In opening the Meeting of States Parties to
the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, in Managua,
the Nicaraguan President told delegates from the Organization of American States (OAS) treaty’s 31 ratifying
states that the meeting would seek to give new impetus to “our commitment to promote and strengthen
mechanisms to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption.”
President Bolaños went on to declare
that corruption remains “one of the major causes of poverty in our
countries.” Not only do acts of corruption foster evil, Bolaños asserted, but they also hinder international
cooperation and assistance and divert much-needed resources from job-creation.
Meanwhile, OAS Secretary General César
Gaviria stressed in his opening remarks that the conclusions of the
conference would be an important step along the path “that we have been traveling in order to consolidate
and strengthen joint efforts to tackle a critical problem in democratic governance, economic growth and social
development in the Americas.”
Warning that “corruption undermines the legitimacy
of democracies,” the Secretary General cited a recent
study revealing that barely 35 per cent of Latin Americans are satisfied with democracy. According to the
study, 90 per cent believe corruption is worsening, and many view corruption as the biggest national problem.
“Although the statistics also reveal that Latin
Americans prefer democracy over any alternative, effectively
combating the problem (of corruption) is undoubtedly a major challenge in consolidating democracy in the
hemisphere,” Gaviria stated.
The Secretary General commended Nicaragua for
hosting the meeting, which he called “a renewed expression
of support from the hemisphere’s nations for President Bolaños’ efforts to govern effectively, in keeping with
the principles of the Democratic Charter.” He recalled a 2002 OAS Permanent Council resolution supporting
the Nicaraguan government’s efforts to combat corruption.
Before concluding tomorrow, the Meeting of
States Parties to the Inter-American Convention against
Corruption, being chaired by Nicaraguan Foreign Affaire Minister Norman Caldera Cardenal, is expected to
approve a Plan of Action and a Declaration of Managua, for consideration at the Fourth Summit of the
Americas next year.