Discussions With President Oscar Arias Sanchez of Costa Rica
December 4, 1986
Reagan. It's been a great pleasure to welcome President Arias and distinguished
members of his government here today. The good will evident in our meetings
underscores the enduring bond between our countries and between all peoples who
cherish democracy and human freedom.
Costa Rica and the United States stand together,
foursquare in our commitment to democracy in this hemisphere. The progress
we've witnessed in the Americas in recent years has
indeed been heartening. It wasn't that long ago when Costa Rica was Central America's only democracy. Today
we look with satisfaction at the impressive development of democratic institutions
in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The despair of
yesterday has been replaced, for the most part, by the promise of tomorrow.
over this fragile democratic promise looms the shadow of Communist dictatorship
in Nicaragua, where a totalitarian,
expansionist regime violates the human rights of its people and threatens the
peace and freedom of its neighbors. Hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans have
already fled the hunger, repression, and assassination in their own land,
seeking safety in Costa Rica and Honduras. This challenge cannot
be ignored without imperiling the peace, stability, and freedom in all of Central America.
Arias, you have earned the respect of free people everywhere with your
courageous defense of the right of the Nicaraguan people to liberty. Despite
threats, insults, and provocation, Mr. President, you have not shrunk from your
firm stand against totalitarianism next door. As the leader of the region's
oldest and strongest democracy, your words have special significance and carry
moral weight. As you've said: Democratization is the key to
peace in Central America.
the United States agrees. Promoting and
protecting democracy has the full backing of the Congress and the American
people. The establishment of a Soviet beachhead on the mainland of the Americas, a base camp for
terrorism and the subversion of democracy, remains unacceptable. There has been
no deterioration of our commitment, no weakening of our resolve. Let there be
no mistake, the free people of Central America will not be abandoned
to Communist domination. Our support for freedom in your region, President
Arias, remains unflinching. Costa Ricans and the other free people of Central America can have faith that
they will not be abandoned in the face of this deadly threat to your security
and freedom. Central
belongs to the future, and the future is democracy.
friendship, and respect have been hallmarks of the U.S.-Costa Rican
relationship for many years. Our discussions today reaffirmed that our
relations will continue on a high note. The United States, as was made clear in
today's meetings, remains Costa Rica's steadfast friend and
ally. President Arias, I wish you a safe journey home, and I look forward to
our next meeting and to the day when democracy reigns throughout Central America. Thank you. God bless
Arias. Mr. President, I'm very pleased by this frank and sincere dialog. The
discussion of political and economic problems, the solution of which affects
both our countries, was constructive and encouraging. For many years Costa Rica has been bordered on
the north by oppression and violence. My country is not a party to the problems
but the problems of Central America are part of our problems.
wish to keep Costa Rica out of Central American
armed conflicts. We do not want violence to cross our borders. We hope that our
brothers and sisters in the region can enjoy our peace. We think that only
democracy can guarantee reconciliation between peoples. Accordingly, we have
proposed an alliance for freedom and democracy. Only if we endeavor to enable
our peoples to enjoy democracy, only if we encourage the downfall of all
tyrants equally, can we prevent threats to peace throughout the world from
growing in the Americas.
challenge Costa Rica faces extends beyond
the Central American problem. We aspire to higher levels of development. Only
the absence of extreme poverty is a guarantee of peace and a shield against
violence. We wish to overcome the seed of political uncertainty and economic
crisis by strengthening both our democracy and our economy. Today, more than
ever, we must strive for general well-being and prevent the spread of poverty.
Today, more than ever, we must reaffirm our faith in the roads to freedom.
Today, more than ever, we must direct our sacrifices with a full sense of
history. Today, more than ever, we need international solidarity and fair
treatment in trade and finance, because we are the boundary between peace and
war and between freedom and oppression.
democracy in which many American nations live today cannot be consolidated
without economic development and social justice. Before any political or
economic conditions can be imposed on the democracies of the Americas, there must be a
commitment from the Western World to strengthen democracy in all our nations.
In the Americas, peace must be
democratic, pluralistic, tolerant, and free. While dogmatism and intransigence
persist and there is no dialog, peace will be impossible. Working together for
democracy, freedom, and development is working together for peace.
President, once again, I wish to tell you how pleased I am with the numerous
areas of agreement in our talks. I leave convinced that this ongoing dialog
between ourselves will help perpetuate the excellent friendship between our two
countries. Thank you again very much.
President Reagan spoke at in the Rose Garden at
the White House. Earlier, the two Presidents met in the Oval Office and then
had lunch in the Roosevelt Room.