[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[April 19, 1998]
[Pages 589-590]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Closing Remarks at the Summit of the Americas in Santiago
April 19, 1998

    President Frei; fellow leaders of the 
Americas; First Ladies; distinguished Presidents of Senate, Chamber of Deputies, 
Supreme Court; members of the diplomatic 
corps; ladies and gentlemen of the Americas; let me say first to you, 
Mr. President--and I know I speak for all of us here--we thank you and 
Mrs. Frei and your entire team for the warmth of 
your welcome, the wonder of your country, and the genuine leadership you 
have brought to this Summit of the Americas. Thank you very much.
    At our first summit in 1994, we agreed on a common vision of a 
democratic, prosperous, peaceful, united hemisphere for the 21st 
century. We also formulated a comprehensive agenda to help us to realize 
that vision, an agenda to strengthen our democracies, tear down trade 
barriers, improve our people's quality of life.
    Our journey from Miami to Santiago, as we have often said, was from 
words to deeds. Still, for all our progress, we all admit that too many 
of our citizens have not yet seen their own lives improved as a result 
of our participation as free nations in the global economy. Therefore, 
we have committed ourselves here to a second stage of reforms designed 
to bring the benefits of freedom and free enterprise to ordinary 
citizens throughout the Americas.
    As was the truth in Miami, it is so here today: The real work of 
Santiago begins as we leave. And until we meet again in Canada, we must 
work every day to keep the commitments we have made to each other and to 
our people.
    First, we must continue to stand fast for democracy for our entire 
hemisphere, with no holdouts and no backsliders. We must support the 
integrity of the electoral process. We welcomed and participated in the 
restoration of democracy in Haiti. We supported its preservation in 
Paraguay. We now must support the OAS and CARICOM as they support the 
people of Guyana in the integrity of their electoral process. We must 
support our new special rapporteur on freedom of expression and work to 
prevent violence against journalists; get our new hemispheric justice 
system up and running; implement the OAS Illegal Firearms Convention to 
help to stop firearms from falling into the wrong hands; adopt the laws 
necessary to make our unprecedented anticorruption convention a reality. 
And most important, we must move aggressively to establish our alliance 
against drugs, so that we will have a more genuinely collective

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effort to protect our people against narcotrafficking and drug abuse, 
violence and organized crime.
    Second, we must continue to bring the free economies of the Americas 
together. Today we launched comprehensive negotiations for a free-trade 
area of the Americas and vowed to make concrete progress toward that 
goal by the year 2000, including greater transparency in government 
procurement and banking operations, a commitment to free trade in 
cyberspace, and steps to facilitate business, such as customs 
    And as we improve the climate for business contracts, we know we 
must also strengthen the social contract. The civil society committee we 
have established is designed to give all the voices of society the 
opportunity to be heard in shaping the new free-trade area of the 
Americas. We want more trade and better working conditions, more growth 
and a cleaner environment.
    The entrepreneurs of the information age can prosper in a way that 
increases opportunities for all who are willing to work hard. And we can 
reap the benefits of economic change and meet the challenge of climate 
    Finally, we have made it our mission to give our people the tools 
they must have to succeed in the new economy: opening the doors of 
learning to all our children; doing more to lift our people out of 
poverty, supported by billions of dollars in new lending commitments for 
microenterprise and health care from the Inter-American Development Bank 
and the World Bank.
    By the time we meet again, we should resolve that all our small 
entrepreneurs, especially our women, should have access to the loans 
they need to get their businesses off the ground; that poor urban and 
rural citizens should be able to gain titles to their property; that we 
should eradicate measles from this hemisphere; and most important, that 
millions more of our children will be in school, not on the streets. We 
should achieve an 80-percent completion rate in primary school as we 
work toward our goal of 100 percent by the year 2010. Our children, 
after all, will have more to say about the future we are trying to 
create than any of the rest of us.
    The people of the Americas, as the President of Uruguay pointed out to us yesterday, have launched a 
profound revolution in the last few years, a revolution of peace and 
freedom and prosperity. Here in Santiago, we embrace our responsibility 
to make these historic forces lift the lives of all our people. That is 
the future we can forge together. It is a future worthy of the new 
Americas in a new millennium.
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:54 p.m. in the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs Building. In his remarks, he referred to President of the Senate 
Andres Zaldivar, President of the Chamber of Deputies Gutenberg 
Martinez, and Justice Roberto Davila, President of the Supreme Court of 
Chile; and President Julio Maria Sanguinetti of Uruguay.