Paraguayan President, noting that they are perfectly in line with the hemispheric perspective on public ethics. He noted the important stress on fighting poverty as well, referring to the upcoming anti-poverty conference slated for the Venezuelan island of Margarita, next October.

In welcoming the Paraguay President, OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi restated the importance of the ambitious reform process to provide Paraguayans with the tools to promote a new and responsible economic model aimed at enhancing “the moral healing of democratic institutions.”

Einaudi reiterated as well the Organization’s support to help Paraguay “towards a destiny of well-being, peace and democracy.”

Reference: E-183/03