Following the fourth Summit of the Americas in Playa del Mar, Argentina, President George W. Bush visited Brazil. He said that the U.S. and Brazil "share the conviction that the future of our hemisphere must be a future of justice and freedom." But, he said, "In many parts of this hemisphere, drug lords, and terrorists, and common criminal gangs corrupt democratic societies":
"When these groups are more powerful than the state, there can be no social justice. So the United States is working with the government of Mexico to stop the smugglers who traffic everything from guns to human beings. We are also helping President [Alvaro] Uribe and the Colombian people defeat the cocaine cartels and narco-terrorists. We're providing money to help honest farmers grow legitimate crops".
Mr. Bush says that the U.S. is working with others "to stop terrorist organizations from using this hemisphere as a base to launder money and to provide support for their operations across the globe":
"By protecting the people of the Americas from those who operate outside the law we strengthen democracy, we promote social justice, and we make prosperity more likely. Citizens who live in fear for their lives because of drug lords, and terrorists, and criminal gangs are not free citizens. So we must continue to work for the day that all citizens can count on their governments to protect them from criminals, and advance the peace and stability that can only come from freedom."
In many parts of Latin America, says Mr. Bush, "institutions of a free society are still young, and they are fragile." The U.S. and others he says must ensure that new democracies "are strong for the tasks ahead."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.