July 13, 2001: Statement on Cuba

President George W. Bush issued the following statement on July 13, 2001, related to increased enforcement of sanctions against Cuba and increased support for opposition forces on the island.

Seven years ago today, a tugboat carrying 72 people off the coast of Cuba, the 13 de Marzo, was repeatedly rammed by Cuban authorities resulting in 41 deaths, including 10 children. On this sad anniversary, the United States extends condolences to the families and survivors of this tragedy. The tyranny that rules Cuba today bears direct responsibility for this and other crimes — crimes, that should not go unpunished, against innocent civilians and countless other human rights violations over the years.

As I said on Cuban Independence Day, the sanctions the United States enforces against the Castro regime are not just a policy tool, but a moral statement. It is wrong to prop up a regime that routinely stifles all the freedoms that make us human. The United States stands opposed to such tyranny and will oppose any attempt to weaken sanctions against the Castro regime until it respects the basic human rights of its citizens, frees political prisoners, holds democratic free elections, and allows free speech.

In order to manage more effectively the sanctions against the Cuban regime and enforce the federal regulations governing the embargo, I have asked the Treasury Department to enhance and expand the enforcement capabilities of the Office of Foreign Assets Control in this area. It is important that we uphold and enforce the law to the fullest extent with a view toward preventing unlicensed and excessive travel, enforcing limits on remittances, and ensuring humanitarian and cultural exchanges actually reach pro-democracy activists in Cuba.

In addition, I will expand support for human rights activists, and the democratic opposition; and, we will provide additional funding for non-governmental organizations to work on pro-democracy programs in Cuba. Focusing our support on activities that promote democratic values, will go a long way toward accelerating the democratic transition of Cuba.

Finally, it gives me great pleasure to announce the Director, Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Mr. Salvador Lew, a well-respected journalist and member of the Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting. I have told Mr. Lew that my number one priority is to make sure that Radio and TV Marti are broadcast clearly to Cuba allowing every Cuban citizen access to accurate news and information. In order to do that, I have instructed him to use all available means to overcome the jamming of Radio and TV Marti. Once we open the flow of information, the demands for freedom will ring stronger than ever.

Central America, 1981–1993

The following is article is part of the United States Department of State’s “Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations” series. It is reproduced here under the public domain.

Following his electoral victory in November 1980, President Ronald Reagan amplified the concerns expressed by President Carter and Congress about foreign support of Central American leftist guerrilla forces. In February 1981, a month after the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) launched a major offensive against the Salvadoran military, the Department of State issued a White Paper stating that Cuba and other Communist countries had played a central role in the political unification, military direction, and arming of the Salvadoran insurgents. Secretary of State Alexander Haigaccused the Sandinista government of exporting terrorism to El Salvador and in April 1981, Reagan terminated economic assistance to Nicaragua citing its involvement in supporting Salvadoran rebels. After several failed diplomatic attempts to dissuade Managua from supporting FMLN activities, Reagan opted to support a clandestine guerrilla force to quash the Sandinista training and arming of Salvadoran guerillas. These “Contras,” as in “counterrevolutionaries,” were primarily ex-Nicaraguan National Guard members who had gathered in Honduran territory. The Contras launched their first major attack against the Sandinistas in March 1982. In response, the Sandinistas undertook a dramatic build-up of military manpower assisted by Soviet and Cuban advisers and weaponry, mostly from the Soviet bloc.

Supporters of the Nicaraguan Contra rebels outside a protest against the Contras at Hurlburt Field, Florida. (Department of Defense)

Reagan’s efforts to strengthen the Contras met with opposition from a divided Congress and resistance in Nicaragua. Concerns about the ultimate goals of the Contras and the possibility of direct U.S. military involvement prompted Representative Edward Boland, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to sponsor legislation in December 1982 that prohibited the use of U.S. funds for the purpose of overthrowing the Sandinista government. The bill, signed into law by Reagan later that December, allowed assistance to the Contras for other purposes. Reagan continued to advocate increases in support for the Contras. He addressed a joint session of Congress in April 1983 asserting that the Sandinista government presented a threat to Central America and U.S. national security. American military exercises off the Nicaraguan coast and the invasion of Grenada in October 1983 demonstrated Reagan’s commitment to countering Communist threats in the region. Consequently, the Sandinistas decided to participate in the Contadora peace negotiations that had begun in January 1983 at the initiative of Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama. Claiming success in rolling back Communism in Grenada, Reagan gained congressional increases of up to $100 million in non-military aid to the Contras. In October 1984, however, Congress ended the support after learning about the mining of Nicaraguan harbors and the destruction of an oil facility. In November 1984 Reagan’s re-election and Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega’s elevation to president in a controversial national election set the tone for additional confrontation.

Reagan redoubled his commitment to the Contras in his second term. In his 1985 State of the Union address he called them “freedom-fighters” who were risking their lives to “defy Soviet-supported aggression.” In June 1985 Congress agreed to $27 million in humanitarian aid for the Contras, but no military support. Sandinista victories against the Contra fighters, heavy Presidential lobbying, and an incursion into Honduran territory by Nicaraguan forces helped to sway Congress into approving $100 million for the Contras, with seventy percent allocated for military aid to be delivered in October 1986. However, the Iran-Contra scandal broke the next month. The Tower Commission reported that White House staff members had been using extralegal funds raised from arms sales to Iran and foreign donors to arm the Contras prior to October 1986.

Following the deaths of hundreds of thousands and a decade of economic devastation, peace initiatives eventually gained traction in Central America. Numerous efforts to establish a peace plan by regional leaders, the United Nations, and the Organization of American States had continued in the wake of the 1983 Contadora initiative. In August 1987, Central American leaders signed a peace accord at Esquipulas, Guatemala that had been shaped and promoted primarily by Costa Rican President Óscar Arias. The plan focused on democratization and regional security, backed with a system of verification. Meeting in Costa Rica in January 1988, Central American leaders cemented their commitment to implement the Guatemala peace accord. Nicaraguan President Ortega entered into negotiations with the Contras and the United States began to shift aid to humanitarian purposes. Nicaragua implemented the accord and held internationally supervised elections in 1990. Violeta Chamorro, former member of the revolutionary Provisional Government and widow of Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, the journalist and hero of the opposition who had been slain in 1978, was elected president and the Contras disbanded. The civil war in El Salvador lasted until 1991, when the FMLN reached a peace accord with the Salvadoran Government under United Nations supervision. In Guatemala, fighting between leftist groups and the military continued into the mid-1990s.

Washington continued to perceive threats in Central America after the end of the Cold War. On December 20, 1989, President George H.W. Bush dispatched over twenty thousand troops to invade Panama and arrest its head of state, Manuel Noriega. Noriega had nullified a presidential election won by opposition candidate Guillermo Endara that May. In addition, Bush had become opposed to Noriega’s continued leadership of Panama due to Noriega’s connections with drug smuggling and money laundering, as well as the declining security situation around the Panama Canal. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Bush administration implemented economic sanctions and increased local troop levels. The Panamanian legislature declared that a state of war existed with the United States on December 15 due to the escalating tension between the two countries. A U.S. serviceman was killed in Panama the following day; this and other events, including the harassment of a U.S. officer and his wife, precipitated U.S. action. Code-named Operation Just Cause, the fighting lasted for five days. After taking refuge in the Vatican Embassy, Noriega eventually surrendered to U.S. authorities and Endara regained his presidency. Noriega was tried in a United States court and convicted on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, and racketeering.

Crisis in the South Atlantic: The Reagan Administration and the Anglo-Argentine War of 1982

The following is article is part of the United States Department of State’s “Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations” series. It is reproduced here under the public domain.

Early on the morning of April 2, 1982, Argentine military forces landed on the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) in the southern Atlantic Ocean. Argentina had maintained a claim to the islands dating to its independence from Spain in 1816; beginning in 1833, however, the United Kingdom had established a presence on the islands and developed them as a British colony. The issue of the islands’ future sovereignty had been the subject of intermittent and inconclusive negotiations between the two countries since the 1960s. Within hours of the invasion, the Argentines overwhelmed the small British garrison, forcing its surrender. In subsequent days, the military junta led by General Leopoldo Galtieri formalized Argentine control over the territory (as well as over other British South Atlantic possessions in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) and expelled the British administration. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher condemned the landings as an act of aggression against the wishes of the islands’ inhabitants who, she argued, favored overwhelmingly continued association with the United Kingdom. She ordered the deployment of a naval task force to the region.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of England is welcomed by Secretary of State Alexander Haig upon arrival for a visit to the United States. (Department of Defense)

Amidst a situation that initially struck some U.S. policy makers as an anachronistic “Gilbert and Sullivan battle,” this crisis presented the Ronald Reagan administration with a formidable foreign policy dilemma. Although the United States had proclaimed its neutrality on the question of the islands’ sovereignty since the mid-nineteenth century, the clash between Argentina and the United Kingdom created conflicts among Reagan’s foreign policy team. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick did not want to alienate the Argentines, regarded by the administration as key partners in halting the perceived expansion of Soviet-directed communist influence in the Western Hemisphere. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger argued strongly to support the British. The United Kingdom was one of Washington’s closest allies and Weinberger feared the administration’s failure to vigorously support the Thatcher government would tacitly condone the Argentines’ actions and encourage other countries to employ similarly aggressive methods. Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., argued that Cuba and the Soviet Union stood poised to exploit the crisis and expand their influence in South America if the United States failed to prevent an escalation of hostilities. In such an environment, he advocated an even-handed “honest broker” approach toward both sides.

Containing the crisis and preserving Washington’s relationships with both governments hinged upon the conclusion of a negotiated settlement. Having failed to persuade Galtieri to refrain from landing on the islands, after much internal debate, Reagan dispatched Haig to the United Kingdom and Argentina for talks with Thatcher and Galtieri on April 7. The backdrop to Haig’s mission was ominous: in addition to an increasingly bellicose war of words between the Argentine and British governments, Britain’s mounting military buildup in the region raised the possibility of actual hostilities.

Haig shuttled between London and Buenos Aires for two rounds of intensive discussions over the next fortnight, but failed to broker a peaceful solution. Supported by most Britons, Thatcher insisted on a return to the status quo ante. Any other result would, she believed, imply moral equivalence between the British and Argentine positions, validate Argentina’s aggression, and diminish the islanders’ right to self-determination. Moreover, Thatcher stipulated that no negotiation over sovereignty could occur until Argentine forces withdrew. The Argentine Junta held its own suspicions about U.S. impartiality, refused to make concessions that might prejudice its claims to sovereignty over the islands, and viewed the dispute as a matter national honor. A series of detailed proposals and counterproposals failed to break the diplomatic impasse. Following a successful British operation to retake South Georgia and with growing indications of the Thatcher government’s readiness to seek a military solution, Argentina officially rejected Haig’s final peace proposal on April 29.

The following day, after a meeting of the National Security Council, Haig announced the breakdown of negotiations, administration support for the British position, and the suspension of military and economic aid to Argentina. On May 5, Weinberger met with British Defense Secretary John Nott to finalize arrangements for the fulfillment of British requests for military materiel as part of a broad range of political, diplomatic, and military measures undertaken by the United States in support of the Thatcher government.

Despite this public tilt toward the British position, the Reagan administration continued its efforts to control the conflict and to mitigate the fighting’s impact upon U.S. interests. Indeed, most Latin American countries viewed U.S. support for Britain as a betrayal of the hemispheric solidarity embodied in the 1947 Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (the Rio Treaty). In addition to offering broad support for peace initiatives undertaken by the Peruvian president and U.N. General Secretary Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the administration pressed the belligerents to draw down their military engagement. Ambassador-at-Large General Vernon Walters met secretly with the Argentine Junta, while Reagan attempted to personally intercede with Prime Minister Thatcher. Over the course of two tense telephone conversations in late May, Reagan failed to persuade Thatcher to refrain from “scoring total victory” in the South Atlantic in order to avoid toppling the Junta.

British victory in the field brought an end to the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas crisis. Following a three-week ground campaign, British forces re-captured the islands’ capital, Port Stanley, on June 14, forcing the surrender of all Argentine troops. Three days later, Galtieri resigned as Argentine president, the first step in the eventual return of civilian government to Argentina.

The Panama Canal and the Torrijos-Carter Treaties

The following is article is part of the United States Department of State’s “Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations” series. It is reproduced here under the public domain.

One of President Jimmy Carter’s greatest accomplishments was negotiating the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, which were ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1978. These treaties gave the nation of Panama eventual control of the Panama Canal.

Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos at the September 7th signing ceremony. (Jimmy Carter Library)

The United States acquired the rights to build and operate the Panama Canal during the first years of the 20th century. The Hay-Herrán Treaty, negotiated with the nation of Colombia in 1903, allowed the United States rights to the land surrounding the planned canal. The Colombian Senate refused to ratify the treaty, but Panama was in the process of seceding from Colombia. President Theodore Roosevelt therefore supported the cause of Panamanian independence with the Canal in mind. His support paid off, and on November 18, 1903, the United States signed the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, establishing permanent U.S. rights to a Panama Canal Zone that stretched across the isthmus. Phillippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla, the Panamanian representative, entered the negotiations without formal consent from the Panamanian government, and had not lived in Panama for seventeen years. The Canal opened in 1914, but many Panamanians questioned the validity of the treaty.

As the 20th century progressed, tensions between the United States and Panama over U.S. control of the Canal grew. In 1964, a riot between U.S. residents and Panamanians, sparked over the right to fly the Panamanian flag in the Canal Zone, led to a brief interruption of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Within months, ties were re-established and both sides recognized the importance of negotiating a new agreement concerning the Canal. In 1967, the United States and Panama reached agreement on three treaties regarding the status of the Canal, however, Panamanian president Marco Robles was defeated by Arnulfo Arias Madrid in the 1968 Panamanian elections. Eleven days into Arias’s term, a coup led by Colonel Omar Torrijos deposed Arias and established a new government. Because of the political uncertainty, the negotiations suffered a major setback.

Torrijos, like his predecessors, wished to reach an agreement with the United States. U.S. officials wanted a treaty as well. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger set forth his reasoning in a meeting with President Ford in 1975: “If these [Canal] negotiations fail, we will be beaten to death in every international forum and there will be riots all over Latin America.” In 1973, the Nixon administration appointed Ellsworth Bunker, a seasoned U.S. diplomat, to lead the U.S. delegation. Bunker focused on ensuring perpetual U.S. use of the Panama Canal, rather than perpetual U.S. control of the Panama Canal Zone. Between the years of 1973 and 1976, Bunker and his team were able to conclude a series of draft agreements with the government of Panama that formed the foundation of the eventual Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

The 1976 presidential elections proved to be a perilous time for the negotiations. While President Ford supported a Canal treaty, his primary opponent, Ronald Reagan, did not. The Democratic nominee for president, Jimmy Carter, also seemed to oppose a treaty. In an October debate with Ford, Carter vowed that he would not surrender “practical control of the Panama Canal Zone any time in the foreseeable future.”

In the weeks after his electoral victory, President-elect Carter’s views on the Canal began to change. One of his closest advisors, Sol Linowitz, supported a treaty, as did Secretary of State-designate Cyrus Vance. The two men were able to convince Carter of the importance of a new treaty, and when he took office, Carter made concluding negotiations with Panama a priority and named Linowitz co-negotiator with Bunker.

Despite the fact that both Carter and Torrijos were eager to conclude a treaty, many obstacles remained. A treaty must be ratified by the Senate with at least a two-thirds majority in order to take effect. Many Senators were opposed to giving Panama control over the Canal Zone. Most notable of these critics was Strom Thurmond (R–SC). Thurmond, who was born twelve years before the Canal was built, had a different perspective than the Carter administration. “The loss of this canal would contribute to the encirclement of the United States,” he stated in a 1978 debate. Thurmond and other conservatives also distrusted Torrijos, whom they considered to be pro-communist. Because of the strong opposition in the Senate, Carter’s consultations with Congress amounted to a second set of treaty negotiations.

The Carter administration formulated a strategy to conclude debate over the Canal and to gain Senate ratification. Carter officials worked on selling the treaty to the public, holding hundreds of forums where policymakers explained the administration’s rationale for completing a treaty. Torrijos hosted U.S. Senators in Panama, where he stressed that he was neither an enemy of the United States nor a communist. Actor John Wayne, both a conservative and a friend of Torrijos, also endorsed the negotiations. The negotiators decided that their best chance for ratification was to submit two treaties to the U.S. Senate. The first, called The Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal, or the Neutrality Treaty, stated that the United States could use its military to defend the Panama Canal against any threat to its neutrality, thus allowing perpetual U.S. usage of the Canal. The second, called The Panama Canal Treaty, stated that the Panama Canal Zone would cease to exist on October 1, 1979, and the Canal itself would be turned over to the Panamanians on December 31, 1999. These two treaties were signed on September 7, 1977.

It took more than six months before the Senate voted. Many Senators who opposed the treaties tried to add amendments that would make it harder for other Senators to vote in favor of them. In the end, the Carter administration succeeded—but just barely. The Senate ratified the Neutrality Treaty on March 16, 1978 by a vote of 68 to 32. On April 18, they ratified The Panama Canal Treaty by an identical margin. The Carter administration revisited many of these issues with Congress when it negotiated the implementation legislation for the Torrijos-Carter Treaties. Carter signed the implementation legislation into law on September 27, 1979.

The Torrijos-Carter Treaties allowed the United States to defend itself from charges of imperialism made by Soviet-aligned states. While the treaties represented a great moment of cooperation between the United States and Panama, relations between the two countries grew contentious after the death of Torrijos in 1981. In December of 1989, President George H.W. Bush ordered an invasion of Panama to remove Panamanian leader Manuel Noreiga from power. By 1999, however, relations had grown more peaceful and the Canal was turned over to the Panamanians who have administered it ever since.

May 18, 2001: Remarks by the President in Recognition of Cuba Independence Day

President George W. Bush delivered the following remarks on May 18, 2001, from the East Room of the White House.

THE PRESIDENT: Siente se. (Laughter.) Bienvenidos a la casa de todos que — quien viven en nuestra grande pais. Welcome to the White House.

Mr. Secretary, you were an easy pick. (Laughter.) There’s no question you’d do a fabulous job on behalf of America. Thank you for taking the assignment. (Applause.)

Another member of my team who is here who helps us have a strong and certain foreign policy is Senorita Condoleezza Arroz. (Applause and laughter.) That means rice. (Laughter.)

Senator Graham, thank you for being here. We’re honored by your presence. I know you’re a strong friend of Cuba’s. (Applause.) And, of course, too — and it’s great that Ileana and Lincoln are with us, as well. Thank you. (Applause.)

I noticed when Gloria sang the Cuban Anthen, that the first two people on their feet were the two Congresspeople from South Florida. And, Lincoln, I did notice that you were braced at attention, too, I might add. Proud. So it’s great to have you all here.

Gloria, thank you very much. Sorry you brought your husband — no. (Laughter.) We love Emilio. He’s a good man. (Applause.) And, Gloria, thank you for coming and bringing tu nanita. Thank you all for being here. We love your music. Your husband has been such a good friend of me and my family, and so have you.

The great poet — man, you must be a strong person, with a beautiful heart, and a wonderful, artistic touch. Angel, welcome to the White House. (Applause.) And Lizebet, thank you for coming. I don’t think many in America know your story, that you were picked up on a raft, and you played The National Anthem on your violin when you were picked up. That’s beautiful. (Applause.)

And finally — por fin — “la voz” — (laughter) — John Secada. Thank you, John for being here. I appreciate you very much. Glad you’re here. (Applause.)

It’s a great honor for me to welcome you all to the White House to celebrate May 20th, Cuban Independence Day. It’s a day when we honor the warm family ties, the faith, the history and heritage that unite our two peoples.

As Angel and Lizebet and so many others remind us, it is a day when we pay thanks to the magnificent contributions of Cubans to our national life. They enrich every field, from science to industry, to the arts, including my favorite performing art –baseball. (Laughter and applause.) But mostly, today is a day when we reflect on the greatnesses of Cuba’s far-too-distant past and the brightness of its future; of how, together, we can hasten that future’s arrival.

Just last month I returned from the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City. Thirty-four democratic nations committed ourselves to building a hemisphere of freedom. But one nation was not there, because that nation has a leader who has no place at the democratic table. Indeed, his nation is not free, but enslaved. He is the last holdout of the hemisphere, and time is not on his side. (Applause.)

The Cuban independence we celebrate today was the product of the enormous courage of the Cuban people and the statesmanship of leaders such as Jose Marti. The tyranny that rules Cuba today stands as an insult to their sacrifices. But we’re confident in one fact, Cuban courage is more powerful and enduring than Castro’s legacy and tyranny.

Our nation has an economic embargo against Castro’s regime. But today, of all days, it is important for us to remember that our goal is not to have an embargo against Cuba; it is freedom in Cuba. (Applause.)

The United States welcomes the opportunity to trade with Cuba when there are entrepreneurs who are free to trade with us. We welcome the opportunity to build diplomatic relations with Cuba when the Cuban government is a democracy, when the Cuban people can be free from fear to say what they think and choose who shall govern them.

The sanctions our government enforces against the Castro regime are not just a policy tool; they’re a moral statement. My administration will oppose any attempt to weaken sanctions against Cuba’s government until the regime — (applause) — and I will fight such attempts until this regime frees its political prisoners, holds democratic, free elections, and allows for free speech.

The policy of our government is not merely to isolate Castro, but to actively support those working to bring about democratic change in Cuba. (Applause.) And that is why we will support legislation like the Cuban Solidarity Act, and the Cuban Internal Opposition Assistance Act. (Applause.) History tells us that forcing change upon repressive regimes requires patience. But history also proves, from Poland to South Africa, that patience and courage and resolve can eventually cause oppressive governments to fear and then to fall.

One of the surest ways to foster freedom is to give people unlimited access to unbiased information. The strongest walls of oppression can’t stand when the floodgates of modern telecommunications are opened. We must explore ways to expand access to the Internet for the average Cuban citizen. And we must strengthen the voices of Radio and TV Marti, with strong leadership. (Applause.) And we will strengthen those voices with strong leadership and new direction.

Today — today I say this to Mr. Castro: If you are confident your ideas are right, then stop jamming the broadcasts of those whose ideas are different. (Applause.) And until you do, we will look for ways to use new technology, from new locations, to counter your silencing of the voices of liberty. (Applause.)

Last month, the U.N. Human Rights Commission called on Castro’s regime to respect the basic human rights of all its people. The United States leadership was responsible for passage of that resolution. (Applause.) Some say we paid a heavy price for it. But let me be clear: I’m very proud of what we did. (Applause.) And repressed people around the world must know this about the United States: We might not sit on some commission, but we will always be the world’s leader in support of human rights. (Applause.)

Today, all our citizens are proud to stand with all Cubans, and all Cuban Americans who love freedom. We will continue to stand with you until that day, hopefully not in the too-distant future, when all Cubans breathe the heady air of liberty. (Applause.)

We are proud to stand with those Cubans who, today, enrich our nation with their energies and industry. We’re proud to stand with the farmers and workers of Cuba who dream of liberty’s blessings. We are proud to stand, too, with those who are suffering and dying in jails because they had the courage to speak the truth.

Y aqui en este Casa Blanca, estamos feliz de cultivar “una rosa blanca en Julio como en Enero.” (Applause.) Y por fin, viva Cuba libre. (Applause.) Thank you all.

May 7, 2001: Remarks by the President to the Council of the Americas

President George W. Bush delivered the following remarks on May 7, 2001, in Washington, DC. Bush mainly used the opportunity to discuss his administration’s efforts to expand trade with Latin American nations.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Sit down. Thank you, Mr. Rhodes, I’m honored; and thank you for having me, sir. It’s an honor to be here with Senator Chuck Hagel. He’s a man who’s got a good vision of the world. He’s also a fine United States Senator, I might add. Thank you for being here, Senator. It’s good to see ambassadors from nations in our hemisphere. Mr. Rockefeller, thank you very much for your support of trade in our hemisphere.

It’s an honor to be here with the best pick I could have possibly made to be the Secretary of State, and that’s Colin Powell. (Applause.) He’s doing a really good job of making the case for our country in a strong and humble way. When it’s all said and done, his tenure is going to mean the world is more peaceful and more prosperous.

I appreciate so very much Peter Romero from the State Department, who has been working side-by-side with those of us at the White House. I appreciate Thomas McNamara and Bill Pryce, as well. And thank you all for coming and thank you for letting me talk about a subject near and dear to my heart.

The Council of the Americas was formed 36 years ago, in a different America. And it’s certainly a different world. In 1965, international trade and investment mattered much less to the U.S. economy. We traded mostly with the countries of Europe. Interestingly enough, at that point in time, Mexico was our fifth largest trading partner. Today, she’s the second largest trading partner, behind Canada.

In 1965, so few Americans traced their ancestry to Latin America that the Census didn’t even bother to tabulate them. Today, some 35 million Americans are of Hispanic origin. In 1965, military and authoritarian regimes ruled all too many of the countries of the Americas. Today, with one sad, solitary exception, every nation in our hemisphere has an elected government.

A recent summit in Quebec symbolized the new reality in our hemisphere — a unity of shared values, shared culture and shared trade. And together, we made good progress at that summit, the beginnings of a really strong and fruitful relationship all throughout the hemisphere.

In the 1980s and the early ’90s, our nation negotiated many important trade agreements: the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement; the North American Free Trade Agreement; and the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Talks. Since then, efforts have stalled as U.S. trade promotion authority was allowed to lapse. The inactivity of the American government has had real costs for the American people. The United States has few better friends, for example, than the Republic of Chile; but the fact is Canadian goods sold in Chile pay a lower tariff than American goods do, because the United States has left its trade talks with Chile unfinished.

Free trade agreements are being negotiated all over the world, and we’re not a party to them. And this has got to change. Americans are the world’s preeminent inventor of new technology and the world’s biggest foreign investor. We’re the world’s most efficient food producer, and the world’s leading source of information and entertainment. For our farmers and our inventors, for our artists and for ordinary savers open trade pays off in the form of higher incomes and higher returns.

We benefit from open trade in less tangible ways, as well. Americans want to live on a cleaner planet; we want labor standards upheld and children protected from exploitation. Americans want human rights and individual freedom to advance. Open trade advances those American values, those universal values.

By failing to make the case for trade, we’ve allowed a new kind of protectionism to appear in this country. It talks of workers, while it opposes a major source of new jobs. It talks of the environment, while opposing the wealth-creating policies that will pay for clean air and water in developing nations. It talks of the disadvantaged, even as it offers ideas that would keep many of the poor in poverty.

Open trade is not just an economic opportunity, it is a moral imperative. Trade creates jobs for the unemployed. When we negotiate for open markets, we are providing new hope for the world’s poor. And when we promote open trade, we are promoting political freedom. Societies that open to commerce across their borders will open to democracy within their borders, not always immediately, and not always smoothly, but in good time.

Look at our friends, Mexico, and the political reforms there. Look at Taiwan. Look at South Korea. And some day soon, I hope that an American President will end that list by adding, look at China. I believe in open trade with China, because I believe that freedom can triumph in China.

Later this week, I will send the outline of my trade agenda to Congress. My administration wants to work with Congress and to listen to what the members have to say. We’ve been especially impressed by the fresh new thinking of many members about how to advance environmental and worker protection concerns in ways that open trade, rather than closing trade. They recognize that one-size-fits-all policies can’t succeed. They know we need a toolbox equipped to match diverse tools with diverse problems, and I agree.

And one tool I must have is renewed U.S. trade promotion authority. I urge the Congress, restore our nation’s authority to negotiate trade agreements. And I will use that authority to build freedom in the world, progress in our hemisphere, and enduring prosperity in the United States.

We must pass the Free Trade Agreement with Jordan, one of our best friends in the Middle East. We need to complete our Free Trade Agreement with Singapore. We must proceed with other bilateral and regional agreements. And the time has come for a new global trade round.

I’m optimistic about trade. I’m also realistic about trade. I will enforce our laws against unfair trade practices. And I want to consider how we can improve our program for trade adjustment assistance when it comes up for re-authorization next year. But we must understand that the transition costs of open trade are dwarfed by open trade’s benefits, that are measured not only in dollars and cents, but in human freedom, human dignity, human rights and human progress.

We must make those benefits a reality for all the people of our hemisphere. And that’s the task ahead. I accept it with enthusiasm. And I’m counting on the Council’s help to bring sanity to the United States Congress.

God bless.

April 20-22, 2001: President Bush and the Summit of the Americas

Over the course of three days, leaders from across North and South America met in Canada during the Summit of the Americas. The following are remarks and speeches provided by the White House related to that gathering.

President George W. Bush delivered the following remarks on the south lawn of the White House on April 20, 2001, before departing for Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, for the Summit of the Americas.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. In a few moments Laura and I will depart for Quebec City in Canada to attend the Summit of the Americas. This meeting will bring together leaders from all 34 democratic nations in our hemisphere.

President meets with Canadian Prime Minister Chretien.

Together we will put forward an agenda to strengthen our democracies, to tackle common challenges; and we will seek to expand our prosperity by expanding our trade. This is an important meeting for the United States. The future of our nation is closely tied to the future of our hemisphere.

Many Americans trace their heritage to other parts of the Americas, which enriches our culture. Many American businesses are finding growth and trade in the Americas, which expands our economy. And all Americans have an interest in the peace and stability of our closest neighbors.

Our goal in Quebec is to build a hemisphere of liberty. We must approach this goal in a spirit of civility, mutual respect and appreciation for our shared values. And we must make real progress.

Progress in this hemisphere requires an explicit commitment to human freedom. Only democratic nations can attend the Summit of the Americas. And every nation in our hemisphere, except one, will be there. This is an extraordinary achievement, one that would have been unthinkable just 15 years ago.

Progress requires a commitment to tearing down the barriers of poverty, disease, and ignorance so that every individual in our hemisphere may realize his or her full potential. The United States wants to work together with our neighbors to find ways to give all our children quality education, because learning and literacy are the foundations for democracy and for development.

Progress requires new efforts against illegal drugs. Our country is committed to bringing down the demand for drugs here at home. And we want to work more closely with countries where drugs are produced and traded so countries can better fight the supply of drugs at their source.

And progress in our hemisphere requires a renewed commitment to creating a free trade area of the Americas. This will make our hemisphere the largest free trade area in the world, encompassing 34 countries and 800 million people.

We already know from the North American Free Trade Agreement that free trade works. Since 1994 total trade among Canada, Mexico and the United States has more than doubled. NAFTA has created more choices at lower prices for consumers in all three of our nations. And it has created good jobs for our workers. Now is the time to extend these benefits of free trade throughout the entire hemisphere.

Open trade in our hemisphere will open new markets for our farmers and ranchers, workers and service providers, and high-tech entrepreneurs. It will fuel the engines of economic growth that create new jobs and new income. And it will apply the power of the markets to the needs of the poor. It will give new incentives for nations to reform their economies. It will reinforce our hemisphere’s democratic gains because people who operate in open economies eventually demand more open societies.

This third Summit of the Americas will take the next steps in creating an entire hemisphere that is both prosperous and free. Es una tarea importante. Tenemos que aprovechar la oportunidad. It’s a great task and an extraordinary opportunity to make the Americas the land of opportunity. And I look forward to getting started this weekend in Quebec.

Thank you all very much.

President George W. Bush delivered the following remarks during a photo opportunity with Andean leaders on April 20, 2001, during the Summit of the Americas.

THE PRESIDENT:  I want to thank you all for coming.  It is my honor to host what I think is a very important meeting between the members of the Andean coalition and my country.  I wanted to visit with the leaders face to face.  I met President Pastrana before, it’s good see him again.  I have talked on the phone to some of the leaders.  I want to assure the leaders here that our nation looks forward to working with you, and particularly when it comes to trade and commerce.

I want to assure the leaders that Plan Colombia means more than just the country of Colombia.  I know that’s of concern to the President of Ecuador, that we’ve got plans for all the countries in the region.  And it’s not just on helping to fight drugs.  It’s on making sure that the economies remain strong, that the infrastructure for education is in place. It is in our nation’s interest that we cooperate together.  And so I appreciate the leaders for being here.

It is my honor to host this discussion.  I look forward to a very frank and honest exchange of areas where we can cooperate; and if there are some problems, areas that we can work together to solve the problems.  So thank you all for coming.  El honor es mio.

President George W. Bush delivered the following remarks at Loews Concorde in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, on April 20, 2001, during the Summit of the Americas. Bush primarily spoke about his administration’s desire to increase trade between the United States and Latin America.

THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank the Presidents from some of the Central American countries for coming here. It’s my honor to say once again hello to the President of El Salvador, the President of Panama, and the President of Honduras. Thank you all very much. I look forward to wide-ranging discussions on the benefits of trade, the need for us to continue to think about how best to have in place measures that will help in the case of future natural disasters, ways to continue to cooperate on issues of trafficking of people and arms and drugs.

So I look forward to a very fruitful discussion. I’m honored you all are here. El placir es mio.

I’ll try to answer a few questions. Sondra, have you got something?

Q Sir, the protests have really flared up outside. What do you have to say to the protestors?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, if they are — if they’re protesting because of free trade, I would say I disagree. I think trade is very important for this hemisphere. Trade not only helps spread prosperity, but trade helps spread freedom. And so I would just disagree with those who think that trade — somehow trade is going to negatively affect the working people and people for whom hope doesn’t exist in some places. So we need trade.

And I am convinced that the leadership that I met with agrees. And we can work together, because they understand that working together we can bring prosperity throughout our entire hemisphere.

Secondly, I would hope that those out there expressing their opinion realize how important it is for the United States and Canada and Mexico to extend our agreements beyond our borders, to Central America and South America, where it’s important to keep our neighborhood intact and to have a strong neighborhood. And these are our neighbors.

I grew up in a world where if you treat your neighbor well, it’s a good start to developing a wholesome community. So I understand some people don’t like trade; I just strongly disagree with them.

Q Mr. President, what are you telling summit leaders when they ask you how likely are you to get fast track?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, they understand that trade promotion authority, or fast track, will be very important for us in order to make sure that we can fulfill our hopes to have a free-trading hemisphere. But we also can, and will discuss, bilateral agreements, or agreements with groups of countries. So it’s a dual-track strategy.

I hope Congress understands the hope and promise of trade promotion authority. It’s important for the President to have trade promotion authority. It will make it a lot easier for us to complete the agreements that we’re all discussing here in summits such as this.

MR. FLEISCHER: Final question.

Q Mr. President, when you met with the President of Brazil —

THE PRESIDENT: You again.

Q Yes, it’s me again — and the other ANDEAN leaders, were they — just following up on fast track — the fact that you don’t have fast track, did they express that as a concern?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, not really. They were more interested in, one, our commitment to the neighborhood. Secondly, they were — we spent a lot of time talking about drugs and drug trafficking, and I assured them I understood that our nation must do a better job of reducing demand, and at the same time, working with the ANDEAN nations to eradicate supply.

An issue that came up, and one that I was aware of is that Plan Colombia could have the opportunity to spread the problems to neighboring countries, outside of Colombia. And therefore, we have to put together an ANDEAN initiative which recognizes that. And thirdly, that relations are — that we must have relations beyond just drug eradication. In other words, that we’ve got to work together to make sure the education systems in our respective countries fulfill their promise; that legal reforms are needed in some parts of the world.

And so we had a very wide-ranging discussion, and I was most pleased, by the way, that the President of Brazil joined in the discussion, because it was — I thought it was a very good signal of his understanding the importance of the ANDEAN region. And he plays a very — his country plays a very important part and a very important role in that part of the world.

Q Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: You got your wish. (Laughter.)

President George W. Bush made the following remarks on April 21, 2001, during the Summit of the Americas.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Amigo y amigos, it’s an honor to be here. First, Mr. Prime Minister, I want to thank you for your warm hospitality, and I want to thank all those folks in your government who have worked hard to make this conference a success. My fellow Presidents and Prime Ministers and leaders of our hemisphere’s 34 democracies, it is a great honor to be here.

We have a great vision before us, a fully democratic hemisphere bound together by goodwill and free trade. That’s a tall order. It is a chance of a lifetime. It is a responsibility we all share.

Quebec City is a fitting place for us to begin. Many of the great cultures that have shaped our hemisphere converge in this city. Before Champlain’s ever sailed the St. Lawrence he sailed the Caribbean, visiting Mexico and Colombia, Puerto Rico and Panama. As a matter of fact, he was one of the first to propose a canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific, so that trade may prosper. During the 400 years since Champlain’s travels, our hemisphere, united by geography, has too often — too often — been separated by history of rivalry and resentment.

But we have entered a new era. The interests of my nation, of all our nations, are served by strong, healthy democratic neighbors, and are served best by lasting friendships in our own neighborhood.

My country, more than ever, feels the ties of kinship, commerce and culture that unite us. And I’m proud to have the privilege so early in my administration to meet with all the leaders of this hemisphere’s democratic countries.

Our task is to take the vital principles shaped at Miami and Santiago and translate them into actions that directly benefit the people we answer to. I’m here to offer my own ideas. I’m here to learn, and to listen from voices — to those inside this hall, and to those outside this hall who want to join us in constructive dialogue.

The single most important thing we will do here is to reaffirm that this summit is a gathering of, by, and for democracies, and only democracies. Today, freedom embraces the entire hemisphere, except for one country. And we look forward to the day when all this hemisphere’s peoples will know the benefits and dignity of freedom. Jose Marti said it best: La libertad no es nogociable.

We also understand that democracy is a journey, not a destination. Each nation here, including the United States, must work to make freedom succeed. Elections are the foundation of democracy, but nations need to build on this foundation with other building blocks, such as a strong judiciary, freedom to speak and write as you wish, efficient banking and social services, quality schools, secure ownership of land, the ability to start and own a business. We must strengthen this architecture of democracy for the benefit of all our people.

This is the spirit behind the American Fellows exchange program that I announce here today. This program will sponsor one-year exchanges of outstanding civil servants among nations throughout the Americas. We’ll also provide resources to help reform and modernize judicial institutions, protect basic human rights, root out corruption and other threats to the institutions that sustain freedom.

Our hemisphere support for democracy and freedom is principled, but it is also pragmatic. Freedom is not only a right, it is also our best weapon against tyranny and poverty. Some complain that despite our democratic gains, there is still too much poverty in equality. Some even say that things are getting worse, not better. For too many, this may be true. But the solution does not lie in statism or protectionism; the solution lies in more freedom.

And that is why we seek freedom not only for people living within our borders, but also for commerce moving across our borders. Free and open trade creates new jobs and new income. It lifts the lives of all our people, applying the power of markets to the needs of the poor. It spurs the process of economic and legal reform. And open trade reinforces the habit of liberty that sustains democracy over the long haul.

The United States will work for open trade at every opportunity. We will seek bilateral free trade agreements with friends and partners, such as the one we aim to complete this year with Chile. We will work for open trade globally through negotiations in the World Trade Organization. And here in the Americas, we will work hard to build an entire hemisphere that trades in freedom.

The history of our times is clear: Progress is found in pluralism; nodernization is found in markets. Free enterprise requires liberty and enlarges liberty. Our commitment to open trade must be matched by a strong commitment to protecting our environment and improving labor standards.

Yet, these concerns must not be an excuse for self-defeating protectionism. We know from NAFTA that open trade works. Since 1994, total trade among Canada and Mexico and the United States has more than doubled. NAFTA has given consumers in all three nations more choices, at lower prices. And it has created high quality, high — good wage jobs from the Yukon to the Yucatan.

The time has come to extend the benefits of free trade to all our peoples and to achieve a free trade agreement for the entire hemisphere. Our challenge is to energize our negotiations on a free trade area for the Americas, so that they can be completed no later than the year 2005.

In my first speech to our Congress, I made clear that achieving U.S. trade promotion authority was among my top priorities. I reinforced that message just two weeks ago, when I met to discuss trade issues with congressional leaders. When I return to Washington, I will put forward a set of principles that will be the framework for more intense consultations with Congress. I’m committed to attaining trade promotion authority before the end of the year. I’m confident that I will get it.

Partnership in trade is fundamental to the hemisphere’s well-being. But we know it is not, by itself, sufficient to guarantee the quality of life we seek for ourselves and for our children. Too many people in our hemisphere grow, sell and use illegal drugs. I want to make this clear: The United States is responsible to fight demand for drugs within our own borders. We have a serious obligation to do so. And we will expand our efforts, with meaningful resources, to work with producer and transit countries to fortify their democratic institutions, to promote sustainable development, and to fight the supply of drugs at the source.

This is a message I carried yesterday to the leaders of the Andean countries. The United States so appreciates the difficult challenge they face in fighting drugs, and stands ready to be a consistent and true partner. We’re also committed to deepening our cooperation throughout the hemisphere in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS, responding to natural disasters, and making sure the benefits of globalization are felt in even the smallest of economies. These goals are at the heart of the Third Border Initiative that we have launched with the countries of the Caribbean.

We’re committed to protecting the hemisphere’s natural resources. That’s why I’m committed to using the Tropical Forest Conservation Act to help countries redirect debt repayments toward local projects that will protect biodiversity and tropical forests. As the program demonstrates success, I’m prepared to work with Congress to boost the funding.

We’re committed to making education a centerpiece of our economic agenda, because learning and literacy are the foundations for development and democracy. The United States will sponsor the creation of hemispheric centers for teacher excellence. These centers will provide teacher training for improving literacy and basic education, both in person and over the Internet.

And finally, we will sponsor the creation of the new Latin E-business Fellowship program. This will give young professionals from throughout the Americans the opportunity to learn about information technology by spending time with United States companies. It will empower them with the skills and background to bring the benefits of these technologies to their own societies.

On the day I became President, I talked of liberty as a seed upon the wind, taking root in many nations. For over two decades, our hemisphere has been fertile ground for freedom. So many men and women have left the shadow of oppression and fear. And for coming so far, this is not the time to grow timid or weary. Freedom is still our best weapon against tyranny and want. In so many places in this hemisphere liberty has been won. Now the blessings of liberty must be extended to every life.

When we reach this goal by our unified efforts, we will inspire the world by our example. Together, let us go forward to build an age of prosperity in a hemisphere of liberty. Together, let us use this Summit of the Americas to launch the century of the Americas.

Juntos podemos. Juntos lo haremos. God bless the Americas and God bless our people. (Applause.)

At the conclusion of the Summit of the Americas, world leaders, including President George W. Bush, made brief remarks on their work. Several of the leaders also took questions at the end. The following transcript provided by the White House is incomplete in that it does not include transcripts of remarks by world leaders in languages other than English.

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: (Remarks in French.) We will start with the President of the United States.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much, and congratulations on a very successful summit. I want to thank you and your staff and the people of Quebec City for their hospitality.

I’ve been most impressed by the discussions we’ve had. It’s clear to me that ours is a hemisphere united by freedom. It’s a partnership that will help us tackle the big challenges that we all face — the education of our children, HIV-AIDS, protecting our environment. It’s a strong partnership. It’s a partnership that will help us all achieve what we want, and it’s that everybody in our respective countries are able to succeed and realize their dreams.

I want to thank my fellow leaders who were here. This is my first summit, as you know. I’ve been most impressed by the quality of leadership. I am most thankful for the generous hospitality each leader showed me. I listened a lot; I learned a lot. There’s no question in my mind we have challenges ahead of us, but there’s also no question that we can meet those challenges.

So, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much, sir.

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: Thank you, Mr. President. And now we’ll ask the President of Chile, Mr. Lagos, to say a few words.

PRESIDENT LAGOS: (Remarks in Spanish.)

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: I would like now to call on the host of the next Summit of the Americas, the President of Argentina, Mr. de la Rua.

PRESIDENT DE LA RUA: (Remarks in Spanish.)

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: And now the President of Mexico, Mr. Vicente Fox.

PRESIDENT FOX: (Remarks in Spanish.)

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: I thank you very much, President Fox. And I now call on President Andres Pastrana.

PRESIDENT PASTRANA: Thank you, Honorable Right Prime Minister. First, I’d like to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Chretien, and all of your people for your hospitality in these last few days — hospitality that we have enjoyed in Quebec. I think that those who preceded me have expressed the basic tenets of what has occurred here today, but now I would like to share what President Lagos said, back what he said with regard to the democratic clause, and the importance of it for the Americas.

We have put all of our efforts as leaders of our democracies to strengthen our democracies. And as we have said throughout this summit, we must move from a political democracy to an economic democracy. Through that, we can seek improvement of living conditions of the most poor and the neediest amongst us.

If there is something that has brought us together, or which unites us, or what calls us here today at this summit, what calls 34 heads of state of the Americas together, what calls us together is our concern for human beings, and particularly to improve the conditions of life, as I said, for the poorest and the most needy.

And, as President Fox said, this is the opportunity to thank all 34 heads of state for their support to state politics, the process of peace in Colombia. Thank you for your support to a political and negotiated solution to the conflict which has torn asunder our country for the last 30 years.

And, once again, as says the declaration, we support the peace process. Thank you for your support. And I would also like to call your attention to the uprising, to those behind it, to those who are marginalized and not following the law, and that this is enshrined in our declaration. We can, and we will, quickly reach humanitarian agreements with regard to the respect of human rights, respecting humanitarian international law, and especially to not exclude the civilian population.

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: And now, I would like to give the floor to President Francisco Flores from El Salvador.

PRESIDENT FLORES: When the whole world is facing a creative, technological and scientific revolution, and countries become more and more integrated, it’s key that leaders of the world understand that the possibilities of our countries are based on going from a view of the state as a closed and autonomous organ to a collection of open, integrated societies that support democracy and freedom.

And the definition of a new state is a basis to struggle against poverty, to respect the tremendous diversities that exist in the Americas, and the possibility of moving ahead in the world the way we want to move ahead — especially those of us who believe in principles.

If anything has been learned from the greatest and most recent tragedies in El Salvador, especially the last two earthquakes, is that the foundations of countries are not physical things, they are moral things. They are based on their strength and their belief in principles and in the belief of men, women, and their dignity.

I would like to thank the government of Canada for hosting this meeting that has confirmed these values, which I believe are the basis for hope for the future in the Americas.

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: Thank you. I thank President Flores. I give the floor to Prime Minister Owen Archer of the Barbados.

PRIME MINISTER ARCHER: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share a perspective on behalf of the Caribbean. It is not only the smallest and most vulnerable region in our hemisphere, but the smallest and most vulnerable region in the world.

From the outset in 1994, we were very clear that the exercise in which we are involved through these summits is greater than the mere creation of an integrated economic area, but must entail our creation of a program of development cooperation to support the emergence and the evolution of a truly hemispheric community for the Americas. And from the onset, we were clear that the effort had to stand the test of equity, had to stand the test of inclusiveness, and had to stand the test of relevance. It has to be relevant for today’s purposes and tomorrow’s needs. The Caribbean is pleased to be able to say that this summit has taken us a far distance to being satisfied in all of those tests.

We are not only living in the 21st century, we are now living in a new information age in which there is a great danger of a new dangerous inequality caused by a digital divide. And I believe that in the context of a 21st century society, this summit will stand as that summit where the leaders of the Americas determined that there should be no digital divide in our Americas; that the benefits of the new information technology have been brought within the reach of all of our citizens. Our connectivity agenda is, in my judgment, the most exciting new development from this summit, which I commend to the people of the Caribbean.

We are also very pleased that the arrangements for economic integration have now been so deliberately designed to truly accommodate the special concerns of the smallest and the most vulnerable entities in our hemisphere. And this summit has stood the test of equity.

May I also say, Mr. Prime Minister, that the Caribbean has used this summit as well and the meetings in the margin of this summit to lay a foundation for stronger bilateral relationships with our neighbors, particularly the United States of America, Canada, Central America, and the Mercosur countries and the Andean countries, and that we can leave this summit looking to the prospect of being part of a successful partnership in a successful neighborhood of the Americas.

I thank you.

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister.

And now the journalists have the floor.

Q Mr. President, President Bush, I will direct my question to the Prime Minister of Canada, but we would very much like you to answer the question afterwards, if you don’t mind. (Question then asked in French.)

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: (Remarks in French, then in English.) So I don’t think that it is a question of our legitimacy. We are very legitimate. We were elected, all of us. And when you look at what was the Americas some 30 years ago, and what it is today, look at the progress that democracy has made. Look at the clause that we have developed together at this time to make sure that democracy will remain in the Americas.

And a lot of people were invited to comment. We organized a parallel summit, at the expense of the government, and they met, they discussed, they debated, they met with ministers, there were ministers from my government and ministers from many other governments that listened to them. And I’m very proud of the unions, for example, who decided to organize a parade of protest; it was done in a very orderly fashion. They made sure that those who wanted to break everything were not part of it.

There were some hundreds of them who had come with the goal of trying to disrupt us, and I want to say a great thank-you again to the police of the city of Quebec, of the province of Quebec, and the federal police, for the way that they have handled the situation. We could see it on TV. And the restrain, the discipline they’ve shown is an example.

I guess in other summits there will still be some protestors. They communicate among themselves on the Internet and so on, and they have the right to protest. But we will not tolerate breaking the peace of the people. In a democracy, you have a right to speak, but you have to respect the law.

And I don’t know if the President would like to comment on that.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, let me just say that I campaigned vigorously on a free trade agenda. There should be no question in anybody’s mind in my country that I would come to Quebec City to promote trade.

For those who question trade and its benefits, I would urge them to look at the experience that we’ve had as a result of NAFTA. Canada has benefitted; Mexico has benefitted; the United States has benefitted. Sure, there are going to be some who complain, and that’s what happens in a democracy. But the overall benefits have been great for our three countries. And it serves as an example to attract the positive opinions of other leaders who came to this summit. It’s a positive example for the doubters to look at, for the skeptics to see that wealth can be spread throughout our hemisphere.

And we have a choice to make. We can combine in a common market so we can compete in the long-term with the Far East and Europe, or we can go on our own. I submit, and I suspect the other leaders will echo with me — I hope they do, at least — that going on our own is not the right way to do so. Combining in a market in our own hemisphere makes sense. It’s a logical extension of what’s taken place through NAFTA.

There are some people in my country that want to shut down free trade. And they’re welcome to express their opinions. I heard it throughout the campaign. But it’s not going to change my opinion about the benefits of free trade, not only for my country and the people who work in my country and the people who wonder whether there’s a future in my country, but the benefits of free trade for all the countries of this hemisphere are strong. And I intend to vigorously pursue a free trade agenda.

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: Thank you.

Next.

Q Thank you, sir. President Bush, you talked at the summit with Peru’s leader about the downing of a U.S. missionary plane in a joint U.S.-Peru mission. Your administration has not clarified the U.S. role in this incident thus far, so I’d like to follow up briefly. How much responsibility do we bear, since it was our spotter plane that identified the missionaries’ aircraft for Peru’s Air Force to pursue?

PRESIDENT BUSH: First, the incident that took place in Peru is a terrible tragedy. And our hearts go out to the families who have been affected. Secondly, I did speak to the Prime Minister of Peru, who expressed his government’s sincere condolences.

Our government is involved with helping, and a variety of agencies are involved with helping our friends in South America identify airplanes that might be carrying illegal drugs. These operations have been going on for quite a while. We’ve suspended such flights until we get to the bottom of the situation, to fully understand all the facts, to understand what went wrong in this terrible tragedy.

Q What was our role, sir, in the downing?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Our role was to, like in other missions, Ron, was to provide information as to tail numbers. Our role is to help countries identify planes that fail to file flight plans. Our role was to simply pass on information. But we’ll get to the bottom of the situation. But I want everybody in my country to understand that we weep for the families whose lives have been affected.

Q Good afternoon. I have a question for the President of the United States. Mr. Bush, you’re personally committed to the liberalization of this hemisphere, but you don’t have a broad-based mandate from the U.S. Congress to negotiate. What can the governments of Latin America do to help you overcome the opposition of economic groups and of legislators in your country? Thank you.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Write your congressman. (Laughter.) I appreciate that so very much. That’s the very same statement that the President of Uruguay asked. I am confident I will have trade promotion authority by the end of the year, because I think most people in the United States Congress understand that trade is beneficial in our hemisphere. We’re going to proceed concurrently with that, parallel to that, with the trade agreement with Chile, and we hope to have that concluded by the end of the year.

But I’ve assured my colleagues that my administration will work to get trade promotion authority. Most Presidents have had what they call fast track; we now call it trade promotion authority. And I intend to get it myself. It’s in our nation’s best interests to have the President have that authority.

In the meantime as I mentioned to you, my friend, the President of Chile, and I will instruct our respective and appropriate members of our administration to hammer out, negotiate and effect a trade agreement between our two countries.

Q President de la Rua, the question is for President Bush, but I would also like your answer if you will, Your Excellency. President Bush, the United States Secretary of the Treasury gave direct financial aid to Mexico to overcome the tequila crisis and to stop propagation to the rest of the region. Given the economic financial crisis in Argentina is already spreading to countries such Brazil, I’d like to know if the United States plans to give direct financial aid to Argentina, as it did with Mexico in the past.

PRESIDENT BUSH: It’s too early to make that determination. Having said that, Secretary of the Treasury O’Neill, as well as others in my administration, are watching closely the situation in Argentina. It is in our nation’s interest that the Argentine economy recover. That’s obviously in the interest of neighbors that it do so as well. But we’re watching very carefully, we’re in touch with your government on a regular basis, and we’ll make the determinations as to either bilateral aid, or additional aid through the international financial institutions as the case merits.

Q President de la Rua.

PRESIDENT DE LA RUA: The support given by the President of the United States and the Secretary of the Treasury is of great value. And assistance to our country has come through multilateral financial institutions and other countries who have given us international guarantees. So this has — insure a fiscal solvency in my country.

There is no risk, in my opinion, of problems in our country, this transitional problem in Argentina extending to neighboring countries. Argentina, with international financial institutions’ help, will be meeting the IMF’s criteria, and is endeavoring in a very determined fashion to reduce the fiscal deficit and to ensure fiscal solvency in every aspect. So there is no risk that we need to be concerned about.

Q I am from a newspaper in Mexico City, and I have a question addressed to President Bush and to Prime Minister Jean Chretien. In Mexico, there is an issue that is of great interest, and I’m referring now to the power issue. I’d like to ask both of you, what is your view for what would be a hemispheric-wide energy plan? What commitments have you already reached, and what would be needed for such a plan to be equitable as between producers and the great consumers of power?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, first, if Canadian suppliers and Mexican suppliers of energy and electricity are looking for a market, they’ve found one in the United States. We’re short of energy. We need more energy in our country. Much of what will be explored from the exploration perspective will depend upon price. The farther away you get from market, the deeper the waters, the higher the price must be. But the price of energy is high enough to spur exploration activities on both sides of our border.

What the United States can do is to provide markets by better pipelines, across-border permitting, welcoming supplies of natural gas, regardless of the country of origin. We can work with our friends, the Mexicans, in the south about the development of electricity. I have talked with President Fox about that not only when I was in Mexico, but also earlier this week, and will discuss this very issue with the Prime Minister and the President right after this press conference.

Part of our issue is to make sure our electricity grids are open enough to handle additional power, say, in the western part of our state and obviously the western part of Mexico. There is some very good news in our hemisphere, at least as far as Americans are concerned, and that is that because of technologies, the Canadians have developed vast crude oil resources in what appeared heretofore to be crude oil that could not be recovered from the ground in what they call tar pits, tar sands, and therefore, Canada is going to be the largest exporter of crude oil to the United States. That’s good for our national security; it’s good for our economy.

There’s a lot of work we can do together. It is important for our hemisphere to not only trade liberally, but to move energy throughout the hemisphere as needed, and it starts with the cooperation between Mexico, Canada and the United States.

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: I don’t have much to add to that. I think that the market in the United States is a great opportunity for Canada. Already, as the President just said, we are the biggest exporter of oil to the United States, and it will increase even more in the years to come. We have a lot of natural gas in Canada at this moment.

I remember at the time when I was Minister of Energy, we had to sell our oil and gas in Canada to our consumers, to give them a market. Now, we have a huge market there, but we have to make sure that the development of these resources will be done in a very effective way, that we have assured market. And we do that, having all the time in mind — we have to do that with the mentality that we have to do these things in protecting the environment. But there is a lot of opportunities, and we’ll be discussing that later on this afternoon.

Next?

Q This question is for Mr. Bush. If Mr. Pastrana can react to it, too, and, Mr. Chretien, if that’s possible. Regarding the declaration backing of the peace process in Colombia, Mr. Bush, would your government be willing to take a more active role and participate in this peace process? And how committed are you to the peace process in Colombia?

PRESIDENT BUSH: We have funded Plan Colombia, which is over $1 billion of U.S. taxpayers’ money. That’s a very strong commitment. At this summit, we laid out an additional Andean initiative of $880 million, monies not only to go to Colombia, but the surrounding countries to Colombia. Monies that recognize that not only is interdiction important, but also we need to develop infrastructure. We need to have sustainable crop replacement programs.

So our country is committed to the region. I believe firmly that President Pastrana is a strong leader who is doing everything he can to bring the peace. But it’s going to be up to President Pastrana to make the peace. Once he does so, we’ll stand by his side. And so our support has been strong, and it’s been consistent. And we’ll continue to support our friend, the democratically-elected leader of Colombia.

PRESIDENT PASTRANA: Thank you very much for your question. Yes, I think that President Bush has — will resume what has been the help, $1.3 billion, the last year. He talked about a near $1 billion for this next year for what he has been calling the Andean Initiative.

More than money, we are asking commerce. That’s why we are asking the United States; that’s why we were asking Europe. And that’s why President Bush is committing in the extension of ATPA (Andean Trade Preference Act) and the enhancement of ATPA, to try to get to really some preference that will allow us to get more employment for our people.

I think that President Bush is also very committed in drug addiction. I said yesterday to President Bush that a drug addict is a drug terrorist. One smell of cocaine in the United States is a death in Colombia. So that’s why he’s also very committed in working and fighting inside the United States. As you will know, the U.S. is expending nearly $20 billion in drug prevention programs. And he’s really very committed to bring also down consumption in his country.

And I think that we had a meeting in Cartagena, the Andean countries, the ATPA countries, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia. We invited Venezuela as an observer to the ATPA. And we hope that with the help of President Bush and with the help of the U.S. Congress, we will get the ATPA out before the end of this year. And that will bring us new opportunities for the poorest people of our country.

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: And of Canada, I’ve assured the President that if they need us to play a certain role, we’ll be available. There are some discussions to have certain participation. And if we can be useful, we’ll be happy to help. Next question.

Q I’m one of the Salvadoran journalists covering this summit. Could you give us details regarding the negotiation of a free trade agreement with Central America? In particularly, Mr. Bush, if you have in mind a day to start negotiations? If you have in mind a date to sign this agreement? And also if your administration is going to give special treatment to those Central American economies?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Trade — I’m sorry, the very end of your question? Special trade —

Q Free trade agreement with Central America.

PRESIDENT BUSH: My first meeting here in Quebec City is with my — actually, not my first meeting — I had a meeting early — how quickly we forget — with our friends from Central America. And we talked about free trade. And we talked about the possibilities of a free trade agreement with a group of nations.

I did not dismiss that notion at all. As a matter of fact, it should be clear to people that as we discuss the agreement that we’re discussing here at this summit, that our nation is willing to work with others, such as Chile, to negotiate bilateral agreements.

And so I’m open-minded, is the way to describe that to you. And I think the leaders would tell you that we had a very frank discussion, and it’s very possible — it’s very possible that we’ll be able to come to an agreement with a group of nations that would really make a logical extension from NAFTA. So, to answer your question, I don’t have a date specific, but in my mind is the idea of that possibility.

Q Will you support, Mr. Bush, any kind of special treatment for those Central American economies in this agreement?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, that’s what I was saying. I would be very open-minded. As you know, we’re committed in your country to helping with natural disasters. It’s in our nation’s interest that your good country, with its brilliant young leader, be — help recover. It’s going to be hard to have a good economic vitality and growth without the aid necessary to help recover from the natural disaster that took place. But I’m open-minded.

Let me just say something on behalf of my government about el President de El Salvador. He is a breath of fresh air. He is a very bright light. And I’ve been most impressed by his candor, his leadership, his integrity. He’s a great leader for your country.

Q My question is for Prime Minister Arthur — and before I do, Mr. Arthur, you would be happy to know that westerners aren’t doing to bad in Jamaica. Now, on the opening on Friday, you spoke of special considerations for the Caribbean in the FTAA process. There have been concerns about the OECD, IDB membership for some of the small states. Going into the conference, what were the Caribbean community and common market’s primary concerns, and are you satisfied that the outcomes address these concerns?

PRIME MINISTER ARTHUR: As I said at the opening, we have committed ourselves to being part of the effort to build a truly inclusive hemispheric community. And one of our basic concerns, obviously, have been to ensure that our framework is in place to accommodate the needs of these smaller, more vulnerable entities within the community.

We are pleased that, as a result of the trade ministers’ negotiations in Argentina, we shall be embraced by heads of this summit that there is a realistic framework in place for the completion of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and that even more satisfying, that there are now clear mandates given to the individual negotiating groups that would enable us to be sure that we will translate the principle of special and differential treatment for smaller or more vulnerable societies into the final agreement that will anchor the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

The Caribbean was also concerned, having participated in the two previous summits, about the adequacy of the arrangements for implementation. I think we would be remiss were we not to say how heartened we have been, ourselves, by the statement of commitments given by the heads of the OAS, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank — to support our plan of action with appropriate resources and new institutional arrangements.

But you must believe me when I tell you that for the Caribbean, we are excited by the prospect of translating our human capital advantage into new industry in a new information age. Nothing matters more to us than to be able to leave a conference where there is a commitment to a plan of action to put the new information and communications technology within the reach of the people of the hemisphere, making it possible for us to contemplate a future of specialization as service societies in our new knowledge-based global society.

And for me, certainly, this connectivity agenda that will share the benefits of that new technology to small societies is an exciting opportunity that the Caribbean surely will not miss out on.

PRIME MINISTER CHRETIEN: Thank you very much, Prime Ministers. So this concludes the press conference. There will be another one in a few minutes by the officials representative of the regional banks and the World Bank and the political organization of the Americas.

Thank you very much. See you next time.