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Public Papers - 1989 - October

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the President's Signing of the Bill Providing Assistance for Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua

1989-10-21

Today the President signed into law H.R. 3385, a bill to provide assistance for free and fair elections in Nicaragua. This legislation represents another step forward in our efforts to promote democracy in countries that have been deprived of political and economic freedom. Around the world, the tide of democracy is advancing as more and more authoritarian and totalitarian regimes realize that human progress is inseparable from the principles of liberty.

In many of those countries -- including Chile, the Philippines, Poland, and Paraguay -- the United States, through the National Endowment for Democracy, made a difference by supporting democratic institutions. We did it because it was right. We did it because all of us benefit as freedom expands. And we will continue to support them when the forces of democracy look to us for help.

With the funds provided for in this legislation, the National Endowment for Democracy and other organizations will work to strengthen democratic institutions in Nicaragua so that truly free and fair elections may be held. In this way, we hope that Nicaragua will join other countries that have made the transition from repression to freedom.

The passage of this bill is a tribute to the bipartisan leadership of both Houses of Congress and an indication of strong bipartisan commitment to democratization and peace in Central America. Regional peace cannot be separated from democratization, as the Central American accords themselves make clear. This bill, by supporting democratic institutions in Nicaragua, will contribute to peace in the entire region.

Note: H.R. 3385, approved October 21, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 119.

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