Secretary of State George Shultz lashed out at Nicaragua's leftist government and urged Latin America to sharpen its attack on drug trafficking in a speech believed to be his final major policy address abroad.
Shultz, who will be replaced in President-elect George Bush's Cabinet by former Treasury Secretary James Baker, spoke Monday at the general assembly conference of the Organization of American States in San Salvador, capital of war-torn El Salvador.For nearly eight years the administration of President Reagan has supported the government of El Salvador against a leftist insurgency while also backing rightist Contra rebels against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
That policy was fostered by Shultz who replaced Alexander Haig as secretary of state during Reagan's first four-year term.
"I must be frank. This organization has not always been out front on issues concerning democracy. No one is fooled by empty promises," Shultz said.
He lashed out at the Sandinistas for failing to fulfill promises to bring democracy to Nicaragua.
"I need not remind members of this organization that commitments to a pluralistic political system were made by Nicaragua to this body long ago in 1979. Those earliest commitments have not yet been fulfilled," Shultz said.
"The dictatorships and totalitarian nations must be told that they are not free to subjugate their peoples," Shultz said.
On another issue, Shultz cited the combined $420 billion foreign debt of Latin American nations and said the United States will "continue to seek to help debtor countries to manage the debt and implement changes."
"The answer to the debt problem is development and economic growth," Shultz said. "We intend to continue to keep our markets open for the goods and services of expanding Latin American nations."
He called drug consumption "a pervasive evil."