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Public Papers - 1989

Remarks Following a Meeting With Polish and Chilean Human Rights Leaders

1989-05-03

Well, it's a great honor to welcome to the White House today two outstanding individuals, truly heroes of democracy. Jacek Kuron has been a key leader in Solidarity's struggle in Poland. Solidarity has just won an important victory in Poland, not only its own legislation but a program of other democratic reforms as well. As Poland moves towards more freedoms for all of its people, greater economic opportunity and strength, the world will be watching and applauding. And this is especially true for the United States.

Monica Jimenez de Barros founded and directed the Crusade for Citizen Participation in Chile. She educated and mobilized millions of voters in Chile's plebiscite election last October. Due in part to her efforts, Chile is on a road toward democracy. We do not deceive ourselves that this is an easy road, but we believe Chile is on an irreversible course. And Chileans who seek democracy deserve the support of everybody in the United States -- everybody that loves democracy around the world.

Mr. Kuron and Mrs. Jimenez are in Washington this week to receive the Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy. We salute you, and we salute the kind of personal courage that you both have shown in the face of great obstacles. You've shown that tenacity and faith and courage in the name of democracy can make a difference for millions of people.

As I said in my Inaugural, the day of the dictator is over. All over the globe freedom is a fact now, more than at any other time in modern history. The National Endowment for Democracy -- in these awards and in its other good work -- is giving expression to the oldest and noblest tradition of this country: the devotion to freedom for all humanity. And thus, it is a special honor today to welcome you two outstanding democracy builders.

Congratulations! Well done. Keep it up. Congratulations to both of you, and thank you for coming to the White House at the end of what I understand has been a very good conference.

Note: The President spoke at 9:45 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

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