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Public Papers - 1989 - October

Advance Text of Remarks Upon Departure for the Centennial Celebration of Costa Rican Democracy in San Jose


This morning we are traveling to San Jose, at the invitation of President Arias, to celebrate a century of democracy in the Republic of Costa Rica. As with our trip in July, when we traveled to Paris to commemorate their bicentennial, we will carry with us the warm congratulations of the American people to a nation that has been both a good friend, a good neighbor, and a pillar of democracy.

Three years from now, we will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's first great voyage of discovery; 8 years after that, the beginning of a new century. As we approach these landmarks, the people of the Western Hemisphere have strongly affirmed their democratic ideals. In nation after nation, courageous people voted new leaders into office and marked the end of autocratic rule. Today many who blazed the path to democracy are transferring the people's mandate to elected successors. Costa Rica is no longer one of a few lonely democracies. Indeed, today there are only a few lonely holdouts against the sweep of democracy through this hemisphere.

I believe history will show that this hemisphere's democratic resurgence helped set the stage for today's electrifying changes in the Communist world. When people replace dictatorships with popular rule across an entire continent, the world takes notice. The news is irrepressible and inspiring for those with democratic dreams of their own. Here in the Americas, we have the opportunity to create the world's first completely democratic hemisphere, where free markets and the marketplace of ideas can prosper hand in hand.

And so, we journey today to advance this new world of freedom and to salute the traditions of a nation and a people that, in many ways, represents the model for our entire hemisphere. Thank you, and I hope you all have a pleasant weekend.

Note: The President spoke at 6:22 a.m. on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base, Camp Springs, MD. The remarks as delivered were not released by the Office of the Press Secretary.

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