Latin American Security at the UN General Assembly

Latin America and the Caribbean

This post was compiled by CIP intern Benjamin Fagan

This week, world leaders converged in New York City for the 68th UN General Assembly. Numerous Latin American leaders were invited to address the UN body. Below are some highlighted quotes from their remarks.

Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil

President Rousseff garnered considerable press attention for her scathing criticism of the United States' National Security Administration spying programs that targeted both her personal email and the state owned oil company, Petrobras. A full statement and a video of her address is available “... it emerged that we were targeted by this intrusion. Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information - often of high economic and even strategic value - was at the center of the espionage activity.”


“Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of International Law and is an affront to the principles that must guide relations among them, especially among friendly nations.”


“The right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another country.”


“The arguments that the illegal interception of information and data aimed at protecting nations against terrorism cannot be sustained. Brazil, Mr. President, knows how to protect itself. We reject, fight and do not harbor terrorist groups.”


“Brazil, Mr. President, will redouble its efforts to adopt legislation, technologies and mechanisms to protect us from the illegal interception of communications and data.”


“Brazil will present proposals for the establishment of a civilian multilateral framework for the governance and use of the Internet and to ensure the effective protection of data that travels through the web.”


Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia

<a data-cke-saved-href="" href="" _blank"="">President Santos’ remarks focused on violence in the country, the FARC peace process and a reevaluation of global drug policy. He addressed the guerillas directly, calling for fighters to put down their guns and join the political process. A transcript and video of his remarks are available here.

“Right here, in this same headquarters, 52 years ago, the Convention that gave the birth certificate to the war on drugs was approved. Today, we must acknowledge, that war has not been won.”




“If we act together on the drug problem with a comprehensive vision devoid of ideological or political biases, we will be able to prevent much harm and violence!”




“I hope the guerilla understands that the time has come to leave this 50 year confrontation behind; that the time has come to change from bullets to votes, from weapons to argumentations; that the time has come for them to continue their struggle, but with democracy.”




“We are tired of being afraid, we are tired of violence, we are tired of a conflict that confronts children of a same nation and delays our development.”




Laura Chinchilla-Miranda, President of Costa Rica

Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, praised the United Nations and the covenants of international law in her speech. She then challenged Nicaragua to respect the International Court of JusticeJ ruling of the two nations’ border dispute. A video and transcript of her statements are available here.

“In October of 2010, Nicaraguan forces occupied part of Costa Rica’s territory. Following out denunciation, the international Court of Justice took provisional measures which, among other things, prohibit the presence of Nicaraguan personnel in the zone under dispute.”




“Nicaragua has continued sending contingents of political activists, funded and organized by its Government… The Nicaraguan and Costa Rican people wish and deserve to live in peace, but the Nicaraguan Government insists on preventing it.”




José Mujica, President of Uruguay

President Mujica was perhaps the most entertaining of the speakers, giving a 40-minute speech that was more philosophical, touching on issues of the environment, the failures of capitalism and the meaning of life. A statement and audio can be found here.

“We rip out the true forests and replace them with anonymous concrete forests. We face a sedentary lifestyle as walkers, insomnia with pills and loneliness with electronics… Are we happy with the human experience?”




“Today is the time to prepare for a world without borders.”




"So long as mankind lives in a climate of war, he is in prehistory"




“The United Nations languishes and becomes more bureaucratic because it lacks power and autonomy.”




“Nevertheless, with talent and collective work, man can make the deserts green, bring agriculture to the seas, develop our agriculture with salt water and more.”




Horacio Cartes, President of Paraguay

Horacio Cartes, the newly elected President of Paraguay, immediately praised the recent presidential election process as democratic and exemplary, overseen by outside observers. His remarks largely focused on Paraguay as a “land of opportunity” for investment, growth, and social inclusion. A transcript and audio of his remarks can be found here.

“My country asks for opportunities to achieve progress in a dignified manner, not for hand-outs; to work and study and truly become a land of opportunity.”




“Paraguay encourages peace, dialogue and harmonious global development, along with the integration that is respectful of the Rule of Law, national dignity and asymmetries.”




Sebastian Piñera, President of Chile

Mr. Piñera’s remarks were largely focused on international norms and the UN as an international body. He said that UN veto power was the relic of a previous time, and that governments should not be allowed to use veto power when human rights are at stake. He then went on to list the lessons that Chile has learned from its 1973 coup. His remarks can be found here.

“The reforms required of this body are neither based in its composition nor substance, but in the need to leave behind the logic of vetoes, which is from a world that no longer exists.”




“... there exists a very close relationship between the health of democracy, social justice and economic progress. These factors are mutually strengthened and renewed, so much so that if any of these suffer, sooner or later the rest will deteriorate as well.”




Ollanta Humala Tasso, President of Peru

President Humala focused his speech on indicators of improvement in his country, touching on issues of regional integration, economic successes and progress toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals. On security issues, he noted that relations between states no longer cause the most serious threats to peace. A video and transcript of his speech can be found here.

“It is particularly gratifying and a source of pride for Peru ato have managed, in the most constructive and cooperative way, the maritime delimitation dispute with Chile.”




“We are referring to terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, mafias and corruption. All these crimes pose a real threat to life, progress, and development, mainly affecting the poor.”




Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, President of Panama

President Martinelli praised his country’s progress on the Millennium Development Goals and affirmed Panama’s commitment to sustainability in economic, social and environmental development. Martinelli also joined President Chinchilla of Costa Rica in expressing concern over recent actions by Nicaragua to delimit maritime boundaries.

The Panamanian President also said he would respect the decision of the Security Council in regards to an investigation of the detainment of a North Korean ship carrying weapons through the Canal. A video and transcript of his address can be found here.

“My Government finds itself in the pressing need to categorically reject the Republic of Nicaragua’s attempt to delimit its maritime boundaries, because this violates the existing treaties with the Republic of Panama, which we have honored in good faith, as well as our legitimate maritime rights, recognized and accepted by the International Community in this area.”




“After the ship was seized, an enormous amount of war material that, by definition and destination clearly violates Security Council Sanctions Committee mandates, were discovered hidden under 200 tons of raw sugar.”