I’m really honored to be here at the Memorial Museum of Juscelino Kubitschek the founder of Brazil’s great capital of BrasÀlia. Kubitschek believed that a unified, democratic country needed a grand city that reflected the aspirations of the entire nation. And he realized that dream with BrasÀlia, which now celebrates its 45th anniversary.
Today in Brazil, principled leaders like President Lula are bearing the torch of Kubitschek’s democratic legacy. They are showing the way forward for all of Latin America.
Tomorrow, I will travel to Santiago, Chile to join democratic leaders – from Brazil to Belgium, Argentina to Afghanistan – for the third meeting of the Community of Democracies. The world’s democratic nations chose to gather in this region because the principles of democracy have taken root and blossomed here in Latin America.
Our world is moving toward greater freedom and democracy. And President Bush has outlined the charge of our times: Those of us who are on the right side of freedom’s divide have an obligation to those who are still on the wrong side of that divide.
Our challenge now is to use the power of our democratic partnership for two great purposes: to deliver the benefits of democracy to all of our citizens and to support all peoples who desire democratic change wherever they may live on this globe.
In this mission, the United States looks to Brazil as a regional leader and a global partner. Our long history of friendship grows from our shared struggle for democratic principles.
We both fought for freedom from Old World empires. Indeed, Brazil’s earliest patriots exchanged ideas with Thomas Jefferson. The United States has welcomed the triumph of democracy in Brazil.
And today, the fact that a union leader of modest means, but of tremendous talent, can rise from poverty to presidential office testifies to the strength of Brazil’s democracy.
But we all know that the hard work of democracy is never done. The United States and Brazil continue to try to bind up the wounds of racial prejudice that is the legacy of slavery in both our societies.
I applaud Brazil’s efforts to bring talented citizens of color into its universities and into its foreign service. And at future academic conferences and international summits, I look forward to meeting scholars and diplomats who reflect the diversity of all of Brazil.
Across this magnificent country, millions of people from over 200 ethnic groups live together in freedom.
In fact, just yesterday I met the great Brazilian gymnast, Diane dos Santos – and she and I greeted each other and then conversed in our common language: Russian.
Brazil takes great pride in its colorful diversity. And it should. This multiethnic democracy is a shining example to societies that still treat difference as a license to kill.
Brazil’s democratic transformation is one of the more hopeful stories in Latin America. There is a dedication to democracy today in this hemisphere that did not exist just 25 years ago, when 14 military dictatorships still oppressed their people.
Now, when the democratic members of the OAS meet, there’s only one open chair at the table. To this day, Cuba continues to demonstrate a universal political truth: abandoning the rule of law for the whim of rulers only leads to the oppression of innocent people.
We in the Americas have codified our commitment to democracy in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. And we must continue to insist that leaders who are elected democratically have a responsibility to govern democratically.
We all understand that democratization is a process – not an event. In the United States, we are certainly still working to live up to the ideals set forth by our forefathers.
It was our very first Secretary of State and one of our Founders, Thomas Jefferson, who said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.”
Jefferson and our Founders understood that they, like all human beings, were imperfect creatures, and they knew that any government created by man would also be imperfect. Even the great authors of our liberty sometimes fell short of their ideals – after all, Thomas Jefferson, was himself a slave-owner.
Our Founders, nevertheless, established a democratic system of and by and for the people that contained within it the means for citizens of conviction and courage to correct those flaws over time.
The enduring principles enshrined in our Constitution made it possible for impatient patriots – like Frederick Douglass, and Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King – to move us ever closer to our founding ideals.
As a black American who grew up in the South of my country during racial segregation, I know what it means to be impatient with the pace of democratic reform. If citizens are to stay confident in their hard-won democracies, their governments must deliver the benefits of democracy to all citizens.
Democracy must provide security, so citizens can exercise their basic rights. Democracy must help create prosperity, so citizens can provide for themselves and for their families.
And democracy must defend human dignity, so that citizens can realize their full potential in freedom.
These three principles – security, prosperity, and dignity – are essential to the health of all democracies. And Latin American democracies are securing these principles for their people.
When it comes to state security, just think of where this region was 25 years ago.
Armed insurgencies were raging in nine countries, not just one.
Guerilla groups operated in virtually every nation, insisting that violence was the only path to change. The prospect of war among states in this region was very real.
And all across the continent, the drug trade flourished unchecked.
Today, Brazil is working in partnership with Argentina and Paraguay and the United States to keep the Tri-Border region safe from unlawful activities. Chile is tracking terrorist finances throughout the hemisphere.
And the reformed security forces of El Salvador are defending innocent people in their country – and serving on the front lines in Iraq.
In Colombia, President Uribe is making dramatic progress to expand the rule of law to every citizen and every village. Colombia’s neighbors are helping.
And the United States is providing money and technical support. In the past 8 years, with our assistance, Colombia has regained large portions of its territory and extended democratic justice to nearly 3 million more of its people.
Today, violent crime in Colombia is the lowest it has been in 16 years.
Along with Colombia, many Latin American democracies are also fighting the scourge of narcotics and rooting out the moral and political corruption that it breeds.
Last year alone, Colombia seized or eradicated nearly 200 metric tons of cocaine. Peru and Ecuador and Chile are working together to police their borders. And Brazil is playing an important role in shutting down the drug trade in Latin America.
Brazil’s leadership in the region is also on display in other places, particularly in the troubled country of Haiti. With help from Chile and Argentina and Peru and Uruguay, the Brazilian-led peacekeeping force is providing security for the people of Haiti.
With Brazil in the lead, eight other Latin American nations pulled together to stabilize the situation and to give the Haitian people a chance for democracy and prosperity. And the world looks forward to free elections there later this fall.
Throughout our entire hemisphere, we have a consensus that free minds and free markets are the key to prosperity. In Panama, for example, an ambitious citizen can start a business today faster than anywhere else in the region.
The free economies of Latin America grew more last year than at any other time in the past three decades. In those same thirty years, the quality of life has improved for many people in nearly every Latin American country, and the value of the region’s exports has tripled.
Just look at the transformation of Brazil’s own economy in recent decades. Thirty years ago, Brazil was an agricultural nation that produced mainly coffee and sugar. Free market reforms were beginning to liberate the entrepreneurial energy of the Brazilian people. And the economy was beginning to expand and change and grow more sophisticated. But Brazil had not yet found its place in the dynamic world economy.
Today, free market reforms have made Brazilian products competitive and respected in markets throughout the globe.
The people of Brazil are building and exporting airplanes and wireless communications, and computer technology. Brazil’s automotive industry is a world leader in pioneering new ideas for alternative energy. And over 400 of America’s top companies are open for business in this country.
The greatest challenge now for Brazil, and for every Latin American democracy, is to help lift millions of people in this region out of poverty.
At the Monterrey Summit, all nations agreed that economic growth is the key to fighting poverty. We also agreed that growth is only possible when governments rule justly, advance economic liberty, and invest in their people.
I realize that democracy’s goals and future prosperity must seem like distant horizons in places like Bolivia and Ecuador, and elsewhere in the region.
These are, without a doubt, challenging times.
But we must remember that building the institutions of a thriving democracy takes time. They must be constructed piece by piece, for years and for years. The persistent effort is how Latin America will complete its great democratic transition and transformation over time.
The history of the march of democracy contains a message for every person in this region who feels that they have not yet seen its benefits: Do not lose your hope. Do not lose your courage. And most of all, do not turn back now.
The answers are to be found in more democratic reform, not less. In time, the blessings of democracy come to everyone who keeps faith with the principles of democracy.
The United States is eager to help all of our friends in this region who embrace the challenge of democracy. We put the ideas of the Monterrey Consensus at the center of our Millennium Challenge Account initiative. And we have funded this revolutionary initiative with billions of dollars in new development assistance.
Bolivia and Honduras, and Nicaragua will receive grants when they complete compacts with the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The United States is doing its part to help people in the developing world lift themselves out of poverty. We are the world’s single largest donor of official development assistance. And in the past five years, the United States of America has doubled the amount of money that we give to nations in need.
For every four dollars that the international community devotes to development, one of those dollars comes directly from the American people. In addition, US$ 48 billion flows every year from the United States to developing countries in the form of private investment, personal remittances, and grants from non-governmental organizations.
To use this assistance effectively, and to ally to people living in poverty, government must have integrity. Corruption is, after all, a drag on economies and it is a tax on the poor.
All officials who steal from their people must be held accountable.
We all agree on what economic economic model works best. Now we must transform our consensus on free markets into positive progress on free trade. The way ahead is clear. The United States must ratify the CAFTA-Dominican Republic agreement. And we, the 34 democracies of the Western Hemisphere, must press forward with the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
We have an opportunity to unite 800 million people, from southern Chile to northern Canada, into the world’s largest free trading community. This would produce an unstoppable force for prosperity that will lift the hopes of all of our citizens.
Beyond the Americas, Brazil’s leadership is essential to advance our global trade agenda. The United States and Brazil share a common interest in ending agricultural subsidies and opening markets worldwide.
We must therefore cooperate at the WTO to fulfill the promise of the Doha Round of trade talks. A world that trades in freedom benefits everyone.
Latin American democracies are working to get the economics and politics of prosperity right. And by deepening investment in the health and education, and well-being of their people, the democracies of Latin America will build strong communities of hopeful citizens.
Defending human dignity is an essential mission for every democracy, and it is one that is very important to me personally.
You see, I grew up in a society that told me I could not eat at certain lunch counters and I couldn’t attend certain schools. But I grew up in a family that told me that I had limitless horizons.
And I was told that if I studied hard and worked hard and got an education, that that was really the key. You see, God gives every person the dignity and the capacity to succeed in freedom. But education has to be provided because it is the key to unlocking the potential of every person and every society.
Education gives people the power to rise as high as their natural talents will take them. Social mobility, fueled by merit and encumbered by nothing, must be the goal of every democracy.
Those on the margins of society must know that, even if their lives are not what they had hoped, their children will have a bright future and limitless horizons.
Education will enable every Latin American democracy, including Brazil, to reduce the inequality between those who are currently benefiting from democracy and those who are not.
As an educator myself, I am pleased that President Lula seeks to ensure that every single Brazilian child receives an education. President Lula said at his inauguration that the first diploma he ever received was when he was sworn in as president.
He has worked for a living since the time he was 11. And he is committed to helping every Brazilian child gain the tools for success that he never received. That is the obligation of this generation to the next generation.
To expand education throughout the hemisphere, President Bush announced the creation of Centers for Excellence in Teacher Training at the Summit of the Americas. The program has prepared nearly 7,000 instructors to train teachers all across the region.
This multiplier effect is already feeding the eager minds of nearly a quarter of a million children across Latin America.
The United States is committed to the success of democracy in Latin America. And we want to expand our cooperation with great nations like Brazil to deepen democratic reform throughout this region … and to strengthen the foundations of freedom in places like Africa and the Middle East.
Our two nations can achieve so much together as partners – partners for security, partners for prosperity, and partners in the defense of human freedom and dignity.
But for democracies to cooperate as partners, they must think and act like partners. There are those who believe that we would all be better off balancing one another as rivals, rather than multiplying our power as partners. The United States rejects this kind of thinking as a relic of the past.
Great, multiethnic democracies like the United States and Brazil – and others like India and South Africa – must all work together to build a balance of power that favors freedom. The rise of democratic nations like these comes at no one’s expense and redounds to the benefit of the entire world.
Nations like Brazil have shown the world that impatience for democracy, and the benefits it brings, can be the greatest force for democratic change.
It was President Kubitschek himself who promised “Fifty Years of Progress in Five,” and then finished Brasília in four.
Across Latin America, it was impatient patriots who swept dictators and thieves and murderers out of power. It was impatient patriots who put an end to statist economies that impoverished the entire region. And it was impatient patriots who redefined what people thought possible in Latin America.
There was a time when cynics thought the diverse people of this region were not fit for democracy, as if freedom were some prize to be won. These cynics once thought the same thing about people like me in the United States, as if freedom were not God’s gift to every man and woman.
These cynics are still around. They’re saying the same things about people in Asia and Africa and the Middle East, as if the longing for liberty were not a universal quality of the human spirit.
History has proven these cynics wrong time and time again. And today, freedom is clearly on the march.
All across the world, people are drawing inspiration from the democratic transformations that we are all witnessing. People in places like Ukraine and Georgia and Iraq and Afghanistan and Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, are all asking one simple question, “Why not here?”
This is a powerful, impatient thought. And it’s the beginning of hope for democratic change in all societies, in all countries.
The struggle of all courageous, impatient patriots should stir the souls of people throughout the Americas, especially here in Brazil. After all, it was not that long ago that the citizens of this country, and the people of this region, were demanding their democratic rights and looking for allies to stand with them.
Now, it is time to draw inspiration from your own past struggle for liberty and to define your future by working for the freedom of others.
The United States deeply values the democratic strength of our Latin American allies. And by working in partnership together, Brazil, the United States, and our fellow democracies will help our citizens, and people in this region and all around the world, enjoy the dignity that only freedom and democracy can bring.
Thank you very much.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you and I’d like to take a few questions, if you have them. Do we have a way to do that? Could someone get microphones to people? I think there’s a gentlemen right down here. There are also questions behind me; don’t let me forget.
QUESTION: I’d like to thank you for this great opportunity of addressing your question. And well, you’ve addressed on your speech about Brazil and the U.S. being partners on security, prosperity and democracy. And I’d like to know if our Minister is intermediating a dialogue between Washington and Caracas and what do you think about this matter? Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, there isn’t a need to intermediate dialogue between members of this community here in Latin America. I think the goal has to be for all of us, and I believe that Brazil shares this goal, to want adherence to the Democratic Charter under the Summit of the Americas, under the OAS. And that Charter speaks very clearly that democratic-elected leaders have to govern democratically.
And to the degree that we have concerns about that in this hemisphere, in Venezuela, for instance, it is not an issue that is just between the United States and Venezuela. This is an issue of what happens to democratic processes and democratic opportunity in Venezuela.
Is there going to be a free press? Will there be the opportunity for opposition to mobilize? How will the congress be treated? What happens to people who are critical of their government?
These are the essential values that underscore the great democratic transformation that has taken place in this region and that is taking place across the world.
And so I’ve had very good discussions with my Brazilian colleagues about exactly this issue in Venezuela and in other places. But the way that we address these challenges is to have a positive agenda for this region.
And most of what I’ve spent my time talking about with my friends here in Brazil and will do in Chile and Colombia and El Salvador is how we unite together around this common agenda.
We all share – these countries, like Brazil – share the view that democracy is the only form of governance that is reflective of and supportive of human dignity. We all agree that democracies have to begin to address the critical needs and concerns of their people, that there is a need for social justice to deal with social inequality.
We all agree that free trade is one of the ways that we can get the growth that allows the economic development so that those needs can be addressed. And increasingly, we are working together in this hemisphere and outside of it to bring stability and prosperity and peace.
I had a very interesting discussion with President Lula yesterday about Africa. And I have to say that many of his images about Africa are ones that were very familiar to me, that this is a place that should have potential to do so much better for its people in so many parts of it.
So we have a positive agenda here. And any leader in Latin America who accepts the democratic process and the need to govern democratically, who accepts the need for economic prosperity to reach all of its people, that accepts the free trade agenda, is going to be a partner of the United States as well.
QUESTION: Good morning, Madame Secretary. I’m going to speak in a language that is becoming a global language, Portunhol, a mix between Portuguese and Spanish. I am Rosalía Arteaga. I am former President of Republic of Ecuador and I am now the General Secretary of the Organization for the Amazon Trade. I am mandated by eight governments who are co-owners of the Amazon Basin and who are sovereign in this basin, of course.
Our preoccupation – my preoccupation, my concern – is about the environmental policy of the United States because the withdrawing of farm subsidies in the United States, for instance, will bring an improvement for competitiveness of foreign products, especially in this region.
And this improvement, which is good, of course, for our countries, can also bring some dangers; for instance, the expanding of farming our agricultural frontier in our countries, expansion of agricultural areas in our countries in the Amazon Basin.
You’re an educator. I’m an educator, too. And you’ve very nicely said about our responsibilities that we have with generations in the future to educate them. And you said that the best thing that we can do and the best structure that we can create for progress is education, but we also have another responsibility and that is the responsibility to leave to future generations a sustainable world. Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: We do have the responsibility to future generations concerning the environment and, as you see, an obligation that the United States takes very seriously. One of the connections that’s often lost is that democratic governments, democratic countries, are better stewards of the environment than countries that are not to be held accountable.
I was a student of the old Soviet Union and it used to be thought in the early ’60s that somehow the collective government that Socialism or that Communism was supposed to represent would somehow be a better steward of the economic resources and the environmental quality of life.
And we got a very rude awakening with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and I think with the collapse of statist economies around the world, that, in fact, not only were they not delivering economic development, they were also not protecting the environment.
And I do think that democratic governments do this better because they are held accountable by people like you, by nongovernmental organizations, by their people, and people care about the environment.
The President has had a very strong environmental record. We have pursued clean air legislation in the United States so that our air is cleaner, our water is cleaner, and we have pursued with our international partners many efforts to bring to bear technological development so that while we continue to develop, we do so in ways that are environmentally sensitive.
The United States spends on the issues, for instance, of global climate change almost US$ 5.8 billion a year just on the issues associated with global climate change: the science of that, technologies to address it, credits for research and development for technology to address it. So this is something that we are very committed to.
We’ve also been concerned about the preservation of historically environmentally important sites like the Amazon. And many American nongovernmental organizations are involved with you in these efforts to protect these very important environmental treasures. We have, of course, in our own country wetlands protection and the like.
Now, the way that we have to think about economic development and trade in the future is that we have to bring all of these concerns together. Agricultural subsidies do need to end and the United States has said that within the WTO framework, if we can get an end to worldwide agricultural subsidies, that we are prepared to do so.
This will help more than anything people of the developing world to become more sufficient in their agricultural development and more capable of actually getting their products to market.
How we develop the agricultural lands for them to do it most certainly have an environmental component and I think that it will have an environmental component. But we should not put economic development and the environment at odds with one another. These have to proceed together.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, good morning. Welcome to Brazil. First of all, I want to express my joy to see my – another African American, like me, to be in such an important position in the United States in an important country. This is very good because we can tell our impatient children that that’s possible for an African to arrive there. Thank you very much for this.
And talking about our common origin, I want to talk about Africa because we know that today African nations are living a very important moment because they are becoming more aware of a developing economic project and they have a greater and developing democratic consensus which is expressed in the African Union, for instance.
And the African Union, of course, puts a challenge before us – all us African Americans, in general – to help them to reintegrate Africa in this world market in equal footing with us.
So I would ask, Madame Secretary, how do you see the United States, an Afro-American nation as Brazil is, can help and actively participate in order to put in the America agenda – and I’m talking about all the Americas – the cooperation with Africa in our general agenda, so that we can share with those that generations ago gave their blood and their milk to create our nations?
SECRETARY RICE: You know, I’ve had some very good questions while I’ve been here in Brazil about Africa and African development. And, in fact, it has been an area of very strong preoccupation for the Bush Administration.
The President went to Africa in his first term. And we have developed, I think, in the international community a consensus about how to move forward on development, including in Africa.
And it is – in trying to do something called the Monterrey consensus and the idea there is really a very simple one, which is that development is a two-way street.
Yes, new resources needed to be provided for development. That is why we have doubled our assistance, development assistance over the last 5 years. Yes, there needed to be the ability of these countries to draw on free trade and on foreign investment, which is why the United States has extended the African Growth and Opportunity Act which permits African countries certain trade privileges within the United States.
Yes, these countries need to have access to foreign direct investment, which is why the United States has encouraged investment in those places where the investment climate has improved. And so, yes, there are a set of obligations on the part of the donor countries. But there are also a set of obligations on the part of the recipient countries. And it is extremely important that we not forget that.
There have been billions and billions and billions of dollars of foreign direct investment – foreign assistance – development assistance that has been wasted over the decades. We just have to be honest about it.
And it was wasted because we did not insist on good governance, we did not insist on an end to corruption, we did not insist that these development dollars would go to benefit the people of those countries, not to the benefit of their rulers.
They were unaccountable to their people and they wasted our money and they wasted opportunity and time for their people. We cannot, again, repeat that mistake.
And so therefore, the Monterrey Consensus – and I have to say, the Africans themselves in what they’ve been trying in NEPAD – say very clearly that development assistance will only work when you have good governance, when you have an obligation or a commitment to invest in health care and education for your people, when you have an obligation to fight corruption.
And in the Millennium Challenge Account program that the President put together which double – which increases by 50 percent over the next four years American development assistance, we have insisted that those dollars will go to countries that govern wisely.
Now, it is absolutely the case that the United States gives plenty of development assistance and humanitarian assistance without regard to political circumstances. After all, we were the largest food aid donor to Afghanistan during the reign of the Taliban. We have been at times the largest food aid donor to North Korea.
So when it comes to the basic humanitarian needs of people, yes, we don’t have any political criteria. But we will be fooling ourselves if we do not recognize that those who receive our development dollars have an obligation to use those well, and that means being accountable to their own people.
There is much more that can be done. And I think we in Brazil can do a great deal in this regard. I believe that the United States is doing a lot but we want to do more.
So I think that what we need to do is to both provide the development dollars that are needed and to insist that those development dollars be spent wisely.
And if we do that, I think that people will, in fact, reach the horizons because without that kind of program they’re just going to become dependent on development assistance, rather than using that development assistance to create economic conditions in which economic growth and entrepreneurship and business can grow so that they can attract foreign direct investment and trade which will dwarf the benefits of development assistance alone.
QUESTION: Good morning, Madame Secretary. I’m a Brazilian Indian from the Amazon states and I represent the Department for Indigenous Women of Brazil. First of all, we would like to thank the fact that we were invited – three women, like me.
And as native peoples, we understand the importance of the economic development of our Brazil. We know that very well. But the indigenous peoples movement, or us indigenous peoples who live here and feel our needs, we first fight for demarcating Indian lands here in Brazil.
And this has been looked after by the government in Brazil. But very often, our struggle is seen by the rest of Brazilian society, or at least some people, as an obstacle to the development of Brazil. Many people, many minds still think that way, but we don’t think so.
We think that for as long as we exist as a people, we are protecting nature by diversity of the water, everything that exists for the benefit of all mankind.
I mean, this is our value, not to protect ourselves as indigenous peoples, but we struggle for the right to life not only for indigenous people but for all mankind and for the well-being of the Brazilian people.
So I’d like to ask you, Madame Secretary, how do you react to this idea that some people have? What do you tell them about their vision of us indigenous people?
SECRETARY RICE: I think the most important comment that I could make is that it is really heartening to see that there is in Brazil now a democratic structure in which all peoples can make their case, can insist on being both listened to and responded to, and this goes also for indigenous peoples.
Again, like the environment, the concerns of indigenous peoples, the concerns of minorities, are better protected in a democratic environment than they are protected when you have dictatorial governments that are unaccountable to anyone.
In terms of economic development, I know that there are often questions, intentions about how one develops economically and still protects both the wilderness and the environmental treasures of a society as well as how one protects the indigenous peoples’ lifestyles and their traditions.
Those are all important questions to be dealt with in the context of development. I have no doubt that in a country like Brazil it will be dealt with because this is a democracy that will try and balance those various interests.
Again, I do not think that we want to pose economic growth as being against the development of a safe and secure environment that we can pass on to our children. That is not the right way to think about economic development. These things have to go hand in hand.
But economies do have to grow. They have to grow in order to be able to provide for their citizens. Sometimes they can grow in ways that are quite sensitive even to traditions of a people.
For instance, we found that in places in Africa and in places, indeed, in Latin and Central America that micro-loans to small businesses, women-owned business tend to both protect traditions and more traditional lifestyles and to allow people to develop product that can be sold to the environment and to improve the economic conditions of traditional peoples.
So we’ve been very much supporters of micro-finance for those kinds of activities.
When I was recently in Africa they had a display of some of the women-owned businesses from some of the most remote parts of Africa where women were given small loans and now were employing other women in their village – right there in the village – to produce product that could be sold in the market.
So, there are many creative ways to make certain that the interest of the environment, the interest of indigenous peoples and their traditions and the interest of societies in growing, which they have to do, can be brought to bear, all of them, but they will all be brought to bear more effectively in democratic structures than in any other way.
QUESTION: Good morning, Madame Secretary Condoleezza Rice. It’s a great pleasure to welcome you to Brazil. I don’t want to create – I don’t want to create very much of a discussion between what the indigenous lady said about Brazilian society being against demarcating indigenous lands.
No, I don’t want to create very much of a polemic around that. I just want to say something for you, Madame Secretary, to see what is the view of a non-indigenous person about demarcating these lands in this country.
Brazil, in 500 years of history, has changed its views about the indigenous question, how to treat indigenous people. In the colonial times, the Indians were slaves in Brazil. Now, they’re citizens.
In the constitution of 1988, the last constitution, the one that’s in effect now, also recognizes the right of indigenous people to continue to be indigenous people and to live as indigenous people.
This was not an old policy here during colonial times or some time ago, no, but today the Brazilian state recognizes the right that the indigenous people have to life, to live like Indians.
Brazilian society is not against the government. Brazilian society, the government, Brazilian – the Brazilian intelligencia, or the Brazilian people does not oppose the idea that many people live in their traditions and their uses and customs.
I mean, this must be very clear and there must be no doubt about this. This is the position of the whole Brazil. We recognize it. We recognize our diversity, our ethnic diversity, and we accept Indians as they are.
And we accept also the fact that they need land, they need land so they can continue to live in their lifestyle, in their natural habitat, and to preserve their Indian traditions.
However, when we start talking about demarcating or demarcation of land, we have to think about the interests of the whole country, meaning the interests of all Brazilians from North to South of the country in the following sense.
The Indian reservations, if they’re not on borders, see if – for instance, if there will be not an obstacle to the presence of the Brazilian army, the federal police to be present in regions where there’s drug traffic, arms traffic, child prostitution and the existence of very mysterious NGOs that we don’t even know what they do.
So the national interest prevails at this point so that national sovereignty is not affected negatively in certain regions. So this is also the interest of all the Brazilians – I mean, along the borders, the army, the federal police must be there and especially that we do not empty out the local areas along the borders because it’s in the interest of all Brazilians that our borders be alive and populated by Brazilians from all ethnic groups. It’s not a controversy on my part, not a speech on my part, but you must know what non-Indians think about this. Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Democracy in Brazil is clearly alive and well. People can debate these things. You know, I was saying last night to my counterparts: big, multiethnic democracies are complex and they’re hard and they’re cacophonous and they’re sometimes noisy.
But would anybody rather live in a society that is homogenous and dull and where people seem to believe that the future is not in diversity? That’s what’s wonderful about a society like this and it’s why it’s a great honor to be here and to participate as a partner with Brazil in taking this kind of great democracy and hopefully seeing it spread to other places.
There are a couple of other final questions? One more question, all right? Right here, the lady’s right there.
QUESTION: Good morning, Madame Secretary, good morning. I am a Brazilian representative for the Workers’ Party and I would like to talk about three issues here. First, I have listened with great attention, your explanation about Haiti. We and our parliament and our congress – we have carried out a very, very intense debate about this because we sent troops to Haiti and our UN commander is a Brazilian general, General Heleno.
We think that the situation in Haiti will not be resolved just through elections. I mean, we need other initiatives. Other actions must be carried out before elections.
First, the donor countries must deliver and apply the UN resolution that mandates these grants and these donations. So what’s the U.S. position about this, because money is not getting to Haiti?
Second, the international community, especially the South American community – because Haiti is also a problem for the South American community, so South America, through electoral observers, must make – must ensure that those who are disputing power in Haiti could get together in a political participation process that would itself lead to elections.
And the third action is that the UN mission will not alone solve the security problem in Haiti. So I would like to see what your – what’s the U.S. position about this?
The second question – very, very quickly. The Brazilian press reported inside the newspaper a very sensitive issue, in the sense that the U.S. would be very concerned about the landless movement in Pernambuco because they were fearing that in the state of Pernambuco the FARC would be also in cahoots with the landless movement in Brazil.
What’s your reaction to that? Because the congress here in Brazil was very concerned by this report in this newspaper and the interpretation – and I say that in quotes about this by the government.
SECRETARY RICE: First the question of the FARC and I don’t know the specific report to which you are referring, but I know that the Brazilian Government is attentive to and vigilant about the problem of terrorism and the problem of narco-trafficking, which come together in the FARC, and that the Brazilian Government has been very supportive of the Uribe government as it has tried to take back its territory, it has tried to establish safety and security for the Colombian people.
It has tried to fight off the narco-terrorists. I assume that the FARC have tried to get to other borders, to other places for which to operate, but I have great confidence in the Brazilian government’s vigilance on the issues of terrorism, vigilance on the issues of narco-trafficking, and its very strong support for the Colombian Government as it tries to deal with the FARC.
On the question of Haiti, yes, you are absolutely right. The UN mission there, the peacekeeping mission, will not solve the problem of Haiti. We are going to have to sustain, in Haiti, our attention and our support for the Haitian people, but we have to do it step by step.
And the first step was to take a situation which had gotten out of control and which the people who supported – some of the people who supported Aristide were causing violence in the area, had their thugs going out to beat up people, where he had lost the confidence of the Haitian people to govern. And once he left the country, we had to create an environment for stability.
And first, the United States and Canada and some others went in as an immediate force to try and provide that stability. And now, Brazil has, under UN mandate, taken over the peacekeeping operation, leads that operation.
And the idea is to provide stability, to provide security in the context of which the kinds of changes and the kinds of policies that you were describing need to take place.
That includes – there needs to be – and the United States is very involved in this – a reform of the security forces of Haiti, particularly the national police, to an organization that is not corrupt, that is not politically motivated, that answers to civilian control and that can secure for Haiti itself, rather than having the international community have to do that.
Secondly, we do have to provide economic opportunity to Haiti and the United States is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on trying to help the Haitians to develop the businesses and the economic activity that will ultimately lead to the ability of Haiti to have product that can actually compete in the international system.
We have something called the Caribbean Basin Initiative, of which Haiti is a part and which we have certain trade benefits for that region that, if Haiti can get its economic activity going, it can participate in that Caribbean – more fully in that Caribbean Basin Initiative.
We’ve also provided humanitarian assistance to Haiti as well as assistance at the time of the hurricanes when, unfortunately, Haiti, a country that already had many too many troubles, was hit hard by the hurricanes. So there is money.
There was a donor conference that gave hundreds of millions of dollars, I think nearly a billion dollars in pledges to support Haiti. And so the donor community is coming together, but even that has to have a political structure and that’s why people are focusing toward the elections.
It doesn’t mean that there will not need to be efforts at national reconciliation getting to those elections, but elections play an extremely important role in putting in place, then, a legitimate government that can take the next steps.
So you are right. This is a long-term process, not a short-term one, and we have to be committed to Haiti for the long term. But let me just say a word about our obligation to be a part of this and I’m very glad that Brazil has taken on that obligation.
You know, it’s very easy to say to yourself, “Well, Haiti has been a difficult place for many, many years. It’s never going to get better,” or to say to yourselves, “Do we really have an obligation to the people of Afghanistan or the people of Iraq,” or “Do we really have an obligation to the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo when they can’t seem to stop fighting?”
I know that with all of the demands on the domestic changes that are taking place in a place like Brazil, that the tendency to want to say, “Why are we doing so much outside,” can be very, very strong. We see it in the United States.
But you know, somebody stood up for Brazil when Brazil was in the midst of democratic transformation. Somebody stood up for the United States at the time of our revolution. Many stood up for the Europeans who faced, first, Adolph Hitler and then half of the continent that faced Josef Stalin.
People don’t just do this on their own. And when we say that it is the obligation of those of us who are lucky enough to be on the right side of freedom’s divide to help those who are on the wrong side of freedom’s divide or who are in trouble, it is simply a recognition that nobody does this alone, that each and every one of us has benefited, our countries have benefited, because there have been those who were willing to stand with us.
And sometimes, I know it looks very, very hard and very, very bleak and we go through crises like we’ve gone through in Ecuador and it’s violent in a place like Iraq or difficult in counternarcotics in a place like Afghanistan or hard with the FARC in Colombia.
But of course, it’s hard. If it were easy, these problems would have been resolved long, long ago. But just because it’s hard is not a reason to turn a blind eye to the needs of these people, to their aspirations, because their aspirations were once our aspirations and I can assure you if they’re not met, if the desire for freedom and liberty and dignity that comes with it are not met, then none of us will ever be truly at peace.
Thank you very much.
The text above is the transcript of U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice’s remarks at the Memorial Museum of Juscelino Kubitschek, in Brazil’s capital city, Brasília.