56TH ORDINARY SESSION
H.E. DR. ALEJANDRO TOLEDO,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF PERU,
IN THE GENERAL DEBATE
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
I was born near the sun in a village deep within the Andes, nearly four thousand meters above sea level.
Like millions of brothers of the Latin American continent I know the face of deep poverty. To survive, I wandered around during my childhood shining the shoes in which others walked.
I have come today to this world assembly as the Constitutional President of Peru, bringing to you the stories, the hopes and the dreams of millions of Peruvians.
I come from a country south of the Rio Grande, heir to a culture that is thousands of years old, the cradle of great civilizations, proud of its origins with all the races, responsible for its present and builder of its future.
In these few minutes of time, I would like to share with you 3 subjects which are those that most concern my government:
First of all, a determined struggle against terrorism and its perverse alliance with drug trafficking and corruption. This is a scourge in which no room can be found for ambiguity or half measures.
Secondly, the need to reduce military expenses in. Latin America and in the world to devote these resources to winning. the bitter struggle against poverty.
Third, we need to think and act together with regard to the world economic situation to protect the employment opportunities and income of the poorest of the world.
Barely a year ago, Peru was enmeshed in a dramatic struggle between a corrupt dictatorship and the democratic hopes of the great majorities. Faced with this situation, Peruvians stood up and were capable of mobilizing ourselves and peacefully struggling to obtain our democracy and our freedom.
On behalf of millions of men and women of my country, I would like before you to thank the friendly peoples and governments of the world for their active role and solidarity in the recovery of our democracy.
Today, Peru has now begun an irreversible democratic dawn.
We are conscious that we have a great responsibility: to consolidate the path towards a full democracy, strengthen our still fragile institutions and reactivate our economy and to obtain sustainable growth that will generate commendable and productive work in the struggle against poverty.
The reinforcement of our institutions and the defeat of poverty form an indissoluble part of the same goal, because poverty, corruption and drug trafficking conspire against democracy.
We can state today to the international community that the time has come to give a human face to globalization so that competitiveness becomes permanent.
Peruvians keep fresh in the hard disk of our collective memory the horror of terrorism. We lost 25 thousand human lives during the 20 years of terrorism and paid the cost of more than 30 billion dollars that left the poor even poorer.
That is why I renew our profound solidarity with the people and government of the United States with regard to the insanity. of terror of September eleventh.
This was not only an attack against the United States. It was an attack against the peoples that believe in peace and democracy, within our differences of opinion.
We will actively contribute towards the work that has been entrusted to the Special Committee of the Security Council, placing at its disposal the experts that may be necessary to intelligently and resolutely fight the threat of international terrorism within the framework of the principles of the United Nations Charter and the decisions of the Security Council.
In other multilateral scenario, the interamerican, we have delivered an effective contribution. This week we have presented at the Organization of American States a draft for an interamerican convention against terrorism.
Also in accordance with this purpose, we have deposited at the Secretary General office the following instruments:
The Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The International Agreement for the Repression of terrorist attacks committed with bombs.
The International Agreement for the repression of the financing terrorism.
With this actions, Peru is already part of all international binding agreements against terrorism.
The States must build up an extensive network of obligations to effectively cooperate in the judicial, police, informative and financial fields to expedite the capture and extradition of the criminals that commit heinous crimes or those that have incurred in corruption acts.
Human rights violations and corruption are two faces of the same coin: impunity.
It would not be possible to challenge corruption without linking this struggle with the fight against drug trafficking and money laundering.
We are devoting great efforts to these subjects. We have established two important high level authorities that directly depend on the Head of State to conduct the combat against drug trafficking and corruption.
Peru is now seeking to fully reestablish its democratic institutions. Nevertheless,. we are conscious of the existence of powerful forces hidden in the shadows in Peru that, with certain political accomplices, seek to achieve the impunity of the corruption committed during the decade of Fujimori and Montesinos. Therefore, from this prestigious forum, I want to invoke an effective international cooperation in order to avoid capricious legal interpretations that allow impunity.
A struggle with no borders in favor of poverty eradication. There in no justification for a democratic government to sacrify the developments expectations of their peoples in order to sustain an arm race.
The second important subject is our proposal which was made to the Heads of State and of Government of Latin America for an immediate freezing of the purchase of offensive weapons in the region; and to reach an agreement in the reduction of military expenses to reorient the financial resources towards social investment and the bitter struggle against poverty.
Peru has achieved recently important agreements with Chile and Ecuador, and is promoting an understanding among the countries of our region which will allow us to undertake together the path towards the reduction of poverty, ensuring the peace is not only the silencing of the guns but that peace also means hope and dignity for the poor. This proposal is aimed to adopt a wide regional framework to reduce military expenses.
If all the countries of the region have declared our firm pacifist will, it makes no sense for us to continue spending on weapons the resources that we need to invest in the great and profitable enterprise of knowledge, investing in the minds of our people. That is investing more and in a better fashion in nutrition, health and education.
The third item: we are attacking poverty in Peru by promoting the creation of productive work within a framework of fiscal responsibility.
We regret the recession of the most important developed economies that shrinks the markets, eliminating jobs and thus hindering the application of the measures that have been foreseen within the Millennium Declaration.
There is an urgent need to control the damage being caused by the current global economic crisis to the economy of the poorest. It is important for this purpose that the next round of the World Trade Organization not be an aseptic commercial round. Instead, it should be round that seeks a globalization with a human face that promotes the dismantling of farm subsidies in the developed countries, the liberalization of textiles and other labor intensive products. The adaptation of the intellectual property regimes is also important.
Today more than ever, the peoples of the world and their governments have the responsibility of uniting our efforts to build together the future.
Let us have the firm decision to unflinchingly take the path towards a future of. peace, without terrorism or human rights violations and without impunity.
I am convinced that together we can build a globalized and competitive world with a human face.
I assume my responsibility.