For Immediate Release May 6, 1997
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Mexico City, Mexico)
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
IN EXCHANGE OF TOASTS
Mexico City, Mexico
10:09 P.M. (L)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Mr. President, Mrs. Zedillo, members of
the Mexican Cabinet and other distinguished public servants, citizens of
Mexico, on behalf of Hillary, on all the members of our delegation, from the
administration and the Congress, I, first, thank you for the graciousness and
warmth with which you have welcomed us.
We live side by side as neighbors. We work together day in
and day out as partners. But the warmth of your reception has reminded us
today that we are also close friends.
Just before the dinner began, President and Mrs. Zedillo took
Hillary and me to see the magnificent murals of Diego Rivera that adorn this
great palace. They are very moving works. Along with the paintings of Orozco
and Siqueiros, they represent the peak of artistic achievement in this century
and one of the many contributions of Mexico to the culture of the world.
Anyone who has seen it knows that the power of Rivera's "Epic of the Mexico
People in Their Struggle for Freedom and Independence" comes from more than
mere technical skill. In this grand work we see the proud spirit of Mexico's
revolution and Mexico's heart.
Instantly, I saw Rivera's extraordinary love of the Mexican
people, the same passion which then and now inspires Mexico's journey toward a
better and freer society. Rivera never actually finished his "Epic," and
perhaps that is fitting because the journey of every nation to increase the
freedom of its people, the labor at the very heart of democracy, never ends.
I am delighted to be in Mexico at another time when
this struggle is making a dramatic stride forward. Mexico's
leaders and political parties are opening the doors of democracy
wider than ever. New citizen groups have sown the seeds of a
vibrant civil society that promises to deliver to all Mexicans a
better and freer future.
Mr. President, you reminded us that it was in this
palace where Benito Juarez corresponded with Abraham Lincoln.
Our President, Mr. Lincoln, who many of us consider to be our
greatest President, called in the United States in his time for a
new birth of freedom. The murals here remind us here that the
birth of freedom is more than a matter of improving our political
systems. We must also strive to see that our citizens are free
from want and hunger, free from the dangers our new age brings,
and free to make the most of their own lives.
The partnership we seek with Mexico is one that will
advance that kind of freedom -- here and throughout the Americas.
We want to work together to lay the foundation of an enduring
prosperity. We want to join together to improve the air and
water we share. We want to work to turn our border into a region
of growth, to defeat disease, to defeat the threat of drugs,
organized crime, and corruption.
Mr. President, we can succeed because we have forged
a relationship as broad and deep as that which exists between any
two nations. And today, we have made important progress. We are
answering the demands of our time, advancing the common goals of
our people, serving a friendship that is at the heart of what we
all want for our future. In so doing, we honor the legacy of
Benito Juarez and Abraham Lincoln and the constant quest for a
new birth of freedom.
Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you now to join with me
in toasting President and Mrs. Zedillo and their family, to
partnership of our nations and the new day of freedom it will
bring to the friends and neighbors of our shared continent.
(The toast is offered.) (Applause.)
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