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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 10, 1998




Today, the nations of the Americas stand at the forefront of a promising new era of exciting growth and global cooperation. Americans north and south of the equator are communicating, interacting, and trading with one another more than ever before. All the nations in our hemisphere but one enjoy freely elected governments that promote human rights, free enterprise, and sustainable economic development through free trade. These vibrant democracies continue to seek opportunities to work together for the security, prosperity, and general welfare of all our citizens.

In keeping with this spirit of cooperation, the leaders of the 34 American democracies will meet in Santiago, Chile, on April 18 and 19 for the second Summit of the Americas. The United States hosted the first such summit in Miami in December 1994, and we look forward to strengthening our involvement in what is becoming a mature partnership that is fostering increased prosperity and security for our country. We hope to reach agreements in Santiago that will enhance hemispheric collaboration in more than 20 areas -- including education, economic integration, democracy, justice, counternarcotics, security, poverty, and human rights.

This month also marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of American States (OAS), a cornerstone of cooperation in our hemisphere. The most recent successes of the OAS include agreements against corruption and illegal firearms trafficking and ratification of the Washington Protocol, which provides for the suspension from the OAS of any country whose democracy has been overthrown by force. We applaud the crucial role the OAS plays in promoting and preserving democracy and human rights in the Americas. We look forward to its continued success in multilateral efforts to deepen the roots of democracy in this hemisphere and create new possibilities for progress in the next millennium.

The peoples of the Americas stand united in a commitment to democratic values and to increased regional cooperation and understanding. The partnership among our countries is laying the foundations for lasting freedom, prosperity, and peace in our hemisphere and bringing to reality our shared vision of a brighter future.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, April 14, 1998, as Pan American Day and April 12 through April 18, 1998, as Pan American Week. I urge the Governors of the 50 States, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the officials of other areas under the flag of the United States of America to honor these observances with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


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