View Header


                     Office of the Press Secretary
                     (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
For Immediate Release                                      April 9, 1999




Inspired by the powerful words of Thomas Jefferson, the courageous military tactics of Jose de San Martin, and the revolutionary spirit of Simon Bolivar and many other leaders, the peoples of the Americas forged their nations with a profound respect for liberty and justice. Today, a devotion to democratic ideals unifies the countries in our hemisphere. The strengthening of democratic institutions and practices throughout the Americas reflects our enduring commitment to human rights, free and fair elections, and the rule of law. The expansion of open markets illustrates our determination to achieve sustainable economic growth. At the dawn of a new millennium, we must work with a renewed spirit of cooperation to meet the challenges of our future and fulfill the destiny of our region.

In strengthening the ties that bind our nations together, we reaffirm our shared commitment to democracy and to the security of our hemisphere. Last April, the democratically elected leaders of our hemisphere met in Santiago, Chile, for the second Summit of the Americas. Building on the foundation laid at the Miami Summit in 1994, we developed an action plan for the future. Our strategy includes concrete methods to strengthen democracy, protect human rights, increase access to education, expand free and fair trade, and reduce corruption.

Thanks in part to the strong bonds between the nations of the Americas, our region has achieved an unprecedented era of peace and stability. As one of the world's oldest regional alliances, the Organization of American States has served as a guiding institution in that endeavor. Through several vital initiatives, it has worked to foster multilateral cooperation, to bolster hemispheric security, to resolve regional disputes, and to combat corruption, drug trafficking, and international terrorism. Our community of democracies also encouraged the governments of Peru and Ecuador to sign an historic Peace Accord last October that finally put their longstanding border dispute to an end.

As we look to our common future, we must not forget that our vision for the Western Hemisphere also includes Cuba, whose citizens must be allowed the fruits of liberty and the rewards of integration. We must also remember that our commitment to closer cooperation becomes especially important in times of tragedy. As hundreds of thousands of people across the Americas work to rebuild their homes and their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch and the earthquake in Colombia, we must be there to lend a helping hand and to provide the tools necessary to revitalize the economies of our neighbors and help renew their communities. United by a proud history and a shared interest in deepening political, cultural, and economic ties, the democracies of our hemisphere can serve as a beacon of peace and prosperity for citizens around the world.

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 Wednesday, April 14, 1999, as Pan American Day and April 11 through April 17, 1999, 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 to honor these observances with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

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


# # #