Remarks of the National Coordinator of Chile for the Summit of the Americas, Ambassador Juan Martabit,
At the Inaugural Session of the Ninth Meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group
Punta del Este, Uruguay, May 20, 1997

His Excellency, Mr. Carlos Perez del Castillo, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uruguay, Mr. Counselor Thomas McLarty, Special Envoy of President Clinton for the Americas, Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow, Fellow National Coordinators, Representatives of the Regional Organizations:

In response to the kind invitation of the government of Uruguay, we are meeting today in this hospitable city.

Calling a meeting of this nature at Punta del Este makes it an event filled with symbolism: shared aspirations and goals, willpower for a collective effort, the generation of great expectations. In sum, experiences from which we must profit.

Thirty years ago, nineteen hemisphere leaders met in this same place "for the purpose of giving a more efficient political thrust to the objectives of the alliance for progress and to agree on the most appropriate methods to accelerate its implementation".

That is, to decide upon actions designed to achieve agreements to make the economic and social development of their peoples possible through the implementation of a common market.

The results of that historic meeting, the positive aspects of the process, its failures, and its reformulations, are widely known.

Thirty years later, a similar objective has called us here, to the same place.

The intentional and regional contexts are different, of course, as are the nations. The current process of cooperation and integration is more broadly representative, the means chosen are not comparable and the scheme itself, initiated in Miami, has its own characteristics.

Nevertheless, the spirit that moved our leaders in 1994 to structure a pact for the development and prosperity of the Americas responds to the same interests of those who met in Punta del Este 30 years ago: to design a joint project to attain a quantum leap forward in the quality of life and the opportunities of our peoples.

The mere mention of earlier attempts to develop collective efforts to enable the Americas to confront the problems afflicting them and make adequate use of the hemisphere's resources imposes an additional responsibility on us here.

We must be capable of serving the real and urgent necessities of our peoples, through concerted, clear and precise actions so that tangible results can be seen within a specific time.

The Miami Summit was an important step in that direction, in that it established an appropriate framework for the development of hemisphere cooperation scheme and brought together a relatively balanced plan of action, with concrete actions to transform the region into an area in which its inhabitants can finally enjoy their rights, profit from and develop their capabilities, satisfy their aspirations, and participate more fully in government decisions.

The governments of the hemisphere have advanced toward this goal during the past two years and five months, implementing initiatives in a series of areas.

Nevertheless, we must recognize that additional efforts are still required to fully meet such objectives and offer our peoples an integral response to their requirements.

The Santiago Summit will serve such goals by deciding upon actions that can deepen the advances thus far attained. That is why it is necessary to formulate programs closely related to the social agenda, particularly to those aspects related to human resources.

If we can contribute to the strengthening of human rights, improve education and broaden the people's rights we will have met that challenge appropriately.

"The time and the occasion", as President Eduardo Frei Montalva said thirty years ago at Punta del Este, "require grandeur in our vision and in the decisions we make. These times and this occasion are no less than those faced by the men who fought for our independence".

Our peoples know that they live poor in a rich continent. Not only is misery present among them, but so is the awareness and meaning of that misery as well as the possibility of overcoming it in the near future, as other countries have already done.

Developing this shared process we can achieve the bases to reach our goals in the upcoming years.  If we do so, we will fulfill the purpose to which our hemispheric effort is directed.