On July 24, Uruguayan Minister of National Defense José Bayardi spoke at a CHDS Face-to-Face Encounter event on the topic of “The Uruguayan Ministry of Defense – Views on Regional Security.” Bayardi told the group that the fight of against terror must be embraced by the entire democratic community, and that “what causes insecurities among neighbors requires a cooperative attitude on the part of all.” The medical doctor and former head of the Uruguayan parliamentary defense commission added that “all human acts are governed by ethics” and that terrorists’ acts are indefensible for that very reason. He noted that the region requires a “menu of different solutions to deal with different problems.”
Bayardi, who attended CHDS’ Defense Planning and Resource Management course in 2001, expressed his “personal satisfaction” for being able to return to the Center as Minister to address the group. He praised the openness and spirit of liberty with which defense and security problems are treated in CHDS courses and other events. Bayardi said the interaction among the professors and students created a climate for reflection and the sharing of differing points of view that helped overcome a historical lack of integration between civilian and military communities in the region.
In introducing Bayardi, CHDS Director Richard D. Downie noted his exceptional service in promoting civil-military dialogue in a country known for its democratic traditions and values. Even in times of difficulty, Downie added, Bayardi “successfully pushed to make sure that the entire Uruguayan community was involved in security and defense questions.” Downie also praised Uruguay’s influence in the international community, for instance its record as the country in the world with the greatest participation in UN peacekeeping missions. He pointed out that its military is current involved in 13 such efforts around the globe.