Cuadragésimo primer período ordinario de sesiones san salvador, el salvador



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El PRESIDENTE: Muchísimas gracias, Canciller Varela. Le pedimos ahora a la señora Canciller de Guyana que nos haga el favor de presidir esta sesión. Vamos a otorgar también el uso de la palabra al Canciller de Guatemala, don Haroldo Rodas.
[Ocupa la presidencia la Jefa de la Delegación de Guyana.]
La PRESIDENTA: Guatemala.
El JEFE DE LA DELEGACIÓN DE GUATEMALA: Gracias, señora Presidenta.
Permítame agradecer al pueblo y Gobierno de El Salvador por servir de sede a este período ordinario de sesiones de la Asamblea General de la Organización de los Estados Americanos. La hospitalidad y la generosidad que caracterizan a El Salvador y la efectiva organización de este evento auguran el éxito de nuestras deliberaciones.
Asimismo, quiero felicitar al Presidente de la Asamblea por su elección para dirigir nuestros trabajos.
Señora Presidenta, queremos aprovechar la ocasión para nuevamente manifestar que Guatemala se congratula por el levantamiento de la suspensión que sobre su derecho a participar en el sistema interamericano recayó en el Estado de Honduras. Depositamos nuestra entera confianza en el futuro de una Centroamérica unida, democrática y próspera.
Señora Presidenta, la Organización de los Estados Americanos es el espacio histórico donde los Estados del Hemisferio nos reunimos para buscar soluciones a los retos comunes y ofrecer a la persona humana una tierra de libertad y un ámbito favorable para el desarrollo de su prosperidad y la realización de sus aspiraciones. Es un espacio privilegiado donde se auspician procesos de toma de decisiones para definir acciones y programas que buscan afianzar la paz y la seguridad de sus Estados Miembros.
Este es, pues, un lugar determinante para concertar cooperación de las naciones dentro de un contexto de valores y propósitos que hacen de nuestra región una zona común, compartida e interdependiente, donde la democracia, el desarrollo y la solidaridad son pilares que auspician los intereses vitales de los pueblos de las Américas, a fin de alcanzar la plena vigencia y observancia de los derechos humanos y de las libertades fundamentales.
Conscientes del grave riesgo por el que atraviesan nuestras sociedades, aquejadas por una violencia abyecta que socava la gobernabilidad democrática y solivianta los procesos político-institucionales, apelamos al concierto de naciones, hoy y ahora, para enfrentar una inédita crisis de inseguridad a fin de preservar el orden institucional democrático de nuestros países, seriamente amenazados por una vorágine de violencia originada principalmente por el crimen organizado transnacional, que se nutre de una insaciable demanda de drogas así como del tráfico ilegal de armas, aprovechándose, además, de los niveles inaceptables de pobreza y exclusión.
Estas dramáticas circunstancias de inseguridad, violencia y psicosis que sufren nuestros ciudadanos reclaman de una acción concertada y multilateral, subsidiaria y mancomunada, para combatir este flagelo que atenta contra la convivencia democrática.
Por ello se impone no escatimar esfuerzo o acción para contener el agravamiento de una pandemia social que desvirtúa el orden y la convivencia pacífica y democrática. Esta acuciante realidad reclama una acción regional inmediata y concertada, ya que la democracia no es simplemente una teoría política sobre la forma de gobierno, que se agota con la pretensión de justificar a los gobernantes mediante elecciones sino que, fundamentalmente, es la forma en que el Estado se organiza para hacer valer el régimen de legalidad que justifica el ejercicio del poder como una facultad orientada en favor de la libertad, de la dignidad humana y del pleno disfrute de todos los derechos fundamentales.
Los Estados convenimos en que la democracia es la forma de organizar el sistema político y que debemos defenderla, porque la pobreza, la injusticia, la intolerancia, el analfabetismo, la discriminación y la exclusión atentan contra ella, percatándonos así de que todas estas circunstancias son exacerbadas y explotadas por las asociaciones delictivas que viven fuera de la ley y que implantan su propia conducta perversa y violenta. Si no derrotamos la pobreza, la población seguirá insatisfecha y no terminaremos de afianzar la democracia; si no impedimos la discriminación y la exclusión, nunca será posible el disfrute pleno de las libertades fundamentales; si las instituciones no son capaces de ofrecer seguridad o justicia y no desterramos la corrupción, el ciudadano no confiará en las instituciones sino que las rechazará, adoptando conductas ilícitas al amparo de la impunidad.
Señora Presidenta, no podremos construir una sociedad democrática con abstracción de la realidad socioeconómica y, menos aún, en presencia de pobreza extrema, de falta de oportunidades y de un creciente y lucrativo comercio de drogas y armas. En efecto, democracia y desarrollo son interdependientes y se refuerzan mutuamente, pero sin seguridad no existirá la confianza ciudadana en las instituciones democráticas. Esta grave amenaza del crimen organizado es un fenómeno de mil cabezas que corroe desde adentro y acecha desde fuera de las fronteras.
Señora Presidenta, la Declaración sobre Seguridad en las Américas de 2003 adoptó el concepto de “seguridad multidimensional” que abarca, en adición a las amenazas tradicionales, aquellos nuevos y transnacionales desafíos a la seguridad que atentan contra el Estado de Derecho, la justicia y la promoción del desarrollo social, una realidad que, en diversas manifestaciones, atropella la paz y transgrede los derechos de los ciudadanos. Todos los Estados Miembros somos víctimas de este crítico problema y en virtud de que nunca serán suficientes los esfuerzos aislados para contener una amenaza tan compleja y poderosa, apelamos por ello a la solidaridad y cooperación hemisféricas para asumir un compromiso tajante para combatir este flagelo a través de un programa multilateral, mancomunado y de responsabilidad compartida, apoyado en los mecanismos de cooperación recíproca, para detener y reprimir la violencia y el crimen organizado que asola a nuestros pueblos.
En consecuencia, los países de la región, en el marco del Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA), con el apoyo de varios organismos internacionales, hemos desarrollado una inédita estrategia regional de seguridad conformada por cuatro componentes:


  1. la preservación del delito;




  1. el combate al delito;




  1. el fortalecimiento institucional; y




  1. la rehabilitación y la reinserción del transgresor social.

La ejecución de esta estrategia regional permitirá a nuestros países trabajar de manera coordinada y conjunta en el combate al crimen y a la impunidad, lo que traerá como primer resultado el fomento de la confianza ciudadana y la acción concertada de nuestras fuerzas de seguridad.


Los países de la región somos víctimas de nuestra ubicación geográfica, situados entre la región de mayor producción y la región de mayor consumo de drogas en el mundo. Por nuestros países suben drogas y bajan armas y dinero ilícito, dejando a su paso muerte y violencia. Es por ello que existe una corresponsabilidad de todos los involucrados en este flagelo. Necesitamos del apoyo político, del apoyo técnico, pero por sobre todo del apoyo financiero para ejecutar la estrategia de seguridad de Centroamérica.
Por lo anterior, los países centroamericanos hemos convocado a la celebración de la Primera Conferencia Internacional de Apoyo a la Estrategia de Seguridad de Centroamérica, que se celebrará en la ciudad de Guatemala, los días 22 y 23 de junio próximo, para acceder tanto a la acción mancomunada como para el necesario apoyo político, técnico y financiero de la comunidad internacional, a fin de implementar el plan de acción de dicha Estrategia y lograr así reducir la inseguridad, la violencia y el crimen en la región.
Señor Presidente, quisiera apartarme un poco del tema que nos ocupa para hacer dos comentarios. En primer lugar, quisiera felicitar al pueblo peruano por estas ejemplares elecciones celebradas el día de ayer. En segundo lugar, como ustedes saben, Guatemala celebrará elecciones generales el próximo 11 de septiembre y esperamos una masiva participación de la comunidad internacional como observadora.
Sin embargo, informo con preocupación a esta honorable Asamblea General sobre la grave crisis política por la que podríamos atravesar debido a la falta de aprobación del financiamiento del presupuesto nacional de Guatemala. Con ello se está poniendo en riesgo el funcionamiento del propio Estado. De no aprobarse este financiamiento nos veremos obligados a reducir sustancialmente la prestación de los servicios públicos más importantes como la salud, la educación y la seguridad. Tan solo quiero alertar sobre los graves riesgos políticos y sociales por los que Guatemala podría atravesar.
Muchas gracias, señora Presidenta.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you, Minister. I now give the floor to the Head of the Delegation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
La JEFA DE LA DELEGACIÓN DE SAN VICENTE Y LAS GRANADINAS: Thank you very much.
Madam President, permit me to extend my sincerest thanks and congratulations to the Government and people of El Salvador for hosting the forty-first regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States.
Permit me as well Madam President, a few seconds to happily welcome the Republic of Honduras back into the fold of the OAS, and we look forward to the day when this august hemispheric body would comprise all the independent countries of the Americas.
The theme “Citizen Security in the Americas” is very relevant to current prevailing circumstances in the Hemisphere as a whole and in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in particular. The security of the Hemisphere’s citizens is, indeed, in jeopardy, in these times when:


  • Existing levels of crime, violence and insecurity are exacerbated by harsh global economic and financial conditions and uncertainty as to when a true turnaround will occur;




  • The prices of petroleum and its derivatives are high and demand threatens to drive them even higher;




  • Energy production, as a consequence, is burdensome, and the technologies for alternative sources of energy are either too costly in economic terms or in their impact on the environment;




  • Food crops are being used as primary material for supplementary fuel;




  • The food crisis becomes more acute with every passing day; and




  • The average murder rate per annum, per population of 100,000 within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), stands at 30.

When it adopted the Declaration of Bridgetown in 2002, the General Assembly of the OAS accepted the multidimensional nature of security, and the Organization has worked assiduously to build, foster, and strengthen mechanisms for cooperation in several areas that directly and indirectly impact the Hemisphere.


It is high time that the issue of the deportation of criminals from countries where they have honed their craft to countries that are ill-equipped to deal with them receives some serious attention from this organization. There is a real need to establish collaborative mechanisms that facilitate these deportations in a structured way, fosters rehabilitation, and makes successful citizens of these persons.
Madam Chair, during the negotiations on the draft Declaration of San Salvador, there was much discussion and debate on the definition and scope of citizen security. We concur with the view that it is one aspect, but a very central one, of public security. While the Constitution of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is quite clear as to the definition of the term “citizen,” the Government fully recognizes its responsibility to coordinate and ensure the security of the state and all those within its borders––citizens and visitors alike.
With this goal in mind, there are four things that become apparent to us:


  1. The security of the citizenry is at the center of all security initiatives by the State;




  1. The overarching responsibility for citizen security lies with the State;




  1. The State cannot achieve citizen security in isolation from the citizenry; and




  1. Development and security are inextricably linked.

Citizen security requires a holistic approach if it is to be successful. It must contain aspects of prevention of criminality and strategies to effectively detect crime and punish criminals, rehabilitate offenders, and eventually reintegrate them into society. The strategies must also involve the participation of our citizens; the State cannot do it alone.


With this in mind, the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in partnership with regional and international intergovernmental organizations, such as the Regional Security System (RSS) and the OAS, continues to ensure the ongoing training and professional growth of members of the Vincentian police force; building their awareness of not only the laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, but also international best practices and techniques in criminal investigation and evidence procurement. The police service has also been restructured so as to provide incentives for committed officers.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has been afforded special training on the proper presentation of evidence and on the use of new technologies in the presentation of testimony from witnesses in special circumstances. This is expected to result, in the long term, in an increase in successful prosecutions.
A new prison has been built that permits the housing of convicted offenders in a humane environment that facilitates their reintegration into society.
In partnership with the Republic of China on Taiwan, the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has embarked on a project to build and equip information and communication technology (ICT) centers for the entire citizenry, including offenders who have been liberated.
Other programs that target the youth, such as police youth groups, the cadets, the Girl Guides, other uniformed organizations, community-based organizations, and civil society help in instilling a sense of responsibility and community spirit in young people. They help to prevent at-risk youth from falling through the gaps while assisting in successfully reintegrating juvenile offenders into society.
Madam President, the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is of the view that while citizen security is focused on the provision of a safe and secure environment for our citizens, it must be achieved with their participation. Therefore, the design of community strategy programs is essential.
The education revolution in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has taken root, and it has begun to bear fruit. A comprehensive policy that includes early childhood, primary, secondary, and adult education, and the professional development of educators, allows for the establishment of minimum standards and prepares the users of the system to be effective members of the labor force.
This policy has resulted in more Vincentians than ever pursuing studies at the graduate level. The greater earning potential of individuals has had a direct impact on the economy.
However, there have been some serious challenges and setbacks. The global economic crisis has affected us, and its effects continue to linger and to impact our current development efforts. The cost of energy is prohibitive, although we have had some relief, thanks to Venezuela’s PetroCaribe initiative. Viable alternatives continue to elude us. The passage of Hurricane Tomas in November of last year devastated the agricultural sector, destroying upwards of 90 percent of all crops, and flash floods devastated the remainder of our crops.
Madam President, the Hemisphere is harrowed by natural and man-made disasters that have severe and catastrophic impacts on our citizens in terms of human and material losses. Earthquakes have proven to be particularly destructive, and the strength and frequency of hurricanes, floods, droughts, and tornadoes, in and out of season, are a result of our poor stewardship of our environment. Climate change is no fairy tale, and the solution to the threat that it represents can more quickly and realistically be achieved through international cooperation by addressing both the causes and effects simultaneously.
Citizen security is not just a matter of “our business”; it is the business of the Hemisphere as a whole.
The Caribbean subregion is also a transshipment point for cocaine and some synthetic drugs whose production and point of origin is in South America and whose ultimate destination is in the north. The protection of this commodity is so coveted in the north that drug traffickers arm themselves with firearms to protect it. There needs to be a more serious and concerted effort to stamp out this trade. The support of the United States under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) is very much appreciated in this regard, although concerns remain as to the amounts allocated to the Initiative.
On April 15, 2011, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines signed a cooperation agreement with the OAS, thus becoming the seventh OAS member state to take part in the project titled “Promoting Firearms Marking in Latin America and the Caribbean” and which is in part funded by the United States. This agreement will permit us to mark and trace firearms that are used in the commission of crimes, and when this information is shared with other countries, it is hoped that smuggling routes of criminals can be identified and networks destroyed.
On that note, it pleases me to inform this General Assembly that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will soon be ratifying the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA).
Madam President, as desirable as citizen security is, it is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. It must be founded principally on the rule of law and respect for human dignity and human rights. There must be space to facilitate the input of citizens in the design of comprehensive policies and the guarantee of the recourse to justice in every instance. We would do a disservice to our populations to dictate to it in this regard, and it would be totally remiss of us to assume that any individual state can go it alone. Continued and enhanced cooperation on security issues is necessary to ensure the safety and security of the Hemisphere.
I thank you.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. I now give the floor to the Ambassador of Ecuador.
La JEFA DE LA DELEGACIÓN DEL ECUADOR: Señora Presidenta, señoras y señores Ministros de Relaciones Exteriores y Jefes de Delegación, señor Secretario General, a pesar de que no está aquí, señoras y señores :
Permítanme extenderle al señor Hugo Martínez, Canciller de la República de El Salvador, nuestra sincera felicitación por su elección para dirigir las deliberaciones de este cuadragésimo primer período ordinario de sesiones de la Asamblea General de la OEA y, por su digno intermedio, saludar y agradecer al hermano pueblo y Gobierno de El Salvador por acogernos con la amabilidad que les caracteriza.
Señora Presidenta, el Ecuador agradece al Gobierno de El Salvador por haber escogido como tema de esta Asamblea General a la Seguridad Ciudadana en nuestro hemisferio. El derecho interamericano ha evolucionado al punto de aportar a nuestra comunidad la Declaración sobre Seguridad en las Américas como una herramienta que enmarca conceptualmente los esfuerzos del Continente para enfrentar la violencia, la delincuencia y la inseguridad. La incorporación en el debate académico y jurídico de una concepción más amplia de las amenazas a la seguridad, identificando nuevas que se suman a las tradicionales, permiten sin duda tener un enfoque más universal y preciso de la problemática.
A la delincuencia organizada transnacional, al problema mundial de las drogas, a la corrupción, al lavado de activos, al terrorismo, al tráfico ilícito de armas y las conexiones entre sí se suman hoy las amenazas no tradicionales que se vinculan directamente con la pobreza extrema y la exclusión social, los desastres naturales y de origen humano, el deterioro ambiental, las pandemias, la trata de personas, el tráfico ilícito de migrantes, los ataques a la seguridad cibernética, el transporte marítimo de materiales potencialmente peligrosos, la posesión y uso de armas de destrucción masiva. Todos estos constituyen riesgos que las sociedades actuales deben enfrentar de manera mancomunada. Son problemas transnacionales que requieren acciones conjuntas de todos nuestros Estados.
Pese a estos aportes al derecho internacional y a los esfuerzos que nuestros países vienen realizando, la inseguridad, la violencia y la delincuencia han seguido ganando terreno en mayor o menor medida a lo largo y ancho del Hemisferio. Las razones de esta preocupante realidad se dan por dos vías: por un lado, los delincuentes se han organizado en redes internacionales con capacidades financieras y de influencia suficientes para erosionar los cimientos institucionales y el Estado de Derecho; por otra parte, ante esta situación, nuestros Estados han preferido adoptar acciones aisladas, muchas veces coyunturales y orientadas al combate e interdicción del delito, sin considerar que la prevención, la inclusión social y el desarrollo equitativo y solidario de nuestros pueblos, la distribución equitativa de la riqueza y el avance económico y social son elementos fundamentales para la reducción de las causas del delito.
En este sentido rechazamos cualquier intención de limitar la soberanía y la autodeterminación del hermano pueblo y Gobierno venezolanos para establecer vínculos comerciales con otros Estados, afectando así su derecho al desarrollo económico y social.
Señora Presidenta, el Ecuador ha dado pasos en firme para consolidar políticas de Estado sobre la seguridad ciudadana. A nivel institucional, en 2007 se creó el Ministerio Coordinador de la Seguridad Interna y Externa, encargado justamente de instrumentar una política de largo plazo en el tema. A nivel operativo, nuestro Plan Nacional de Desarrollo Orientado a una Política del Buen Vivir, y que asegura una amplia participación ciudadana, tiene entre sus principales objetivos la seguridad ciudadana. En este sentido, dicho Plan está encaminado a mejorar la calidad de vida de la población; garantizar la soberanía y la paz, el trabajo estable, justo y digno; construir y fortalecer espacios públicos, interculturales y de encuentro común así como la vigencia de los derechos y la justicia; establecer un sistema económico y social, solidario y sostenible y, en definitiva, construir un Estado democrático incluyente.
El Ecuador considera que la seguridad ciudadana es un derecho y que es responsabilidad del Estado garantizarla. Nuestra visión está anclada a los derechos humanos, al Estado de Derecho, al orden democrático y a una visión integral del desarrollo, donde la seguridad no solo significa reaccionar frente a los delitos sino que también pretende ir a las causas que los originan, sean estas la pobreza, la exclusión social, la desocupación, las deficiencias educativas, los precarios sistemas penitenciarios, las debilidades de los sistemas de justicia e, incluso, una cultura de violencia estructural en razón de diferencias sociales, de género, de etnia y de edad.
En consonancia con lo anterior, el Ecuador ha establecido una política integral de seguridad que contiene cinco ejes de acción: fuerza pública, a través de la participación continua y directa de las Fuerzas Armadas en apoyo a la Policía Nacional en seguridad interna; coordinación con gobiernos locales para recuperación de espacios públicos y organización de los barrios con la policía comunitaria; reformas legales a través de un nuevo Código Orgánico Penal y de Procedimiento Penal; reforma al sistema judicial que incluye auditoria a los jueces y renovación del Consejo de la Judicatura y reforma al sistema de rehabilitación social a través del fortalecimiento de las políticas públicas y de ejecución de nuevos modelos de gestión.
Es indispensable profundizar y acelerar el fortalecimiento de la capacidad institucional de los cuerpos policiales de nuestros países, acercándolos más a la población. En este marco, el Ecuador lleva adelante, conjuntamente con la Secretaría de Seguridad Multidimensional de la OEA, proyectos conjuntos que viabilicen una adecuada reestructuración y modernización de la gestión policial. Este será sin duda un elemento de vital importancia de cara al futuro para evitar que se repliquen eventos como el ocurrido el 30 de septiembre de 2010, fecha en la que un grupo de uniformados policiales atentó contra la institucionalidad democrática del Ecuador y desnaturalizó su principal responsabilidad, poniendo en riesgo la seguridad ciudadana.
En este sentido, enfatizamos que cualquier intento de golpe de Estado es el mayor atentado contra la seguridad ciudadana.
Por otra parte, enfrentando el problema mundial de las drogas, crimen de lesa humanidad, el Ecuador ha demostrado su más firme y eficaz compromiso de combatirlo, lo que ha sido reconocido internacionalmente. A nivel hemisférico, estamos conscientes de la urgente necesidad de profundizar la capacidad de nuestros países para que la producción, el tráfico así como el consumo, donde sea que estos se originen, sean combatidos simultánea y eficazmente.
Señora Presidenta, el Ecuador desea una OEA remozada, sólida y eficaz. Para ello es necesario revitalizar, democratizar y racionalizar la gestión del sistema interamericano en su conjunto, adoptando una serie de medidas que conduzcan a una mayor apropiación de todos nuestros países de la gestión y resultados del organismo y que garantice una verdadera autonomía de los distintos órganos especializados frente a intereses específicos de Estados o grupos de poder.
En ese mismo sentido el derecho interamericano también debe evolucionar y en ese marco la Carta Democrática Interamericana debe proyectarse a cubrir vacíos, especialmente relacionados con la impunidad de quienes han quebrantado la democracia, el Estado de Derecho y la institucionalidad.
Asimismo, es fundamental enfatizar que en el campo de los derechos humanos es inadmisible la impunidad, y que ella, tal como se ha consagrado en nuestro sistema interamericano de derechos humanos, se caracteriza por “la falta en su conjunto de investigación, persecución, captura, enjuiciamiento y condena de los responsables de las violaciones de los derechos humanos … y que la impunidad propicia la repetición crónica de las violaciones de derechos humanos”. Por tanto, la impunidad constituye una amenaza real a la seguridad ciudadana.
Finalmente, señora Presidenta, el Ecuador suscribe el proyecto de Declaración de San Salvador sobre Seguridad Ciudadana en las Américas, con el firme compromiso de fortalecer la seguridad ciudadana en el marco del orden democrático, del pleno imperio del Estado de Derecho y del respeto a los derechos humanos, fomentando medidas tendientes al tratamiento de las causas que generan la delincuencia, la violencia y la inseguridad.
Destaco, de manera particular, el compromiso de adoptar en el corto plazo un Plan de Acción Hemisférico de Seguridad Ciudadana para afianzar los vínculos entre el desarrollo y la seguridad, destacando la importancia de mantener y fortalecer la cooperación bilateral, subregional, regional e internacional para el desarrollo integral, que nos permita enfrentar sin dilaciones, con eficacia y eficiencia, los desafíos de la seguridad ciudadana.
Nuestras sociedades demandan acciones efectivas que permitan a nuestros pueblos vivir en un ambiente de paz y seguridad ciudadana. Los loables esfuerzos hechos aún son insuficientes para atender este urgente requerimiento ciudadano. Solo lograremos el éxito si mejoramos nuestros canales de información, comunicación y cooperación, y si disponemos de una visión más amplia e integral para enfrentar el problema desde sus raíces. Ofrezcamos juntos soluciones permanentes y concretas.
Muchas gracias.
[Aplausos.]
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you, Ecuador. I now give the floor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago.
El JEFE DE LA DELEGACIÓN DE TRINIDAD Y TOBAGO: Thank you very much, Madam President.
Your excellencies, distinguished ministers and heads of delegation, distinguished representatives:
I wish to first extend, on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and on my own behalf, our warmest greetings to our host country, El Salvador, and to all gathered here in this beautiful city of San Salvador on the occasion of the forty-first regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States. I also wish to thank the Government and people of El Salvador for their generous hospitality.
To put in perspective, Madam President, what we are discussing in terms of citizen security in the Americas, in 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) estimated that the cost of crime, including the value of stolen property, was roughly US$16.8 billion, equivalent to 15 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Latin America. The estimate included crime’s impact, not only on the security of people and property, but also on productivity, investment, employment, and consumption.
The theme for this year’s General Assembly session, “Citizen Security in the Americas,” speaks to issues that have been enshrined in the Charter of the OAS and in the Declaration on Security in the Americas, adopted in Mexico City in 2003, in which the countries of the Hemisphere determined that the new concept of security is multidimensional in scope.
It begs the question: what does citizen security really mean? Is it the absence of war? Is it the freedom from the fear of violence? Is it the freedom to walk and not to be accosted and molested by criminals? Is it the absence of violence? Maybe it is all of these.
However, real citizen security will exist when people have sustainable jobs and when their families can be well fed; when they are able to own property; when their children can be educated out of poverty and when they can participate without fear in the affairs of their country; and when they can be allowed to make decisions that make them masters of their destinies. No greater citizen security will exist unless people can participate and make decisions that affect them in the future.
Nevertheless, we in Trinidad and Tobago applaud the critical role that the OAS and the inter-American system continue to play in the field of citizen security.
In November 2009, the Second Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas (MISPA II) underscored international cooperation, as well as public security management; prevention of crime, violence and insecurity; and citizen and community participation as important in addressing public security.
I wish to state unequivocally that it is Trinidad and Tobago’s honor to host the Third Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas (MISPA III), in Port of Spain in November of this year. I am pleased to inform that preparations for this meeting are proceeding apace. As host of MISPA III, my government has proposed that the meeting focus on police management. Our deliberations and decisions at this General Assembly session will in no small measure serve to inform the working documents being prepared for that event.
According to a report of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) of May 2011, Latin America and the Caribbean was the region with the strongest growth in foreign direct investment (FDI) for the year 2010. The development and recovery of the region during the decade of the 2000s demonstrates that the economy of Latin America and the Caribbean grew more in the last decade than in the previous two decades combined. This is testament to the economic dynamism that characterizes our hemisphere as a whole and most of its individual countries in particular. But let us note that this economic dynamism is as much a result of enlightened policies and economic management as it is the result of the sacrifices of the ordinary people, most of all, the workers and those who hold the reigns of labor.
My neighbors, in spite of these gains, the ascension of crime and violence in our hemisphere is clearly evident. Criminal organizations are acting within and outside of our perimeters. Their mission: to perpetuate drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, assets laundering, human trafficking, and corruption.
In Trinidad and Tobago over the last 12 months, since the assumption of the new government under Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, we have passed very strong legislation to deal with kidnapping, money laundering, terrorism, and human trafficking.
Your excellencies, let us be mindful of the fact that there is a direct correlation between crime and violence, on the one hand, and poverty levels, health, education, gender and a plethora of other social issues on the other hand. We are therefore particularly pleased with the inclusion of references in the Declaration of San Salvador that call upon states to reiterate support for women and children, for the environment, and particularly for the differently abled.
Measures have also been proposed that will seek to prevent and punish violence, exploitation, and discrimination against groups in vulnerable situations. Illicit drugs and weapons have robbed the region of so many lives and of the potential and promise that they held.
Understanding that these phenomena are intricately linked, during the general debate of the sixty-fifth ordinary session of the UN General Assembly in 2010, Trinidad and Tobago proposed a resolution on women, disarmament, nonproliferation, and arms control. So passionate is Trinidad and Tobago about women in the Americas that our country will host a regional colloquium for female leaders from June 29 to 30, 2011, in Port of Spain. We look forward to the support of our fellow OAS member states in this endeavor.
Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are not shielded from the effects of terrorism and increased levels of crime. We possess the misfortune of being located between the major producers and consumers of illegal drugs. Prime Minister the Honorable Kamla Persad-Bissessar is the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Crime and Security in the quasi-cabinet of CARICOM. Together, therefore, with our CARICOM partners, we continue to work towards the development and implementation of strategies that would ensure that there is a reduction of serious crimes within our countries.
On the international level, Trinidad and Tobago is a staunch advocate for the conclusion of a UN arms trade treaty to regulate the trade and conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons and ammunition. We are not a producer of conventional arms and light weapons and ammunition; yet, we are victims of these weapons.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has therefore articulated a people-centered strategy that is founded upon seven pillars aimed at guiding the country’s development and the sustainability of democracy:


  1. People-centered development;




  1. Poverty eradication and social justice;




  1. National and personal security;




  1. Information and communication technology;




  1. A diversified, knowledge-intensive economy;




  1. Good governance, and




  1. Foreign policy.

Pillar 3, national and personal security, is of concern to us and our citizens. It is our contention that economic progress on a sustainable basis and a meaningful democracy are not possible unless crime is brought under control and there can be some assurance of human safety and security.


But crime is just one aspect of citizen security. We must also deal with the ability of people to feed, shelter, and clothe themselves, and to be the beneficiaries of great health care.
Trinidad and Tobago has placed emphasis on a number of strategies:
1. Food security.
2. The eradication of poverty, setting a remarkable goal of reducing poverty by two percent per year. We are working with citizen groups and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to this end through a specially created ministry, the Ministry of the People, directed specifically at poverty.
3. Early childhood education. We are building 600 childhood education centers over the next couple of years because we believe that deviancy is fueled by a lack of human values and their absence in the early childhood education of children.
4. A national mentoring program, which was introduced and launched by General Colin Powell.
In closing, Trinidad and Tobago remains optimistic that with concerted national, hemispheric, and international action, we can award our citizens the personal security to which they are entitled. We as leaders will not, should not, and must not fail our people in their hour of need. Our agenda must continue to reflect the needs of our citizens, their communities, and our collective region. As representatives of the people, we have one duty, and we are duty bound to advance those interests to the best of our abilities.
The people of our region are growing tired of the meetings; they are growing tired of the rhetoric; they are growing tired of the same language of promises. They want more than a mere call to action; they want results. Let us welcome this opportunity to engage in meaningful and fruitful dialogue but, beyond all of that, meaningful and fruitful action.
I thank you, Madam President.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you, Trinidad and Tobago. I will now take the floor.
La JEFA DE LA DELEGACIÓN DE GUYANA: Colleague foreign ministers, distinguished heads and members of delegations, permanent observers, members of international organizations, ladies and gentlemen:
I first wish to record our appreciation to the Government and people of El Salvador for the efficient arrangements that have been put in place to host this important General Assembly session and for the friendship and hospitality we have received since our arrival in beautiful San Salvador.
We wish to express greetings to all the delegations present here and, in particular, to welcome the return of the Republic of Honduras to the Organization of American States. We trust that the readmission of Honduras provides an opportunity to broaden efforts to achieve peace, democracy, human rights, and development within Honduras and the wider region.
I also want to record our congratulations to the Government and people of Peru on the elections held yesterday.
The Government of El Salvador must be commended for selecting the vital question of citizen security to be the primary issue on the agenda of this Assembly session. Within the space of three years, this is the second General Assembly session to be held in Central America. On both occasions, the theme has been related to the question of security. This alone underscores the level of deep concern of the citizens of our hemisphere for their security. Their preoccupation is not surprising, considering that 90 percent of the people in the region presume that they could become victims of crime at any given time.
The fact that last year alone, more than two hundred million persons in our region were victims of crime is a woeful illustration of the increasing levels of insecurity being faced by our citizenry. What is worse, the majority of these victims comprise women, juveniles, and ethnic minorities. Clearly, our citizens’ fears are vividly real and totally justified.
Moreover, the effects of crime and violence have an impact way beyond the immediate trauma of death, injury, suffering, and loss of opportunity. As such, the impact of citizen insecurity on our region’s wider prospects for social growth and economic development must be uppermost in our minds.
Crime carries with it a staggering economic cost, affecting all areas of economic growth, from labor and production to investment to health care. Crime-related violence is reducing our collective gross domestic product (GDP) by a whopping 12 percent, and that is not counting its effects on the erosion of public trust and the challenges it poses to the integrity of state institutions.
Addressing the problem of violent crime can be better accomplished when we have identified the linkages to its underlying causative factors, such as the effects of the drug trade, poverty, unemployment, lack of education, and social alienation. For example, it is necessary to appreciate the relationship between conditions, such as lack of education and substance abuse, to incidences of insecurity, such as domestic violence. In some of our societies, the growing tendency toward domestic violence is a source of significant insecurity, particularly to women, children, and the elderly. Getting to the root causes of insecurity dictates that measures to counter crime and violence must be a topmost priority, not solely on the security agenda, but more so on the development agenda of member states.
Significant reductions in the incidences of crime and violence in our region are prerequisite to promoting social and economic development. In the accomplishment of these urgent and important tasks, the Organization of American States is ideally suited to play a pivotal role. It would be essential for our organization, therefore, to intensify cooperation initiatives aimed at improving economic and social conditions. Measures that must be undertaken in this regard, in addition to addressing social issues such as lack of education, poverty, and unemployment, should also accord high priority to justice, human rights, the protection of vulnerable groups, tolerance, and respect for diversity.
It is necessary to bear in mind that measures to be implemented to tackle citizen security by improving economic and social development will be doomed unless they incorporate the effective participation of citizens and communities into programs geared toward assisting the most vulnerable sectors.
However essential it may be to reduce citizen insecurity by means of social and economic development, no regional strategy to guarantee the safety and security of our citizens would stand any chance of success unless it has the reduction of trafficking in illicit drugs as its principal element. The daily newspaper headlines provide graphic depictions of the tragic loss of lives being perpetrated by drug cartels and gangs. Demand appears to be on the rise and, consequently, trafficking routes are expanding. Drug lords are getting richer faster and are outspending state security budgets.
The drug trade is one of the principal factors why Latin America and the Caribbean leads the world in homicides committed with firearms. We record 50 percent of firearm deaths, even though we are only eight percent of the world’s population. Clearly, the time has come to reexamine our assumptions and reassess our strategies in the fight against drugs.
The drug scourge is a trade whose traffic is fed by the appetite of demand. We need to ask ourselves whether the fight against drugs would ever make headway in the absence of a reduction in demand. We must make an appeal to drug-consuming countries to shoulder a greater share of the responsibility by treating the use of illicit drugs as a demand-side problem and implementing measures to reduce demand.
Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, there is another aspect of citizen insecurity about which my delegation is gravely concerned. We are compelled to draw attention to the issue of climate change as a result of the special danger it poses to our region. Evidently, all of our countries are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. However, the small island states and lower-lying coastal regions of the Hemisphere are especially susceptible to the effects of sea level rise, causing loss of land and damage to infrastructure, tourism, housing, and buildings.
As I speak, my country is experiencing severe flooding at a level not seen in the last 30 years. According to reports, more than half of the Caribbean’s coral reefs have already been destroyed through global warming. In addition, our region is home to the lungs of the world, the Amazon, so, for us, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by preventing forest destruction and degradation is an ever more important and urgent task.
Climate change poses environmental, geographical, economic, social, and political threats to citizen security. What needs to be understood is that there are solutions to this problem. We ignore these solutions to the peril of the security of our citizens and the survival of our societies.
Even though a sharp and sudden upsurge in insecurity in many of our urban centers might create the impression of a new problem, the reality is that our hemisphere has been addressing these issues for some time now. The Declaration on Security in the Americas is a cornerstone in these efforts, and it has been instrumental in defining the multidimensional nature of security; in addition, the Commitment to Public Security in the Americas was adopted in Mexico in 2008, and the Consensus of Santo Domingo on Public Security was adopted in 2009.
In reiterating our commitment to confront traditional threats to the security and stability of our countries, we have resolved to overcome the challenges posed by more recently identified issues, such as natural disasters, pandemics, and humanitarian crises, as well as those arising from the social and economic factors I have already cited.
My delegation is pleased to join other member states in recommitting to achieving the goals and objectives in those three hemispheric instruments. We look forward to giving effect to these commitments through the Plan of Action that will be negotiated to accompany the Declaration of San Salvador. The region can be assured of Guyana’s fullest cooperation and commitment in order to fulfill these vital tasks.
I thank you.
La PRESIDENTA: I now give the floor to the Minister of Bolivia.
El JEFE DE LA DELEGACIÓN DE BOLIVIA: Muchas gracias, señora Presidenta. Saludo a los Cancilleres y a los Jefes de Delegación y felicito y agradezco al Gobierno y pueblo de El Salvador por ser anfitriones de esta Asamblea General.
Quiero empezar destacando la elección del tema Seguridad Ciudadana en las Américas como un hecho que involucra aspectos esenciales que hacen a la vida de los pueblos tales como la democracia, los derechos humanos y el desarrollo. Es difícil tratar de entender el creciente fenómeno de la inseguridad ciudadana sin comprender que la misma no es sino el resultado de la existencia, en las últimas décadas, de un modelo de desarrollo y de un sistema social y político injusto que no ha permitido atender temas de carácter social, económico y político, causando, por el contrario, el deterioro del desarrollo integral, de la calidad de vida y de la justicia social, ahondando la brecha entre ricos y pobres.

Los Estados que conformamos el Hemisferio americano tenemos la responsabilidad de fomentar y fortalecer políticas de Estado de largo plazo en materia de seguridad pública, que garanticen la protección y la promoción de los derechos humanos. No es posible aceptar que bajo el criterio de enfrentar la criminalidad y la violencia se vulneren los más elementales derechos consagrados en la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos, en la Declaración Americana de los Derechos y Deberes del Hombre, en la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos y en el Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos.


Considero profundamente que la seguridad ciudadana es un tema que compete a las sociedades en su conjunto y que compromete acciones claras de parte del Estado para que, a través de la voluntad política, se pueda enfrentar la delincuencia, la violencia y la inseguridad en forma conjunta e integral. Para poder avanzar hace falta la formulación de políticas que preserven la integridad y seguridad de las personas, a fin de proteger el disfrute de todos sus derechos.
En Bolivia propugnamos el concepto social del vivir bien como filosofía de vida que precisamente engloba los aspectos fundamentales de la sociedad de mi país. La Constitución Política del Estado, promulgada por mi país el año 2009, promueve una cultura de paz que rechaza la violencia y manifiesta el respeto a la vida de los seres humanos, además del respeto al medio en el que vive y que permite expresar el concepto de respeto a la madre tierra como la única manera de proveer al ser humano un desarrollo social, económico y político sustentable para alejar las grandes desigualdades que genera la inseguridad ciudadana.
Únicamente a través de la eliminación de la pobreza crítica, de la distribución equitativa de la riqueza y del ingreso así como mediante la plena participación de los pueblos en sus decisiones y el fomento de la inclusión social, se podrán combatir los orígenes de la inseguridad ciudadana previniendo de esta manera el crecimiento de la delincuencia, de la violencia y de la inseguridad. Sin embargo, no se tendría un concepto global de la inseguridad ciudadana si además no se observara la presencia en nuestras sociedades de la delincuencia organizada que, en base a intereses económicos, puede causar zozobra en ellas.
La seguridad ciudadana exige igualmente que nuestros países cuenten con un Poder Judicial fortalecido, que permita la correcta aplicación de las leyes y las capacidades en materia de justicia penal. Bolivia tiene previsto para fines del presente año realizar, de manera inédita, elecciones en el Poder Judicial, a fin de contar con una justicia legítima y alejada de interferencias de cualquier naturaleza.
La inseguridad ciudadana en su concepto, generado por actividades ilícitas transnacionales tales como el tráfico ilícito de armas, la trata de personas, el problema mundial de las drogas, el lavado de activos, la corrupción y el terrorismo, debe enfrentarse de manera conjunta y coordinada bajo el concepto de la responsabilidad compartida entre todos los Estados.
Para terminar, señora Presidenta, por la importancia que le da mi país a este problema de la seguridad ciudadana, estamos organizando una Cumbre Nacional de Seguridad Ciudadana que se va a realizar en la ciudad de Santa Cruz, los días 16 y 17 de junio.
Muchas gracias.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you, Bolivia. I now give the floor to Saint Kitts and Nevis.
El JEFE DE LA DELEGACIÓN DE SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS: Madam President, esteemed colleagues, permit me first to extend words of gratitude to the Government of El Salvador for the gracious hospitality accorded my delegation since our arrival in San Salvador three days ago.
Second, I want to commend our host country, through Minister Martínez, on the choice of so relevant and essential a theme, “Citizen Security in the Americas,” for our deliberation at this, the forty-first regular session of the General Assembly.
Madam President, our countries are all feeling a similar pain and reeling in agony because our security protection systems have failed us and have unfurled, even as we watched, a contagion of crime, violence, and citizen insecurity unimaginable by any of us a mere 10 to 15 years ago.
The statistics in just the last 24 months in my country are dire. Guns have seemingly become the first option to settle every score, no matter how trivial. Combined with the drug trade, this is a formula for the disruption of the peaceful enjoyment of life that our citizens ought to expect in any thriving democracy.
With the ease with which all our borders are being transgressed, this problem is hemispheric in scope, and so must be the solution. I commend the project “Promoting Firearms Marking in Latin America and the Caribbean,” under the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), to which my country is a signatory––a small step in the right direction. We urge similar concrete action, including the harmonization of legislation, greater connectivity between agencies, and the sharing of information towards quantifiable results through the eradication of this ominous threat.
Not only do Latin America and the Caribbean continue to be global leaders in homicide rates, but also, the rates are rising steadily and alarmingly. One member state records a greater than tenfold rise in its homicide rate in as many years. Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean is now an unrelenting epidemic that is having a deadly impact on socioeconomic development.
As our populations become more youthful, the issues we must address to keep young people alive and secure take on greater urgency. We are losing a critical generation because we are failing to provide options to challenge their technological savvy, their inventiveness, their cunning, and their need for outlets. We are failing to meet the challenge of stemming the tide of delinquency through the redirection of youthful energies and finding appropriate mechanisms to blend the punitive with the corrective.
In our small, developing states, we have a limited population and limited resources, but we have limitless potential for disaster and for the proliferation of criminal activity if the issue of citizen security is not elevated to a place of prominence for debate and action in all hemispheric fora.
Madam President, my delegation is convinced that the issue of women’s security has to be foremost and central to any serious discussion on citizen security in the Americas. The response of the Organization of American States to the defense and protection of women’s rights and their security ought to be defined by its capacity to succeed on the basis of it being appropriate, efficacious, and just. I therefore applaud the OAS for its commitment to fighting this battle full force by, first of all, recognizing the scope of this reality and establishing protocols for addressing the issue, as articulated in the Convention of Belém do Pará.
You will no doubt recall, Madam President, that at last year’s General Assembly session in Lima, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis issued a call for the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States to convene a meeting of high-level officials of member states, before the next General Assembly session, to bring requisite attention and to formulate a solution-focused plan of action in relation to the prevention of interpersonal violence and the promotion of citizen security in this Hemisphere.
While repeating that call here today, I would also want the record to reflect that although the call has not yet been fully answered, I acknowledge the commitment demonstrated and express my appreciation for the efforts of the Secretary General and the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security (SMS) in setting the stage for this discourse. In addition, Saint Kitts and Nevis and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) look forward to working closely with the General Secretariat over the ensuing months in advancing its violence-prevention framework. More important is the need for concrete follow-through and action that evidence measurable results that are as dynamic as the problems they are designed to resolve.
Citizens whose security is violated do not want to wait for years to question if and when something will be done to address crisis situations. They want to feel the impact of such decisions as immediately as they feel the infractions against them. We have a monumental task, and as decision and policy makers, we are called upon to effect results-oriented change that our citizens will see as contributing to their peace and security.
We look forward to intense and solution-focused engagement on this issue, with the confidence that through our combined efforts, and with the support of international development agencies and that of the inter-American system, particularly the partners of the Inter-American Coalition for the Prevention of Violence (IACPV), we can indeed bring a measure of relief to our deserving peoples.
In closing, Madam President, I am convinced that one element of citizen security that cannot be mandated is hope. Hope cannot “spring eternal” on its own but requires catalytic activation. Hope is a practical intangible that has formed the basis of many successful lives and provoked the formation of organizations such as the OAS, which is built on the ideal that humankind will always prefer good over evil.
Let us, through our efforts, make decisions that will be the catalyst to inspire new hope that tomorrow’s world will be a more peaceful and secure place for all of us as citizens of this hemisphere and of this universe. History will not absolve us if we fail in this essential task.
May it please you, Madam President. I thank you.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you, Minister. I now give the floor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jamaica.
El JEFE DE LA DELEGACIÓN DE JAMAICA: Thank you, Madam President.
Madam President, representing His Excellency Hugo Martínez, President of the General Assembly; Your Excellency Secretary General Insulza; colleague ministers; distinguished representatives all:
Let me begin by expressing my profound appreciation to the Government and people of El Salvador for the very warm hospitality extended to my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful and historic city of San Salvador.
May I also use this opportunity to convey, through you, Madam President, my heartiest congratulations and very best wishes to Minister Martínez on his assumption of the presidency of the General Assembly.
Madam President, challenges to international peace and security continue to overwhelm societies and create socioeconomic disruptions. In fact, as we meet here today in San Salvador, we are all painfully aware that organized crime syndicates are no doubt moving freely, quickly, and stealthily across our borders, powerfully motivated by greed and financial gains and recruiting vulnerable young people from among the disadvantaged communities.
The manifestations of their activities are evident in the inextricable link between narcotic drugs and small arms trafficking, money laundering, the presence of criminal gangs, and a seemingly intractable rate of violence in the region. In addition, the region is currently faced with other fairly new security concerns, such as cyber crimes and new aspects of terrorism.
The selection of the theme “Citizen Security in the Americas” for this year’s General Assembly session is therefore not only timely but extremely relevant. The draft Declaration of San Salvador calls upon countries, inter alia, to “develop and implement public policies in the area of public security in the framework of a democratic order where the rule of law and observance of human rights prevail, geared towards providing security and strengthening peaceful coexistence in our communities.” This is quite critical in how we seek to address the multidimensional scope of crime, which includes traditional and new threats and other challenges to the security of the states of this Hemisphere.



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