On Wednesday, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes made his first speech before the United Nations General Assembly, during which he discussed some of his administration’s accomplishments in its first 100 days, ongoing issues such as insecurity and immigration, and El Salvador’s foreign policy objectives.
Unity was a theme throughout Funes’ speech. At home, Funes declared that national decisions are no longer made within the confines of four walls, rather around a national table in which all sectors have a seat. He also called for greater unity amongst members of the international community to address issues such as climate change, drug trafficking and organized crime.
President Funes also called for greater unity within the Central American region, stating that building stronger ties with El Salvador’s neighbors is a top priority of his administration. He also called for the interim government in Honduras to return ousted-President Zelaya to power, stating that the region cannot return to its history of military dictators.
President Funes also highlighted some of his administration’s successes since taking office on June 1, 2009, including the creation of a new Economic and Social Council, and a housing initiative that will provide 25,000 new homes to impoverished families and create 100,000 new jobs. He also raised concerns about immigration, pointing out that 3 million Salvadorans live abroad and their remittances count for 18% of El Salvador’s economy. Funes said that his administration will work to improve conditions in El Salvador so that their children do not have to leave to survive. At the same time, they will fight for the rights of the 3 million immigrants living abroad so that they will enjoy the right to vote in their native country, and are able to secure appropriate documentation from their host country.
Funes also used his moment on the international stage to address charges made during the presidential campaign that if elected his party and government would lead to economic and political instability. He argued that his administration has already demonstrated that they are serious and responsible; managing the country’s finances well; and creating a secure environment for foreign and domestic businesses.
To read his speech in its entirety, click here.