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TEDxPuraVida – Oscar Arias – Oportunidades perdidas:el gasto militar en Latinoamérica (Spanish)

Dr Oscar Arias Sánchez Lost Opportunities : Military Spending in Latin America Friends: I am here because the organizers of this event wanted it to be inaugurated by the biggest nerd in Costa Rica… but Franklin Chang could only speak at eleven thirty. So they asked me to do it, because I also meet some of the requirements. My good friend, Roberto Sasso, assured me that the auditorium would be filled with nerds like he and myself. But there are people here who are far too good looking. This means one of two things: either Roberto was wrong, or we are improving as a social species. If this is how nerds are looking nowadays, I think I must be the missing link in the evolutionary chain. I see that I am several months older than you. About 400 or 500 months. But that is irrelevant. A person is as old as his or her ideas. When it comes down to chasing exciting ideas, I could be the twin brother of the youngest person with us here today. t is from that youth of thought, where the strength for change is born, that I want to address you this morning. I have come here to speak about Latin America. I have come here to speak about the crazy cousin of humanity. I have come here to speak about that region which, as someone once said, could turn Kafka into a traditionalist. One cannot find a sliver of land in this world that is more filled with prodigies and contradictions. One cannot find a spot in this world where universal writers and illiterate peasants, political statesmen and military dictators, rich charlatans and poor intellectuals, puritan souls and unredeemable partiers, can live together in such disorder. We were born in the center of a cup which decants the best and the worst of the nectars of our species. This makes us prone to the absurd, but it also makes us sensitive to miracles. Because Latin America is infinitely diverse, that its possibilities are also endless. magine, for an instant, what our region would be like if we gave more power to programmers and designers, instead of to colonels and generals. If we allotted our resources to buying more books and computers, instead of more missiles and war tanks. If instead of high walls and fenced gates, our borders shared high-tension cables or fiber optic networks. If instead of repeating in our schools the eternal history of our war campaigns, our young students had the opportunity to attend conferences like this one. magine that Latin America of which I speak, desire it, want it… and roll up your sleeves, because it’s up to us to build it. I believe that all of us here are chasing the same utopia: that of a region where development reaches the majority of the population; where all young people complete, at the very least, their secondary education; where each and every inhabitant has internet access and a mobile phone; where there is enough work for everyone and a universal health care system; where crime doesn’t rob us of hope; where poverty is no longer the bane of our people; where environmental degradation doesn’t threaten to erase the traces of human existence. We are far from reaching that utopia. 42% of the world’s firearm homicides that occur each year occur in Latin America. a place where less than 10% of the world population lives. One out of three young Latin Americans never sets foot in a secondary school classroom, and only one in ten manages to enroll in a university. As a result, our young people spend, on average, a meager 8 years in school. A third of the population in Latin America currently lives in poverty. Women and children bear the brunt of this scourge, hich has its roots in the tremendous failure of our governments to reap the fruits of democracy, and raise the standard of living of our people. Around 66% of the world’s loss in forest coverage that took place during the XXIst century, occurred in Latin America, which has also been a victim of the terrible consequences of climate change. We are the most unequal region of the planet. Thousands of people in our nations die each year due to preventable diseases. Only a fraction of our inhabitants know how to use the internet. Our democracies are weak. Our innovation is stunted. But even though our past is a collection of missed opportunities, we are not a failed region. f there is something that Latin America does have, it’s potential. Achieving that potential requires money. I have come here to tell you where we can get it. There is a savings account in the bank of time. A sum which until now we have not wished to touch: Latin American military expenditure. Last year, countries in the region allotted around 60 billion dollars to their armies. That is the cost of war. But, what would happen if we spent those resources differently? What would happen if we turned the costs of war into the dividends of peace? If Latin American countries reduced their military spending by half, they could increase their investment in research and development by 1% of their Gross Domestic Product. In the case of certain countries such as El Salvador or Ecuador, this increase could be far greater. But perhaps we might think that cutting military spending in half is too much. In that case, if Latin American countries reduced their spending on weapons and soldiers by a quarter, they would have enough resources to buy 150 million computers from the One Laptop per Child program. If they do this, a computer could be given to each and every child that is currently in the schooling system. But perhaps we still might think that cutting military spending by a quarter is also exagerated. In that case, if Latin American countries reduced their spending on weapons and soldiers by 10%, here would be enough money to install free WiFi in the main cities of our region, enhancing opportunities for our people, who live mostly in urban areas. And if you think a tenth is too much, I’m here to tell you that if Latin American countries reduced their military expenditure by just 5%, it would still be enough to grant scholarships, such as the ones from the “Avancemos” program that my government introduced, for one year to 3 million young people. If they restrained themselves from buying just one armed helicopter, thousands of schoolchildren could be fed throughout their primary education. If they restrained themselves from buying just one combat airplane, they could protect dozens of square kilometers of forest. And if they stopped paying the salary of just one of their soldiers, they could pay the salary of at least one English teacher. These are the dividends of peace. This is what Latin America would gain if it stopped betting on the Russian roulette of military spending. have been speaking about this incessantly for 25 years. have been speaking for 25 years to ears that don’t want to listen. Some may say that it’s not worth continuing the fight. But I assure you that conditions have changed. 25 years ago, it was not possible for the average citizen to start up a blog on any given day, or to have that blog become even more widely read than a newspaper or a magazine. It was not possible to create a Facebook group and convene, in a matter of weeks, 3 million people to rally around a proposal. It was not possible to turn a home video into a world-wide sensation. This is the world that made Susan Boyle famous, Yes. Susan Boyle. With the power of a click. This is the world where Wikipedia has practically displaced encyclopedias, which for centuries had dictated the official word of thought. This is the world where any person can follow, Physics or Calculus courses for free from MIT, the most prestigious technological university in the planet, without having to budge from their living room. Never before have normal people, who are neither presidents nor generals nor managers nor directors, had so much power. This is why I think there is hope. Because we have voice and muscle. Because we have the capacity to pressure for concrete and immediate actions. A mobile phone, an ipod, a computer, they are all powerful tools for change. Paraphrasing Khalil Gibran, today I ask you use these tools not to kill time. Let us use them to live it. To make a difference. To build even a splinter of the world we have always dreamt of. For if technology has made normal people powerful, it must also make them responsible. From the moment you are able to speak out against oppression and injustice, you have the duty to do so, and you also have the duty to contribute to the ethical progress of humanity. This millennium began with the most devastating terrorist attack, followed by a unilaterally declared war, and an economic crisis born from greed. It is obvious that a more interconnected world isn’t necessarily a more fair or humane world. Values don’t live in a laptop’s hard drive. They don’t come in mp3 format or in a new Twitter application. For that, there is only the human heart. There is only kindness and courage. The second decade of this century deserves more of what we have been able to build up to now, and less of what we have been unable to avoid. It is our task to give our region, and our planet, a new opportunity. Friends: Human history is written as a draft. This is why it is a history plagued with crossed out bits and pieces, enseless phrases, repeated words and un-ended paragraphs. I don’t know how many times throughout the course of history someone has written the phrase “and we will live peacefully ever after…”. But even though this phrase has been erased countless times from the human notebook, even though we don’t yet have a chapter without war and madness, in the centuries and centuries that we have lived in this piece of the universe, there is nothing to stop us from regaining our sanity. Nothing stops us from finally learning how to write, on a clean slate, the words of peace. Indeed, reality has changed. This event is proof of it. If the nerds of the world can become good looking; if a president can learn how to use Youtube and how to Google at the age of sixty; if a group of young people can gather to ponder upon ideas that are worth spreading, then we are better off than we were at the beginning. Then we do have a reason to believe that we are capable of building a wonderful world. Where weapons don’t the resources that human beings deserve. Where intelligence is used to promote the sustainable development of peoples. Where technology gives people more and more power, and where people understand the immense responsibility that this power entails. We should not forget the beautiful words of Margaret Mead when she said: “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, t’s the only thing that ever has.” It is in your hands that the power to build utopia rests. Thank you very much.

  • Excelente discurso! Ojala lo pusieramos en practica.
    Han pensado en mandarle el link por twitter a @chavezcandanga? Seria util que lo escuchara.

  • Una charla un poco salida del esquema usual de TED, sin embargo, una charla dada no por el expresidente de Costa Rica. Es la charla de un enamorado de Latinoamerica y el potencial que nos invade

  • Don Oscar estos oidos si quieren escuchar
    y han tratado de exparsir su mensaje por Europa
    Saludos al mejor presidente que ha tenido mi pais

  • Seguro que es el ignorante y blasfemo de Daniel Ortega hablando. Costa Rica siempre se sentirá orgulloso de un estadista como Don Oscar.

  • Yo no soy Costarricense. Pero sí soy LatinoAmericano. Personalmente, creo que deberíamos ser más los que escuchásemos y tratásemos de llevar a cabo tal mensaje. El potencial de Latinoamerica es enorme.

  • ¡Claro! Costa Rica no necesita ejército porque E.E.U.U. responde por ella. Hay que admitir que Costa Rica en una Puerto Rico encubierta. Habría que ver que hizo Oscar Arias para revertir las estadísticas que enumera.

  • Qué dijo del medio ambiente?? Cuando aprueba perforaciones petroleras y minería a cielo abierto?? Oportuniades para jóvenes?? …No oportunidades para sus amigos políticos con concesiones y puestos..

  • Hasta ahora accedo a TEDx, pero ya perdió toda mi credibilidad, este demagogo "vendepatrias" es el que nos tiene sumidos en una crisis histórica, el hombre habla de paz, pero tras su gobierno solo quedo una brecha social sin parámetros desde la fundación de la segunda república, que solo ha traído pobreza y como consecuencia, delincuencia y de la mano un incremento significativo de la violencia…

  • @metalskateyJESUS: eres un imbecil. Y por mulas como tu latino america sigue pobre. Dale, crece un poco y reconoce q solo con mas lideres igual a Arias llegaremos a ver el Latinoamerica q quieremos.

  • Viva el ejercito, viva la guerra… desearia ver las partes volar por los aires, demote paso a un nuevo Hitler, con la misma filosofia que ese gran hombre, que inspiraba con sus palabras… que se notaba su pasion por su pais… A pesar qeu soy moreno, ese hombre sabe de filosofia, lean "Mi lucha" de Adolf Hitler… yo termine siguiendo esa ideologia muy en mi mente…

  • Y si en lugar de vivir la vida de otra persona, empezamos a escuchar el mensaje… Que lastima que en Costa Rica los primeros en "serrucharnos el piso", seamos nosotros mismos…

  • Que cansado con este estupido!! Me cansa, si hablara igual que ejerce, CR seria un excelente pais, pero es muy facil hablar, pero cuando las cosas se basan en plata, el HP se queda callada, HP, MP, callese y done parte de su dinero a ayudar alos que menos tienen en CR, reduzca su gasto para ayudar a los demas ya que tanto habla, Ud demolio el ejercito hace 500 anios, no sea ridiculo!!!

  • Aprovecho la oportunidad para cagarme en Oscagaria por cagarse en mi hermoso pais… Sapo cagon!!!!
    Oscar Arias es el ser mas falso y egolatra que vive en nuestras tierras….. Done lo que tiene….

  • oscar arias fue un buen gobernante… cuando fue precidente por primera vez. lo que se lo llevo la trampa fue rrrrrrrrrrrelegirse. por que los tiempos de ahora son mas dificiles. pero el es una de las personas mas sabias de costa rica y merece respeto.

  • Don Oscar merece respeto, sin el no estaría el programa Avancemos, el Estadio Nacional, la carreta como símbolo nacional, pensiones dignas para los ancianos, la carretera a Caldera y muchas otra buenas cosas. Muchas más que las que ha hecho Laura y las que hizo Abel Pacheco.

  • lo que usted menciona como logros son deberes de los gobernantes y no dude que podria a ver hecho mucho mas que lo que usted, menciona, y sobre lo de chinchilla le digo con todo respeto lo siguiente el objetivo primario de un partido politico es la planificacion estrategica a largo plazo y si este gobierno a echo lo que ha echo es culpa de todas las bases de su partido, el mismo al cual pertenece el señor Arias, PLN a estado en el gobierno 3 periodos medite bien lo que usted dice y piense mejor

  • Este bastardo Arias esta a punto de morir y NO se cansa de robarle al pueblo, no se sacia su sed de poder y dinero. Maldito se cago en
    Costa Rica.

  • Gracias a ud HP Arias es que nuestro pais es una mierda, gracias a malditos como usted que se enriquecen a costas del dolor humano, que no les importa la vida humana sino el poder y el dinero, gracial a hijos de puta como usted el mundo es una mierda.

  • Muchos ofenden a Oscar Arias, pero sin duda es el mejor presidente en los últimos 30 años, la desgracia de este país es otra, algún ser político en algún momento dijo que había q quebrar al bi – partidismo. Desgraciadamente eso hizo una mezcla inmanejable en la asamblea, para lo que es imposible gobernar, mas cuando se depende de un órgano para aprobar leyes. A los resentidos sociales que atacan a Don Oscar les digo que en muchas cosas puede que tengan razón, pero con ofender no logran nada.

  • Se oriento hacia América Latina y en general si tiene mucho sentido sus palabras pero se olvido que aquí en Costa Rica por un celular te quitan la vida, que en diciembre se corre al Walmark a comprar lo que no se puede pagar, que las clases sociales más bajas de nuestro país sufren las secuelas de su gobierno y de Liberación Nacional. Y que pasa con todo esto!? Tan facil como que el tico todo lo olvida con el tiempo, cuando llenamos la papeleta se nos olvida xq estamos votando!!


  • -.- Oscar Arias es de los mejores presidentes de Costa Rica, lastima que esto sea cierto. Lleno de palabras sin peso, palabras llenas de idealismos y no realismos. Me sienta mal que la politica externa del pais sean puras palabras sin profundidad. El concepto de disminuir el ingreso militar para la educacion es uno que incluso infantes pueden concebir. Las NGOs mencionadas son las mas socialmente conocidos que todos utilizan como referencias. Tantas possibilidades, tantas organizaciones que podria utilizar, y utiliza las mas 
    "main stream". Lo alabo por su iniciativa y por su rol en la busqueda de democracia y paz en la region, pero es hora de incentivar a otros de tomar un rol en la politica nacional e internacional para manejar conceptos y propuestas con verdadero valor y realismo que asimile el estado de la region. 

  • me gustia tener a mi lado a una persona como usted, como un consejero personal, con sus experiencias. palabras muy inspiradoras.

  • Palabras inspiradoras. Lastima que solo sean eso, palabras. Oscar Arias es uno de los peores presidentes de nuestra historia, pero a comparación de otros en el mundo es excelente, aunque usted no lo crea. El mundo está muy mal hoy 2015 casi 2016 pero aunque sean palabras huecas de Arias a ,í sí me llegaron y nos toca cambiar el mundo. Me alegra ser parte de CR y a pesar de sus tragi-comedias politicas es un gran país a comparación de otros en el mundo.

  • puerco HDP, caiste RATA asquerosa, al fin caiste. Y los beneficios de NO TENER ejercito en Costa Rica no se ven por ninguna parte. El pais mas caro de la region, la gasolina sube de precio un dia 15 pesos, al dia siguiente baja 3 pesos para despúes subir 100 pesos. El cuento de pais verde y carbono neutral para el 2021 solo el y los lamebotas que lo siguen se lo creen. Al final todo queda de la boca para afuera. Y ahora Violador en serie, no jodas!!!!

  • Podían sacarle provecho pero ni su propia gente lo escucha que pena por Nicaragua vivan del pasado que los seguirá cunsumiendo saludos de Bolivia este señor mis respetos

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