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The Mayan grandmothers and grandfathers have left us with the mandate to give thanks at the beginning of our activities to the people who make the existence of that moment of our lives possible. Fulfilling that mandate, I first invoke the force that is unseen but still exists, which we Mayans call Bitol and others know as God, Jehovah or Allah. I also thank Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his family for their contribution to humanity in promoting a culture of peace.

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Today I want to propose a new slogan for Latin America: not ¡Viva la revolución! but ¡Viva la evolución!, because I think that’s what’s been taking place there and we in the developed world have not been paying attention to it. To the extent that the media in the United States focuses on Latin America, we tend to focus on Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez—colorful figures who make news. But while the people in the United States have not been paying sufficient attention to Latin America, there has been an important transformation going on.

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I celebrate this meeting, this rich diversity of combination of nations and ages, cultures, academic leaders, social leaders, current and former politicians. I believe there has never been such a rich gathering as this hemispheric meeting sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation. I also celebrate on this first day of May, as Ambassador Shapiro said, “Long live evolution!” I would like to add: long live the integration of our countries and people so we can work together.

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Politics is the art of governing the public space that we share—whether it is the city, the nation, or the region. Leaders who gain the majority of the votes have to govern the plurality of ideas. People from Latin America and the Caribbean are capable of establishing all kinds of political parties, even if all the  members of one political party can fit inside just one taxicab. But we need to govern for those who voted for us as well as those who didn’t. To polarize the country, making team A fight against team B, is to betray moral leadership.

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After I left the government, which I led for 14 years, many people have asked me what leadership consists of. I do not know one political figure who studied leadership before becoming president. How do you study to become president of a country? You analyze situations to give leadership according to the context.

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In comparison with other parts of the world, Latin America seems to be one of the most peaceful regions on the planet. This perception contrasts, however, with the fact that it is one of the areas with the greatest gap in the distribution of wealth, poverty, and exclusion. The expectations generated by the democratic process that took place in the 1980s have not brought about substantial change.

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Excerpts of address to the Americas Summit, College Station, Texas, April 30, 2008

Français, Spanish

God chose and raised up the United States of America in accordance with His providential plan, and trained the American people through Christianity. Civilization on the North American continent, rooted in faith, has bequeathed to the world the principles of freedom of religion and respect for equal human rights. On America’s shoulders rests the responsibility to bring harmony and oneness among the world’s 6.5 billion people and to expedite the creation of a peaceful, ideal world.

The present time marks an important milestone in the development of civilization. We stand at a critical junction of human history where we can complete the providence of building God’s fatherland and peace kingdom as the culmination of human history.

We must work quickly to complete the reform of the United Nations and also to fulfill the mission of the Universal Peace Federation as the “Abel” or Peace UN, which was launched in September 23, 2007. In this way, we will expand God’s ideal of creation into politics, economy, culture, and education, all under the realm of God’s heart and love.

No nation can be an exception from this. All the walls and barriers that divide the human family are to break down before the waves of heavenly fortune coming to earth in this era. As you become the owners and inheritors of the victorious foundation brought by the True Parents of heaven and earth, you will build God’s fatherland with your own hands!

Whoever practices true love will live with God, share His happiness, and enjoy the right to participate as an equal in His work. A life lived for the sake of others is the absolute precondition for entering the kingdom of heaven. It is the new way of life, modeled on a family whose members all live peacefully centering on God. It is your responsibility as Ambassadors for Peace to seek after and establish families of the kingdom of God.

Please do not forget that the democracy as we enjoy it today is essentially an ideology of brotherhood. In that sense, democracy itself is serving a transitional role, and we should quickly take a revolutionary leap forward into a civilization of God’s heart and love, the age of the true parents and the true families.

I sincerely wish and pray that you will engrave on your hearts these words I have conveyed to you and use them in educating your children, other young people, and all the citizens of your nations. May God’s blessings be with your families, your nations, the Pacific Rim region, and the “Peace UN”!

It is a joy to be here, with an open mind to understand a new world. We need to see Latin America as one unit. Today we listened to Monsignor Luis del Castillo, a Roman Catholic bishop, and Rev. Moon speak of different approaches to the same spirituality.

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Excerpts of speech to the Americas Summit, College Station, Texas, April 30, 2008

Français, Español

I’m glad to see all of you here. I had a nice visit with Rev. Moon and thanked him for bringing this prestigious group to Texas A&M University.

First of all, I want to thank the organizers from the Universal Peace Federation and The Washington Times Foundation. I believed then and I believe today that The Washington Times has helped to bring a much-needed sense of balance and perspective to news coverage in our capital city.

The challenges we face in our own country and those regional matters we share as neighbors are as complex as they are compelling. As a result, the demands being placed on many public servants, like you, are as great as they have ever been. These challenges are too important to leaders entrusted to provide for the general welfare to get wrong.

Now is not the time for us to start turning inward—speaking of my country. Back in 1990, I remember taking what many people considered an ill-advised trip to Cartagena, Colombia, as president to show America’s solidarity with those who simply want to live in peace and toss aside the shackles and the dangerous dictates of the drug lords and terrorists. But I am very glad I went and showed that the United States cares about this battle against narcotrafficking.

Working together for peace and development in Colombia is terribly important. Throughout the hemisphere it is important, and I hope it continues to be an area of strong and productive bi-partisanship. It should be a matter of conscience and not conflict.

I salute you for your commitment to excellence in public service. And I salute Rev. Moon and his associates for what he is doing to help in that very important way.

I know I get a big argument on this right here in the United States, but I believe politics and political service is honorable. I believe that public service is an honorable calling. Sure, there are people who break the public trust. But I was delighted to have spent a good deal of time in elected office and appointed office. I have great respect for the system.

Excerpts of address to the Americas Summit, College Station, Texas, April 30, 2008. 

Excerpts from address to the Opening Plenary of the Americas Summit, Washington, DC, USA

This is truly an honor for me to be here today, being in this gathering of international leaders of the Americas where we are discussing a new paradigm for problem-solving and conflict-resolution that can change the hemisphere of the Americas.

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Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, former president of Sierra Leone, delivered the keynote address at the Opening Ceremony of UPF's Leadership Conference, "Towards a New Paradigm of Leadership and Good Governance," in Freetown, Sierra Leone, May 10, 2008.

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I want to thank all of you for such a warm welcome. Although this is my first visit to Peru, I truly feel embraced by a long-lost family. I am sure that a bright future is awaiting this nation. I was tremendously moved by our two Ambassadors for Peace who encapsulated the vision of UPF, emphasizing the spirit of taking ownership of the vision of UPF and sharing it with the leadership of this nation of Peru.

Read it in Español

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