introducing President Bill Clinton

Ramón Báez Figueroa's remarks introducing President Bill Clinton At IAPA Midyear Meeting Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic March 18, 2002 I feel twice privileged today. As part of this audience I will have in a few minutes the privilege to listen the message of President Bill Clinton, one of the most charismatic and talented leaders that have influenced the international arena in the last decades. And as president of the Listín Communication Group, I have the privilege to introduce him before you. It seems to me that President Clinton is the type of leader who feeds on challenges. A glance to his busy schedule gives the impression that every day he goes out to pick up a new challenge or to create one. It may well be the economic empowerment of poor people in Harlem, New York. It may well be the rebuilding of a town in India. It may well be the launch of a fund to guarantee a university education for spouses and children of all the victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, or the reconciliation in the Middle East. No matter the cause, he will be the more dedicated and restless champion President Clinton will speak to us about Globalization, one of the key themes of his Administration of eight years in the United States, and one which he promotes almost as a crusade in his constant travels around the world. The core of his Administration's foreign policy was to increase the community of free market democracies in the world, with his country assuming the challenge to lead the task of harnessing the forces of Globalization for the benefit of all people in all nations. The frame of his message today - this Middle Year Meeting of the Inter-American Press Association - is most than appropriate. Globalization is no just a phenomenon that impacts the economy or that generates political or cultural resistances. It could affect the ways in which information is collected and disseminated. And those tasks are the center of the concerns of this organization. IAPA believes that a free society basically depends on free speech and on freedom of the press. Freedom is - without any doubt - the more valued political gain in a society. Long ago I read that freedom lives in the hearts of men and women, and when it dies there, there is not Constitution, nor Law, nor Court that can save it. But we all know that there are Constitutions, Laws and Courts that respond to the political interests of totalitarian governments and tyrannies. That is the reason why the statement is also true the other way around: If freedom does not die in the hearts of men and women, there is not Constitution, nor Law, nor Court that can kill it. How does a leader of President Clinton's dimension and experience see the challenges that Globalization brings with it, and the apprehensions that it is generating among the countries trapped by poverty and inequality? Will it globalize freedom, democracy and prosperity? It is a great honor to introduce you a man with the best qualifications for addressing these questions. Please, receive with a strong and standing applause to our distinguished speaker: !President Bill Clinton!