Speaking to a meeting of the Organisation of American States, President Reagan has promised to oppose communist movements in the Caribbean.
TRANSCRIPT OF SPEECH:
REAGAN: "Very simply, guerrillas, armed and supported by and through Cuba, are attempting to impose a Marxist-Leninist dictatorship on the people of El Salvador as part of a larger imperialistic plan. If we do not act promptly and decisively in defence of freedom, new Cubas will arise from the ruins of today's conflicts. We will face more totalitarian regimes, tied militarily to the Soviet Union. More regimes exporting subversion, more regimes so incompetent yet so totalitarian that their citizens' only hope becomes that of one day migrating to other American nations, as in recent years, they have come to the United States. I believe free and peaceful development of our hemisphere requires us to help governments confronted with aggression from outside their borders to defend themselves. For this reason, I will ask the Congress to provide increase security assistance to help friendly countries hold off those who would destroy their chances for economic and social progress and political democracy. Meeting these responsibilities is all the more important, when an outside power supports terrorism and insurgency to destroy any possibility of freedom and democracy. Let our friends and our adversaries understand that we will do whatever is prudent and necessary to ensure the peace and security of the Caribbean area. In the face of outside threats, security for the countries of the Caribbean and Central American area is not an end in itself. But a means to an end. It is a means to a building, representative and responsive institutions, towards strengthening pluralism and free private institutions, churches, free trade unions and an independent press. It is a means to nurturing the basic human rights freedom's foes would stamp out. Our economic assistance, including the additions that are part of the programme I've just outlined, is that more than five times the amount of our security assistance. The thrust of our aid is to help our neighbours realise freedom, justice an economic progress. We seek to exclude no-one. Some, however, have turned from their American neighbours and their heritage. Let them return to the traditions and common values of this hemisphere and we all will welcome them. The choice is theirs."
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Background: Speaking to a meeting of the Organisation of American States, President Reagan has promised to oppose communist movements in the Caribbean. He has unveiled a plan to increase aid, trade and investment for Central American countries. Mr. Reagan, who strongly criticized Cuba and Nicaragua for alleged subversion in the area, has said he will seek and increase of 350 million dollars in economic aid and an additional 60 million dollars in military aid. The President's plan has been seen by many Congressmen, however, as an attempt to justify U.S. military aid for El Salvador.