Miami, 4 mar. (SNE).- What follows is the speech pronounced by President Uribe during his visit to the South Command of the United States of America:

“I want to express, in the name of the people of Colombia, our gratitude for all the efforts you have made for our country. It has been a great experience to have the opportunity to speak with General Hill and with many of you in order to strengthen the bonds between Colombia and the United States, and to fortify this alliance to defeat terrorism and narcotics and to improve democracy.

In South America, we consider that danger comes from terrorism, drugs, and radical populism.

In Colombia, we count with excellent people, a solid Constitution, a feeling and a reality of democracy, but we have the presence of terrorists that finance themselves with illegal drugs.

Our problem is an international problem. Our problem is financed by an international business: narcotics.

The principal reason of my gratitude towards you is because many people speak about Colombia’s necessities, but few convert their wishes in practice. You are our practical partner.

Our duty is to strengthen democracy for the youngest and the coming generations, so we can live in peace and fraternity, without drugs, and without the risk of being killed by terrorist actions.

We are confronting the most dangerous group of bandits of the world. They began as a guerrilla 60 years ago, but converted into terrorists. They went from idealistic objectives to personal businesses. They believe they are powerful, but they defy with arms the State of Law. That arrogance, based on delinquent attitudes, must de defeated. And the best way to do it is with our determination.

Let me express our gratitude and reiterate our determination to make the Colombian democracy much stronger.

United States has fought many battles around the world. The battle against terrorism and drugs that we live in Colombia is the most noble of all the battles you have fought.

We have one determination and one aspiration: to save our people from terrorism.

Thank you.”