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J. Sanguinetti: New Opportunities in a New World

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


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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. Some of us do not belong to any religion, but we share spiritual values in common. Therefore, we can agree on the ideas of family, human dignity, freedom of conscience, and human rights.

As a poet said, “What we leave behind is irreversible, overcome, but the cast-off robes of absolutism are struggling in an attempt to survive. Before us is a clear horizon, radiant but unknown. In the middle is something like an ocean that is moving, changing, and difficult to define. And as we walk, we do not know if we are stepping on seeds or ashes.” Are they the seeds of the future, or the ashes of the past? What lies before us is a new world. It is characterized by globalization, scientific and technological revolution, political democracy, market economy, and knowledge society—a pluralistic world after the Cold War.

Globalization is helping us come together as human beings. A revolution is stirring. Elements that promote well-being are being globalized, but along with them come drugs, drug trafficking, vices, etc. It also weakens the state. There are risks, which lead to problems. The scientific and technological revolution is marvelous because it allows us to live longer and better lives. But it can also destroy the world. The states are responsible to control it.

Churchill said, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Latin America is making great efforts. Are we handling our money well? I doubt it. We have a pluralistic world. There is more equilibrium.

There was no Cold War in Latin America; instead, there were guerrillas and narco-guerrillas. We need a peaceful solution. In this area we need opinion leaders, religious and civil leaders—people on the front line to fight for peace and confidence.

I think that the twenty-first century will be a century of knowledge. This is a challenge for the developing countries. In a study of the mathematical, language, and technological knowledge of students, the best results were in Korea, Finland, Ireland, and Estonia. What drives development in these countries is organization, methodology, and the educational system. It’s not just money. It is creative ability and analytical capacity.

An individual does not develop in isolation; development depends on receiving affection in the family. As the saying goes: "What kind of knowledge is based only on information, and what kind of wisdom is based only on knowledge?"

Wisdom is to add to our knowledge the orbit of affection, spirit, dignity, and the spiritual dimension, which continues to be the only force that can move mountains.

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