Leaders from abroad traveled to San Salvador on 15 December 1992 to join in the National Reconciliation Day ceremonies marking full demobilization from E1 Salvador’s civil war. The ceremonies included speeches by Salvadoran president Alfredo Cristiani and by Jorge Shafik Handal, representing the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). Passages from each address appear below:
Cristiani: Today, 15 December 1992, is a historic date for the Salvadoran people and a decisive milestone in the regional pacification process after more than ten years of polarization and conflict. The Salvadoran conflict, a product of a series of longtime deficiencies, was stained by the aggressive colors of the defunct East-West confrontation. Fortunately, national, regional, and international conditions merged at a given moment to make feasible a political solution to the warlike conflict that formally concluded with the signing of the peace agreements in Chapultepec on 16 January 1992.
Now, 11 months later, we have reached this special moment in the process that ends the period called the armed confrontation. We are now moving on to a new phase in which there is only one way open to settle political differences: political institutionality. . . .
We need to note the way the FMLN is assuming its own challenges and responsibilities in its historic demand to become a strictly political group, which has to enter democracy with all the responsibilities such a decision entails and represents. . . . At last we are gathered, all the men and women of this society, around a common project: the democratization of our institutions.
Handal: Today, we mark the end of the armed conflict. . . . The accomplishments made up until today are substantial. We have based our decision to terminate the existence of our army and attend this ceremony on those accomplishments. A basic reform of the constitution was undertaken, clearly placing military power under the democratically
elected civilian government. . . .
The FMLN aspires to reconcile with the renewed Armed Forces for the sake of stability, peace, and democracy. . . .
A new electoral code was approved and will serve as the basis for the 1994 general elections. . . . On December 14, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal ordered the legal registration of the FMLN and gave it political party status.
We have now ended the armed peace and are beginning the civic, political struggle, which marks even more significant progress. . . . Fellow countrymen, two centuries from now, even two millennia from now, this hour of history will been seen as crucial.
Negotiations to end Mozambique’s civil war concluded in Rome on 4 October 1992 as the government and the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) signed the General Peace Accord, which contains seven protocols and four other documents agreed upon over a three-year period. Eleven days later, on October 15, Mozambique’s Assembly of the Republic approved the Accord. Excerpts from Protocol V dealing with the elections process appear below:
The elections for the Assembly of the Republic and for President of the Republic shall be held simultaneously, one year after the date of signature of the General Peace Accord. . . .
Not later than signature of the General Peace Accord, the Government will . . . request technical and material support from the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity.
The Government will draft the Elections Law in consultation with RENAMO and with the other parties during a period not to exceed two months beginning on the day after adoption by the Assembly of the Republic of the legal instruments that incorporate the protocols and guarantees, as well as the General Peace Accord, into Mozambican law.
. . . Not later than 60 days following signature of the General Peace Accord, the Government and RENAMO will agree on the observers to be invited for the elections process.
On 18 December 1992, longtime opposition leader Kim Young Sam, who in 1990 had merged his forces with the ruling party of President Roh Toe Woo to form the new Democratic Liberal Party, was elected president of South Korea. An excerpt from his inaugural address of 24
February 1993 appears below:
Today, we gather here to open a new era of democracy under civilian government, the climax of our long and tireless pursuit. We have had to wait for this moment for 30 long years. At last, we have established a government by the people and of the people of this land. The Government that is coming into being today has its foundation in the burning desire and great sacrifices of the people for democracy.
Standing before our National Assembly, I am deeply moved. For this has long been the scene of my difficult and passionate struggle for democracy. The Korean people truly are a great people, and I extend my deep gratitude to you. May the glory of our nation be with you forever. Today, I join you all in paying tribute to those who nobly sacrificed themselves in the struggle for democracy and thus cannot be with us today.
On 20 November 1992, Chakufwa Chihana, an imprisoned trade union and human rights activist from Malawi, was awarded the 1992 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. His wife Christina received the award on his behalf and presented his acceptance speech, excerpts from which appear below:
For me and my fellow Malawians and many others struggling for human rights, justice, and freedom, this award could hardly have been more timely than it is now. For we are now living in an era that calls for both ideas and action to place the question of human rights and decency on a more solid foundation. In my view, democracy is one of the greatest achievements of human civilization. All times and all countries have known people who have risen up selflessly and tirelessly in its defense. From Robert F. Kennedy and many great Americans, we draw inspiration and are hence committed to believe that democracy means more than simply the rule of the majority. It means an impeccable commitment to human dignity and the inalienable rights of the human race. These are not the possessions of the state; they are universal and equally applicable here in the United States, Malawi, and everywhere else.
One by one, the citadels of authoritarianism and dictatorship are collapsing everywhere in the world. We are more than ready to take the challenges before us. With your support, and indeed the support of many others across the world, we will continue to advance the momentous movement toward greater freedom, justice, and democracy.