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A. Aleman: Address to World Summit 2013


PhotoWorld peace is at risk. Dictators and despots, on every continent, are waving nuclear arsenals, weapons of mass destruction, and cyber systems to create distress. Fear replaces democracies with regimes that kidnap their own people, invade individual freedoms, and devastate private enterprise, using repression, force, and terror.

Since the nuclear tests in North Korea, the Middle East violence, the spread of terrorism in Africa, Asia, and even Latin America where undemocratic regimes like Iran and its political allies have found safe haven, humanity faces great risks.

In addition, our economies are shaken by deep crises that undermine or delay efforts to advance steadily into the new century.

Because of lack of dialogue and agreement between nations, the arms race is increasing, with highly developed technology being used to kill innocent people just with a click at the computer.

The return of Latin American dictators also threatens to spread to the rest of the continent, as was done from Venezuela to Bolivia and Nicaragua. New messianic projects have been reborn, sustained by Venezuelan oil and significant amounts of money flowing to corrupt the morals and soundness of young countries as they take their first steps into the world of democracy.

Besides facing threats to democratic stability, America is also besieged by international drug cartels that corrupt our societies, especially young people, converting them into addicts or members of their diabolic distribution network. Unfortunately, these mafias have penetrated deeply into some nations of the American continent, making them failed states.

Although Latin America, in particular, has achieved some success in dealing with the global economic crisis, it remains fragile in many ways and needs to be equipped with better skills to rise above these challenges and be able to join the globalized world with impact and strength:

  • We need to improve the competitiveness of our industry and improve the level of our nations -- like Nicaragua, which is still exporting raw materials -- if we are to compete in similar conditions with international markets. In order to achieve this goal, we need to increase our investment in training qualified manpower and the educational system in general.
  • We must overcome poverty and underdevelopment and create more jobs that are sustainable and in an appropriate number in order to slow the migration of millions of Latin Americans who leave their homes in search of employment and a better future.
  • We must strengthen the role of private enterprise, providing them with the required leadership to be the engine of the economy. All this should be accompanied by state reforms to make it practical, technically advanced, and able to provide high-quality service.

Peace is disturbed not only by war or by ruthless, power-hungry dictators but by also by misery, injustice, and a lack of the basic conditions to live with dignity.

World leaders must intensify their efforts to meet these challenges. While counteracting threats like terrorism, drug cartels, fundamentalist radicalism, and dictatorship, we must reestablish our system to give it more freedom, social justice, equitable human development, care for the environment, and return to the founding principles of democracy.

After two civil wars that cost Nicaragua more than 50,000 dead, hundreds of thousands of casualties, and the destruction of the infrastructure and the economy of the nation, we took a major step in 1990 when in a historic election democracy defeated the Sandinista dictatorship at the polls and initiated a 16-year peace process and rebuilding from the ruins.

As mayor of Managua from 1990 to 1996, we transformed the capital, Managua, making it one of the most beautiful cities of Central America. As president of Nicaragua from 1997 to 2002 we fought against extreme poverty and raised the social and education level of the country. Our economy achieved a strong stability, foreign investment returned, employment grew like never before, and the economy grew at rates of over 7 percent.

Our contribution to peace, security, and human development of the people of Nicaragua was to put an end to the armed struggles to seize power, become a nation of laws and respect for others, and improve the living standards of the people.

Over a long period, Nicaraguans built the foundation to meet global challenges, and currently we are the safest country in Central America with the lowest levels of criminality.

Security forces have built a shield against the proliferation of gangs (the maras) and drug cartels, having achieved remarkable success.

However, to keep the fragile peace achieved in 1990 and to continue to effectively fight against poverty, we must restore democracy and advance at a rapid pace in human development with equity.

During my mandate I used to say that "only education can bridge the hateful gap between rich and poor." Education is the key to open the future of young people. Creation of jobs will slow down the northward migration, and equal human development will give better opportunities for all of us.

For more information about World Summit 2013, click here.