Jimmy Carter speaks at Lafayette
By Michael Kelley '14 & Ben Brown '14
Published: Monday, April 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 22:04
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter spoke at Lafayette this afternoon and highlighted four points of change that he hopes to one day see in America: peace, human rights, environmentalism, and promotion of democracy.
“I would like our country to have a reputation as a champion of peace,” Carter said to the crowd gathered on the Quad. “I think that’s one of the characteristics of a superpower.”
Since the end of World War II, Carter said, the United States has been at war with dozens of countries. A veteran of WWII and the Korean War, Carter expressed concern over America’s reluctance to make a formal peace treaty with North Korea. Instead, the U.S., he claimed, has been clinging to a 60 year-old cease-fire agreement.
“It’s a very paranoid country,” Carter said of North Korea. “They honestly believe the United States wants to attack them.”
According to Carter, the U.S. is not fully compliant with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 in Palais de Chaillot, Paris.
“The United States at this moment is violating 10 of the 30 paragraphs of the [Universal] Declaration [of Human Rights].”
Carter went on to discuss how half of the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay detention camp have never been tried or accused, but will remain in prison the rest of their lives.
The 39th President of the United States also voiced his concerns for the environment, saying there has not been a champion of the environment since George H.W. Bush.
Carter categorized global warming as “the greatest overall threat to human society” today.
Carter hopes to see America become “a champion of a pure democracy where everyone feels confident in our government.”
“I thought it was fantastic,” Student Government Treasurer Connor Heinlein ‘15 said of the speech. “I really appreciate hearing optimism from world leaders. I think I have a renewed sense of optimism as far as what he talks about the difficult decisions that politicians need to make today.”
Introducing Carter was his former National Security Advisor Robert Pastor ‘69. Pastor was responsible for advising Carter on issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, namely the dictatorship of Fidel Castro in Cuba.
“The same kind of dreams that Bob Pastor had when he was a student here and he’s brought back here with his wife to bless this country again through this small college, that can be the heartbeat of democracy, freedom, and human rights in the future.”