Remarks at a Reception for Heads of State at the Summit of the Americas in Miami
Let's give all our distinguished guests a hand here. [Applause] To our distinguished heads of state, Vice President and Mrs. Gore, Members of the Congress and the Cabinet, Governor and Mrs. Chiles, Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. MacKay, Mayor Clark, to the distinguished leaders from the business community and nongovernmental organizations that work so wonderfully together, to the co-chairs and others from the host committee who have done such a wonderful job of putting together this extraordinary event, and to all of our distinguished guests from other lands, let me say a hearty welcome to this remarkable summit.
Let me begin by thanking the wonderful city of Miami for rising so magnificently to the challenge of hosting the Summit of the Americas. If we leaders can match the dedication of the citizens of Miami and south Florida to the work of this week, we will truly bring our people and our hemisphere closer together.
The end of the cold war has given all of us a great opportunity to build bridges where, for 50 years, only barriers stood. We in the United States have worked hard to seize this moment for peace and prosperity, from the Middle East to Northern Ireland to southern Africa to Haiti. And through our commitment to expanded trade through NAFTA and the GATT agreement, we are doing our best to demonstrate our willingness to reach out to the rest of the world to promote the peace and prosperity we all want.
But here in our own hemisphere we are especially privileged, all of us, to live at a moment of great opportunity. And with that opportunity comes a heavy obligation upon all of us who occupy positions of leadership in this hemisphere. It is in the spirit of that opportunity and that obligation that I proudly welcome the 33 democratically elected leaders of the Americas to the United States and to Miami.
This week we have come together to build a better world and a better future for our children. Students of the Americas will recognize this as an old dream. In the 1820's, at the dawn of freedom for the new Latin American republics, Simon Bolivar dreamed the Americas could be the greatest region on Earth, I quote, "not so much by virtue of her area and wealth, but by her freedom and her glory." Now, some 170 years later, Bolivar's dream for the Americas is becoming a reality. The people represented here are free, we are friends, and we are committed to creating the best century in our history. We can become true partners for prosperity, and we can begin this week.
Our goals for the summit are clear: We want to extend free trade from Alaska to Argentina, we want to strengthen our democracies, and we want to improve the quality of life for all our people. It is clear that these goals are bound together. If we grow more prosperous through trade, we will strengthen our democracies and our friendship. If we confront our common problems, the common threats to democracy, in a spirit of genuine partnership, we will increase our chances at prosperity. And if together we can confront our common challenges in the environment, in health, and education to provide for long-term sustainable development, both our prosperity and our freedom will be secure.
A partnership for prosperity, stronger democracies, improving our people's quality of life, these are the opportunities that lie before us. So, my fellow citizens of the Americas, let us make the most of them.
Thank you very much.
NOTE: The President spoke at 8 p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel Country Club.
William J. Clinton, Remarks at a Reception for Heads of State at the Summit of the Americas in Miami Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/217982