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Address to the People of Central and South America

May 10, 1997

Good morning. I'm speaking to you today from Bridgetown, Barbados. I'm proud to be the first American President to meet with Caribbean leaders in the heart of the Caribbean. This was not a meeting between Caribbean nations and the United States, it was a meeting among Caribbean nations including the United States.

We are charting a roadmap for how we can work together for the benefit of all of our people as we move into a new century. Today, every nation in the Americas but one has embraced free elections and open markets. This hopeful moment gives us real opportunities to improve the lives of all our people, but it also demands that we work together to bring the benefit of change to all our citizens and to band together to meet the transnational threats that respect no borders.

That's what the Partnership for Prosperity and Security in the Caribbean that we signed today is all about. It lays out an ambitious action plan to expand trade with the Caribbean; to launch the Caribbean clean energy initiative to better protect the environment; to create a Caribbean scholars program so students have access to specialized training; to support the banks that make low-interest loans readily available to workers, farmers, and women's groups; and to deepen our cooperation to fight drugs and organized crime.

Working as partners, we can help build a future of peace and prosperity for all our children to enjoy. That's what we've committed to do at our summit in Barbados; that's what we'll continue to do as neighbors, friends, and partners.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 3 p.m. on May 9 aboard Air Force One for later broadcast by Voice of America to Latin American outlets. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this address.

William J. Clinton, Address to the People of Central and South America Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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