Tonight we celebrate CHLI's accomplishments.
So many young people whose lives have been touched, in many cases decisively.
And we thank key leaders who have helped CHLI along the way.
CHLI's partner, Florida International University. President Mark Rosenberg is traveling and could not be here tonight, but we are honored by the presence of Provost Ken Furton, our DC partner in-the-trenches Carlos Becerra, my dear friend the Dean of the Law School Alex Acosta, and other distinguished FIU leaders.
FIU...CHLI's Partner...Forming leaders of tomorrow.
President Alvaro Uribe Velez, the man who saved Colombia. He left the presidency at an unprecedented level of popularity. Due to patriotism, he returned to public life. He is now a Senator, the leader of the Opposition, fighting to save his country, again. President Uribe spoke at CHLI's first Trade & International Affairs Symposium.
Alvaro Uribe... inspiring the leaders of tomorrow.
And Governor Jeb Bush.
Governor Bush's record on educational opportunity for all is simply extraordinary. Countless Hispanic students have had access to higher education because of the leadership and the legacy of Jeb Bush. Governor Bush has always supported CHLI. He spoke at CHLI's 10-year anniversary reception in November 2013.
Jeb Bush, mentoring the leaders of tomorrow.
One such leader of tomorrow will accept Jeb's award on his behalf. His son and namesake, Jeb Jr. Jeb Jr., by the way, is already a leader in his own right in South Florida, and it is an honor to have him here with us.
So tonight...is all about the future.
The present is worrisome. Many actions being taken in the present, are turbid in nature. How can we describe what we witnessed in Panama last month? There are two regions in the world that have a "democracy requirement" for membership and participation in their regional structures and organisms. Europe and the Western Hemisphere. Tonight we are honored by the presence of the Ambassadors from democratic Spain and democratic Greece. I remember how important it was that the European Union (then known as the European Economic Community) insisted on democracy in those countries, on the end of the military dictatorships, before Spain, Greece and Portugal could join the European Union and its institutions.
The Western Hemisphere has a similar democratic requirement. The organic, formative document of Interamerican law, the Charter of the Organization of American States, of 1948, states in its Chapter II, Article III, Section D, " The solidarity of the American States and the high aims which are sought through it require the political organization of those States on the basis of the effective exercise of representative democracy;" ("La solidaridad de los Estados americanos y los altos fines que con ella se persiguen, requieren la organización política de los mismos sobre la base del ejercicio efectivo de la democracia representativa.")
There were coups d'état in many countries in this hemisphere, but, as the decades passed, the democracy requirement was being met, almost everywhere in our hemisphere.
In 2001 the Democratic Charter was adopted, specifying the steps which are to be taken to sanction and even exclude governments in countries where democracy has been violated.
So what did the Hemisphere do last month in Panama? Unconditionally and with open arms, it welcomed a 56-year old, brutal military dictatorship into the Interamerican system.
Not only was the democracy requirement violated, but what will the hemisphere be able to say and do to oppose any dictatorship in the future?
What we witnessed in Panama was illegal, and shameful.
So, yes, we at CHLI seek to help form future generations of leaders, in the hope that they will respect the basic principles and tenets of the law, and respect themselves.