For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 11, 2007
President Bush and President Uribe of Colombia Exchange Toasts
Casa de Nariño
President's Trip to Latin America
3:00 P.M. (Local)
PRESIDENT URIBE: In his speech at Angostura, Simón Bolívar, our Liberator referred to the United States with these words: “Who can resist the attraction of the absolute exercise of sovereignty, of independence and freedom? Who can resist the love inspired by a government that not only takes care of personal needs, but of those of all society; who out of the common will establishes the supreme law of individual will? Who can resist a government that does well, one which with a skillful hand directs its society towards its perfection? A government that establishes social perfection as the only destiny of humanity. That is what the Liberator said during his speech in Angostura, when he referred to the United States.
And when the Liberator presided over a constitutional conference, he referred to George Washington in the following way -- in Bolivia. When the constitution of Bolivia was enacted for the first time, our Liberator wants this constitution, and at the moment of the peace assembly, our Liberator said, referring to President George Washington, "The beautiful lesson that the citizen hero has left us, the Father of the great American Republic, should not be one that we failed to see." Today, the American Republic is an example of glory, of freedom and of the joy of virtue.
In the year 1828 he referred in a letter to the convention Ocaña, and it is very vibrant when we refer to it, thinking of the struggle against terrorism we have today in Colombia. In one of the paragraphs of that letter the Liberator said, "Legislators, consider that the energy of public strength is the only thing that can protect the weak. It is the hope of all society, and it is what terrifies the criminal." And at the end of that letter he said, "We need the energy of public force in order to guarantee the virtue of the republic. Without that energy, there will be no virtue. And without virtue, the republic will perish."
Those words, those paragraphs of the Liberator, Mr. President Bush, are the ones that illuminate us today in order to strengthen our democratic institutions and do away completely with terrorism. Those paragraphs of the Liberator, Mr. President, that are reflected both in the letter of angostura, as well as in the constituent assembly of Bolivia regarding George Washington illuminate the thought of our country with regard to the fraternal relations that we establish with regard to the democratic principles espoused by your country.
It is with great feeling that we welcome you to our country. And through you, to the people of the United States we wish to extend our fraternal greeting, to express our thanks to the people of the United States, to the U.S. Congress, to your government and to you, personally, Mr. Bush, for all the support that our struggle for democratic security has received from you.
I want to invite you to make a toast to the welfare of the United States of America, to the welfare of Colombia, to the unity of our continent and the respect for freedom and diversity. To all the members of your administration, your families, and everyone in your nation.
(A toast was offered.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, thank you very much. I appreciate your hospitality. I am amazed by the beauty of your country. I've never been here to the beautiful capital city of your country, but Laura and I were struck by two things: the beauty of the landscape and the warmness of the people.
We bring greetings from the United States to the people of your country. We have been friends and we shall remain friends. We value your democracy. I appreciate your strong leadership. We come during a period where your country has come through very difficult times, and now there's a brighter day ahead. And my message to the people of your country is we want to help every individual realize their God-given potential.
I'd like to propose a toast to the people of this country, to the leadership of this country. May God bless you. (A toast was offered.)
END 3:11 P.M. (Local)