/ADVANCE/ SOUTH BEND, Ind., April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Roberto C. Goizueta, chairman of The Coca-Cola Company, Sunday lauded the rise of democratic institutions throughout Latin America and challenged the region's new generation of business leaders to be at the vanguard of the movement toward hemispheric cooperation and free trade.
"The only way we can convert the opportunities of liberty into reality is by embracing our responsibilities," Mr. Goizueta said in a keynote address to kick off Project Latin America 2000, a five-year public policy program created jointly by The Coca-Cola Company and Notre Dame University's Kellogg Institute for International Studies.
Taking note of the forces that have shaped the post-Cold War era, Mr. Goizueta said that, "Democratic capitalism -- the combination of government by the people and a free market economy -- is no longer just another ideological choice. Instead, democratic capitalism has been chosen by the world's people as the umbrella under which to feed, clothe, educate and better themselves."
Mr. Goizueta made his remarks to an audience of nearly 200 key government officials, businessmen, union leaders, journalists, scholars and clergymen -- what the chairman called "the bright and shining future of Latin America" -- who traveled to Notre Dame to participate in the first of a series of conferences and forums that will explore the challenges of development facing the region.
The principal issues to be examined over the five-year program include free trade, the environment, ethics, poverty, social policies, human rights, U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America, and the construction of effective democratic government institutions.
Mr. Goizueta warned that there were still many obstacles to the growth of democracy and urged the new generation of business leaders in particular to recognize this fragility and redouble their commitment to economic, social and political stability and growth.
In a highly personalized message, the chairman took note of his parents' Spanish ancestry and of his own childhood in Havana. "I am Cuban. I am Latin American. I am one of you ... a son of Latin America who deeply desires the best future for his family.
"As precious as our accomplishments of these recent years have been, they will not sustain us ... Business must forge true partnerships with government," Mr. Goizueta said, but he added this does not mean "nationalized companies and central planning."
"The role of government is to organize society in a way that best meets the needs of its people," he said. "The role of private business, on the other hand, is to drive economic growth ... The benefits are obvious -- jobs, quality products, capital, expertise, technology, human resources, significant tax revenues."
Pointing to The Coca-Cola Company's own extensive business experience in Latin America, Mr. Goizueta stressed the importance of hemispheric integration in light of the global movement toward regional trade agreements such as those being forged in North America, Europe and parts of Asia.
The ability of Latin America to nurture a fair and secure business environment is crucial to the ability of global companies to allocate resources effectively, he said.
"When we make those decisions," Mr. Goizueta said, "we do not simply compare one Latin American country with another. We do not simply compare Mexico with Brazil, or Venezuela with Peru. We compare every Latin American country with Japan, Germany, Taiwan, Korea, Poland, India -- and all of the nearly 200 other countries where we do business.
"Ultimately, regional alliances and hemispheric integration will help bring Latin Americans a greater variety of quality products at the best prices possible. This is good for business, good for the economy, and good for society," the chairman said.
The $4 million Project Latin America 2000 developed by The Coca-Cola Company and the Kellogg Institute is designed to provide a significant and constructive vehicle for Latin America to continue its debate about its future. In addition to twice-yearly conferences and forums like the initial meetings at Notre Dame, the five-year program will underwrite a lecture series, research initiatives, the distribution of project discussions through videotapes and major national television networks, and the award of 15 four-year graduate fellowships at Kellogg to candidates from Latin America who display exceptional leadership capabilities.
REMARKS BY ROBERTO C. GOIZUETA
AT PROJECT LATIN AMERICA 2000
APRIL 18, 1993
NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY
"Good evening. On behalf of the Kellogg Institute and The Coca-Cola Company, welcome to Project Latin America 2000.
"Several weeks ago, I saw the list of attendees and was very impressed. But seeing you here tonight ... seeing you face-to-face ... together ... hammers home the true importance of this gathering. You ... and those sitting around you tonight ... are the bright and shining future of Latin America. You are not just today's leaders ... you are the creators of tomorrow ... you are the ones who will lead us well into the next century.
"I am honored to open the first of these conferences. As you know, my name is Roberto Goizueta. I am the son of Crispulo Goizueta and Aida Cantera de Goizueta ... born 61 years ago in the city of Havana. Navarro from my father's side and Asturiano from my mother's. But I am Cuban. I am Latin American. I am one of you.
"And I speak to you tonight not as a well-wishing outsider ... but as a member of the family ... a son of Latin America who deeply desires the best future for his 'family' ... the family of more than 450 million people, extending from the tiny towns of Tierra del Fuego to the city streets of Miami, Los Angeles and New York.
"And how is our family today? What kind of shape is our house in? The answer is encouraging ... but very far from certain. After enduring the difficult years of a Lost Decade, we find ourselves in the early days of a Silent Revolution ... a metamorphosis as profound in its actual effects as anything that has transpired in the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe ... a transfiguration that many of you in this room have helped to spark.
"We did not have a wall of concrete to dance upon as we tore it down. No, our walls fell silently ... with no dramatic television images tailor-made for CNN to beam around the world.
"In fact, it has been the peaceful nature of our revolution that has made it so astonishing and so real. Violent revolution makes for exciting television -- orderly progression does not. So -- with some nagging exceptions -- we are witnessing powerful change ... watching the reshaping of South and Central America for the better ... turning our aspirations into actual accomplishments.
"The progress has been inspiring, even a bit intoxicating. But looking into your faces, I see the clear eyes of savvy realists ... wise leaders who know that nothing is certain ... leaders who know that danger lurks in virtually every corner of the hemisphere. Each of you understands that, while our steps forward have been substantial, our stumbles and missteps have been just as real.
"We all know that our journey has only just begun. Momentum can suddenly turn against us, and our progress of recent years, if it is not nurtured and expanded, could easily turn to dust.
"That is why we are gathered here on this proud campus. Today, we begin Project Latin America 2000 ... a program that will help the leaders of Latin America share ideas and work together on the issues that will shape our collective future.
"Over the next five years, a group such as this will come together twice annually. At the heart of these gatherings will be a panel discussion similar to tomorrow morning's session. This discussion will offer a forum that currently does not exist anywhere ... a forum for candid, high-level discussion of the most crucial issues facing our part of the world ... discussion among those most capable of leading our people through these issues.
"And the benefits will not be limited simply to the participants. The benefits will radiate throughout the hemisphere ... as major television networks will broadcast these discussions to millions.
"And, while I think these gatherings could have truly historic impact, they are just one of this program's three primary thrusts. The other two thrusts come in the educational arena ... and that is where our hosts here at the Kellogg Institute will play an especially important role.
"Many of the issues that we will tackle through this program will -- in the final analysis -- boil down to the core issue of education. Through the scholars program and the fellows program, we believe we are making tangible contributions to the progress of education in Latin America. I think time will prove us correct, as we watch these professors and students go on to provide great benefits to our societies.
"Now that I have given you our vision for what Project Latin America 2000 will be, let me do what I have been asked to do: give you my perspective on Latin America.
"Yes, I am one of the family. But please understand that I offer my perspective not as a geopolitical guru or renowned statesman. I sell Coca-Cola ... and it is from that perspective that I see everything. I am a businessman. I lead a Company that competes in nearly 200 countries around the world ... a Company that operates as the world's most truly global enterprise.
"And when we look at our business, we look at the entire world. Over the last few years, that world has been subjected to widespread, radical change. Indeed, today we see a world that is still recoiling from the sudden demise of communism in the former Soviet Union ... the end of the most colossal economic mismanagement in the history of mankind. Cold War polarity -- the only global structure many of us ever knew -- has disintegrated right before our eyes.
"We heard talk of a 'New World Order,' and then the world's snipers, arsonists and looters seriously tempered our optimism. In essence, we -- as global citizens -- had dreamed of a day when Cold War politics no longer dominated the planet. Then, when that day finally came, we were not quite sure what to do.
"Now, as some time has passed and the air has become clearer, I think we can see that four primary forces are reshaping our world. Much like the laws of nature, these forces are not sustained by institutions, but by reality ... by the wills and desires of the more than five billion people who inhabit this planet.
"The first of these prevailing forces dictates that democratic capitalism -- the combination of government by the people and a free- market economy -- is no longer just another ideological choice.
"Instead, democratic capitalism has been chosen by the world's people as the umbrella under which to feed, clothe, educate and better themselves. Around the world -- and especially in our hemisphere -- we are seeing that the only stable combination of economic and political systems is capitalism coupled with democracy.
"Evidence seems to indicate that capitalism without true democracy can exist for a longer period of time than democracy can subsist without capitalism -- Chile is a good example of the former, and the defunct Soviet Union of the latter. For sustained stability, however, both the capitalistic economic system and the democratic form of government must join hands.
"I think President Gorbachev's single biggest mistake, and the one largely responsible for his sudden demise, was that he unleashed democratic forces without also unleashing an economy that was being strangled by centralized ownership and control of production. Closer to home, on the other hand, we saw how the Chileans came together to create new stability by making a successful transition to democratic capitalism.
"Our second prevailing force is the compelling human desire for self-determination, which will continue to localize governmental authority ... narrowing governmental jurisdiction to the smallest area of ethnic, social or religious commonality. Some governments will break into distinct parts, while others will simply restructure themselves into loose confederations. We are seeing this happening right before our eyes in Eastern Europe.
"The third force is the increased recognition of the ability of business to invest capital efficiently and to be the most effective provider of the goods and services needed by the people. Private investment is now surpassing governmental regulation as the most influential element of all economic dynamics ... driving the global movement toward regional trade alliances.
"So our second and third forces -- the desire for self-determination and the recognition of business as the principle economic provider -- are creating an interesting environment. We hear people cry out for a government that is local ... and then we hear these same people cry out for access to the products and capital of an economy that is global. On the surface, those two demands seem contradictory. But -- as events are proving -- they are highly compatible ... and they are creating structures and alliances our world has never seen before.
"The second and third forces are also helping unleash our fourth prevailing force. This force heartens me most ... and it is the most powerful of them all. It is this: Those institutions that best understand and satisfy the needs of the people are ones that will thrive and prosper. This has always been a simple tenet of American business, but now it is a global law that applies to governments and social institutions as well.
"What do these four forces mean for Latin America?
"At the bottom line, I think they mean this: We must press on. As precious as our accomplishments of these recent years have been, they will not sustain us. Our journey has only begun. We have mounted the horse of liberty ... and the ride -- I can assure you -- will not be smooth. Mario Vargas Llosa put it quite well when he said, 'Liberty, that nutritious fountain of the best that has happened to man and his dearest wish, is also an abyss into which he can roll and perish.'
"So how do we keep ourselves from perishing? How do we equip ourselves for this journey? How do we remount the horse each day and ride onward?
"In my mind, the answer is this: Business must forge true partnerships with government. By 'partnership,' I do not mean nationalized companies and central planning. I mean a relationship in which each partner understands and fulfills its own distinct role ... while at the same time respecting the role of the other.
"What are those distinct roles? In my mind, they are very clear. The role of government is to organize society in a way that best meets the needs of its people. The role of private business, on the other hand, is to drive economic growth. When we all acknowledge the reality of these roles, good things happen. When government limits its involvement with the economy to creating a supportive, fair and ethical environment in which businesses can operate, society benefits.
"I have just returned from spending several days in Eastern Europe, and the people I met there are happy to have government finally circumscribing to play its appropriate role. Why? Because they have lived through tragic consequences of a centralized planned economy. Because they know the results when the government controls the production capability of a country. Because they understand the benefits that private businesses bring to their countries. Those benefits are tangible and obvious: jobs ... quality products ...