Today, July 4, 2005, we celebrate the 229th
anniversary of the Declaration of the Independence of the
United States of America.
Our founding founders signed the Declaration
in 1776, knowing they were committing an act of treason
punishable by death in the eyes of the foreign crown. They
did so because they understood the fundamental principle
that the right to freedom is often as valuable as the gift
of life itself.
The Declaration of Independence was a victory
of ideas and principles over tyranny. A victory of democratic
values over a government by unilateral decree.
Today, the rejoicing that takes place in
America on July 4th is not only done by those whose forefathers
came to the shores of America in the 15th century, but also
by the most recent waves of immigration from Africa, the
Middle East and Latin America. These immigrants are motivated
by personal dignity, the search for a better life, the fulfillment
of their dreams and the exercise of their natural liberties.
Their thirst for liberty is not unlike that of America '
s founding fathers, in that they often sacrifice everything
they own and sometime even risk death, to reach America
' s shores. Libertad o muerte.
Americans do not see freedom as a personal
possession to be selfishly kept to ourselves. We see it
as a principle worth giving our lives for, so that total
strangers may enjoy its fruit. At this very moment, as in
generations before, young American men and women are dying
on foreign fields of battle so that others may be free.
Today, as a special day for all freedom loving people of
the world, our hope is that all people, including our neighbors
150 kilometers from our Florida shores, will one day experience
true liberty. The American patriot, Thomas Paine wrote in
1776 that absolute governments are the disgrace of human
nature. He noted that circumstances arise which are not
local, but universal, and through which the principles of
all lovers of mankind are affected and are the concern of
every man to whom nature has given the power of feeling.
I have had the opportunity to visit every
corner of this lovely country of Uruguay and in every place
I have come across people who share along with my people
the same irrefutable faith in freedom and democracy. It
is my hope that all Uruguayans will speak out for freedom
for all citizens of the world. I wish to convey my very
best wishes for the progress and prosperity of Uruguay.
Happy 4th of July.