WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary James Mattis said the democracies of the western hemisphere are the models for which the world can find stability and partnership to address challenges and find opportunities.
“Democracy is working,” Mattis said during a meeting of defense ministers Monday in Cancun, Mexico. “Our democratic nations send a message as we uphold our shared values, including respect for human rights, the rule of law, and sovereignty. And that message reverberates around the globe.”
Mattis said the hemisphere democracies are the light, in contrast to non-democratic nations like Russia, China and Cuba.
“The world recognizes that the Cuba model no longer works for anyone, even Cuba,” Mattis said to the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas.
“From Ottawa to Buenos Aires to Santiago, from south to north and from east to west, our nations increasingly represent an island of democratic stability amidst a global sea of instability due to malign influence,” Mattis said.
Mattis’s remarks were conveyed by a small group of Pentagon reporters traveling with him as part of pool of journalists. Talk Media News is a member of the pool and has access to those remarks.
Mattis said that instead of sharing understanding and cooperation, the non-democratic nations “threaten sovereignty with predatory investments, piling up massive debt and seeking undue influence over other countries’ diplomatic, political, and economic decisions.”
As an example of the difference, Mattis said that in the wake of a stream of refugees coming from Venezuela, Washington is sending the hospital ship USNS Comfort to neighboring Colombia. The ship will be staffed with medical personnel from a variety of western hemisphere nations.
“We note that in the midst of this disaster — this manmade disaster — in Venezuela that Russia is sending a bomber,” Mattis said, “while the U.S. Navy is sending a hospital ship with doctors.”