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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Address at the Miami Dade Community College Leadership Series
Sheraton Biscayne Bay Hotel
Miami, Florida, February 27, 1998
As released by the Bureau of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of State

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As Prepared for Delivery

I am delighted to be here at Dade Community College and in the Miami area, where I have had the opportunity to visit, on happy days and sad, several times over the past two years.

Whatever the occasion, you have always made me feel at home. Perhaps when I'm done as Secretary of State, I'll retire down here. After all, I like the sun, I like the beach, I like horse racing and I could probably even get to like football. Senator Bob Graham keeps telling me that the best thing about Florida is its people, and all I can say--based on my own experience--is that he is right.

I also want to express sympathy to all the people of Florida with respect to the devastating damage caused by the tornado earlier this week. The victims and their families are--and will be--in my prayers.

Last June, at a ceremony commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Marshall Plan, I spoke of the international system as it is now developing.

I said that, because of sacrifices made by our parents and their generation, we not only ended the Cold War peacefully, but began a process that is bringing nations everywhere closer together around basic principles of democracy, open markets, law and a commitment to peace.

Our task, as we prepare for the new century, is to continue that process and accelerate it. For the revolution in communications and technology has made the world smaller.

Today, we all have a stake in the global economy and marketplace. We all care whether our children grow up in a world more, rather than less, at peace. We all want our families to be secure from the threats posed by drugs, disease, crime and terror. And we are learning that, more and more, what happens anywhere will matter everywhere.

That's why America is leading the way in helping to build a Europe that is whole and free, where our NATO alliance is strengthened and the people of Bosnia can avoid a return to genocide and war.

That's why President Clinton is working so hard to sustain American prosperity within a growing world economy, to see that U.S. companies and workers are treated fairly, and to help troubled economies in East Asia not only recover, but reform.

And that is why we continue, despite setbacks, to pursue the possibility of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

In this fiftieth anniversary year of the creation of the State of Israel, we hope to see decisive progress towards a future in which Israel and her Arab neighbors can live in peace and security, and in which all the children of the region will be able to look forward with hope.

We do not under-estimate the obstacles, but neither can we ignore the stakes. It is up to the leaders in the region to make the hard decisions that will make peace possible. But we will do all we can to help them find the way, and to minimize the risks.

Our interest in a stable and peaceful international system is also why the United States has once again stood up to Saddam Hussein.

Under the agreement reached last weekend, Iraq has promised to UN inspectors and here I quote "immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access" to all sites, including those previously kept off limits. This step back by Iraq is a step forward for our policy of containing the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

I know there are some who want to reject this agreement and start bombing tomorrow. But I don't think the majority of the American people want that. And am certain the world would neither understand nor accept it.

Iraq has made a commitment in as public a way as possible to abide by UN resolutions and provide full access for UN inspectors.

We need to:

-- test that agreement;

-- hold Iraq to its word;

-- make sure the UN's professional inspectors retain their authority and responsibility;

-- scour Iraq for evidence of nuclear, chemical, biological and other prohibited weapons production;

-- monitor Iraqi facilities;

-- continue to enforce the no-fly and no-drive zones;

-- maintain sanctions until there is full compliance with all relevant UN security council resolutions;

-- work more effectively with the Iraqi opposition; and

-- above all, maintain a strong military presence so that Saddam understands what the world understands: Saddam cannot and will not be allowed to cheat again.

I also wanted to talk with you today about where the Americas fit into the international system of democracy, free markets and law that we are building.

This is timely, because we are in a period of renewed emphasis on our relations with our neighbors in this hemisphere.

This attention is warranted not only by proximity of geography, but by proximity of values. For today, with one lonely exception, every government in the Americas is freely-elected. Every major economy has liberalized its system for investment and trade. And with the war in Guatemala ended, Central America is at peace for the first time in decades.

Despite this, the region still faces serious challenges. Growing populations make it harder to translate overall growth into higher standards of living. For many, the dividends of economic reform are not yet visible, while the costs of the accompanying austerity measures are. The building of democracy remains in all countries a work in progress, with stronger, more independent legal systems an urgent need in most.

In Haiti, the job of creating a democratic culture and market economy--where neither has ever existed--is especially daunting. For months, Haiti has been mired in a political standoff. Other young democracies have taken years and endured much violence to sort out such tensions. Haitians are trying to do so through dialogue and debate, not guns. This takes time, but it is important for them to find the way forward.

Meanwhile, efforts to restructure the Haitian economy have lagged. For millions of impoverished Haitians, democracy has not yet delivered on the hope of prosperity.

We cannot turn our backs at this critical stage. To do so would risk creating a Haiti of the future that mirrors its past: an undemocratic Haiti that serves as a safe haven for criminals and drug traffickers and from which thousands of would-be migrants are driven to seek refuge on the coasts of your state.

Our economic and food aid to Haiti is directed at basic human needs and at laying the foundation for sustained economic growth. I have asked the support of Congress, and I ask your support, for continuing and increasing this assistance.

Helping democracy to put down roots in Haiti--a nation close both to our shores and to our hearts--is the smart thing to do. It is also the right thing to do.

Just a few miles to the west of Haiti, in Cuba, Christmas had special meaning this year because of the historic visit from Pope John Paul II. But the United States will not rest until another day--Election Day--has meaning there, as well. The people of Cuba deserve the same right as their counterparts from Argentina to Alaska to select their own leaders and shape their own lives.

The Pope went to Cuba, in his own words, as "a pilgrim of love, of truth and of hope." He prayed that Cuba would open itself to the world and the world to Cuba; and that the land would "offer to everyone a climate of freedom."

By so doing, His Holiness echoed the aspirations of heroes from Marti to Morales, Costa, de la Pena, and Alejandres. He spoke for the thousands in Cuba who are still denied the right to speak freely, but whose love for freedom will never be quenched. And he lent his own remarkable voice to the rising chorus from around the world for democratic change in Cuba.

The policy of the United States is clear. We seek a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba. It is that simple. It is that unshakable. And towards that goal, we will never compromise our principles, nor cease our efforts.

This spring, the hemisphere's democratic leaders will gather in Santiago, Chile.

They will build on the summit held three years ago here in Miami, where they spelled out a common vision for a hemispheric community of nations.

On that occasion, President Clinton said that the true test of our cooperation would be if we could turn "dichos" to "hechos", or words to deeds.

In the years since, we have worked hard, and have much progress to report: the world's first regional pact against corruption; new agreements to combat money laundering and terrorism; and new programs to combat disease, promote micro-enterprise, protect women from domestic violence, increase energy efficiency, safeguard the environment, and assist in humanitarian relief.

Moreover, counternarcotics cooperation is stronger than ever. Peru has slashed coca production to the lowest level in a decade. Mexico has greatly improved its overall anti-drug performance. In Colombia, although overall progress remains unsatisfactory, the police and anti-narcotics forces are conducting a valiant and increasingly effective eradication and interdiction effort.

This progress is welcome, but we know that--in the struggle between law and outlaw, between democratic integrity and corrupt expediency--we remain in the hottest stages of battle. We must move ahead on all fronts and join in emphasizing to citizens throughout the region President Clinton's message that "Drugs are wrong, drugs are illegal, drugs will kill you."

Since the Miami summit, efforts are underway, as well, to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA, by the year 2005. Latin America and the Caribbean are home to half a billion people. This matters to the United States because the region's markets are growing and they buy what we sell. Further, in this region, our initiatives on trade are a vital part of the larger process of cooperation we are building.

So a Free Trade Area in this hemisphere would be good for U.S. workers, good for U.S. business, and good for U.S. interests. It would also be good for Miami. I note, for example, that you have offered to host an FTAA Secretariat here in Dade County. I can assure you that offer has the Administration's enthusiastic support.

The Free Trade Area will be one of many subjects on the agenda when in Santiago when our leaders chart a course that will take the Americas into the 21st century.

Education will be a principal focus at the second summit, because of its importance to every society in the region. That is why it was so appropriate, two years ago, that this community chose to remember the four Brothers to the Rescue pilots by establishing a scholarship fund. For education is the path to truth which is the foundation of freedom.

Also in Santiago, leaders will discuss the ways and means of making their democracies more stable, more accountable and more inclusive.

They will review progress towards so-called second generation economic reforms that extend accountability and the rule of law to the financial world, promoting prosperity that is broad-based and that can vaccinate American economies against the East Asian flu.

They will explore areas for greater cooperation, not only on trade, but on the environment, the development of clean energy resources and more efficient and safe networks of transportation.

And they will develop strategies for promoting the full range of human and civil rights.

The United States is looking forward to participating in the Summit, and to achieving an outcome notable not only for its goals, but for concrete plans to achieve them.

For almost as many years as I have been alive, the United States has played the leading role within the international system, not as sole arbiter of right and wrong, but as pathfinder--as the nation able to show the way when others cannot.

Today, from the streets of Sarajevo to the Arabian and Korean peninsulas to classrooms in Port au Prince, boardrooms in Asia and courtrooms at The Hague, the influence of U.S. leadership is as deep and as beneficial in the world as it has ever been.

That is not the result of some foreign policy theory. It is a reflection of character.

Our predecessors were not prophets. But because they stood tall; they were perhaps able to see a little bit further into the future than others. They also had faith in our people and in the principles upon which our nation was founded.

Today, we have a responsibility to honor their faith; to reject the temptation of complacency and assume, not with complaint, but welcome, the leader's role established by our forebears.

Abraham Lincoln once said that "government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said that "the goal of America is freedom."

And Jose Marti once said that, "like bones to the human body, the axle to the wheel, the wing to the bird and the air to the wing, so is liberty the essence of life."

Those words remind us that only by living up to the heritage of our past can we fulfill the promise of our future--and enter the new century free and respected, prosperous and at peace.

To that high purpose, I pledge my own best efforts, and respectfully solicit yours.

Thank you once again for your welcome, and for your invitation to be with you today.

[End of Document]

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