Speeches and other documents by the Secretary General


May 3, 2023 - Washington, DC

Welcome to the House of the Americas, at the closing of the Fifty Third (53) annual Washington Conference on the Americas: Opportunities in a New Global Reality.

We have to remember, we have to educate ourselves with the past, but we have to think about the future most of the time. We need to know what to do, and we need to be able to move forward.

This is set in a very historical building, on that side you have the sponsors of yesterday, behind this screen is our sponsor, the bust of Andrew Carnegie who donated this building on April 26, 1910. We have been here 113 years.

Andrew Carnegie was the first Pan Americanist. The future of what he saw it was about bringing peace to the continent and the word peace “pax” is in every corner of this building. We need peace in order to create wealth, and wealth once it's created should be shared peacefully.

To build peace and the reasons to build peace is to have better democracies, to have security to be safer, to be more educated, to have better governance, to have better politics, to have better citizens.

We need to keep our political discussion, it was said here that we need more dialogue in the Hemisphere, we need more integrated Hemisphere. We need a Hemisphere that can bring people together, that can allow them to share the wealth of the continent, that can allow them to share everything with every citizen of the Americas, that no one is kept apart from any rights in the Americas.

How can we make it look more attractive? How can countries look more attractive? They have to have better democracies, they have to respect the rule of law, they have to be more intelligent, they have to make better use of their resources-financial, material, energetic, and natural resources.

We have to be better partners all around, we have to be better partners within our countries and between our countries, sharing and working together.

And this will resolve some of the critical issues that we are facing, we have dictatorships in the continent, we have three clear dictatorships in the continent: Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. We have insecurity, we are violent, we are unequal, we discriminate, that is our continent the most unequal, we discriminate to an incredible extent, very few countries, not even a dozen countries have approved ratified the Convention Against any form of Discrimination that was approved long ago. That means a lot. Why are we at that point?

Immigration -why do we have migrants around? Why do we have migrant crises all around? Because of the dictatorships, because of the insecurity, because of poverty, because of violence.

So it is quite clear that we are not doing enough to share our wealth, to share our intelligence, to share our resources, to be fair with our people of every kind.

We are not able to integrate in modern free trade agreements and that is a challenge that we have ahead. It is clear that we must tackle the climate crisis, and it is clear that the dark clouds of politics shouldn't prevail and we shouldn't allow them to prevail, ever.

There are some verses of(José Luis) Borges that I like very much and they say “entre las cosas hay una de la que nadie se arrepiente y esa cosa es haber sido valiente”, and in that sense of a brave person, I want to recognize here the presence of President Juan Guaidó, former President of Venezuela, who happened to be a brave politician who faced the dictatorship in the same postal code, facing the challenges, facing a dictatorship that is famous all around for its crimes against humanity, for torturing people, for having people in prison, for extrajudicial executions.

And we can never be wrong in the sense that there was a President in Venezuela that faced all that within Venezuela.

Thank you Juan for everything that you have done.