SEC. RUMSFELD: Goodness. We had a schedule, I believe, of a 45 minute visit and we ended up going over, excuse me, going over about 45 minutes. We had a very interesting discussion. The President had key members of his team there. The Chief of the Defense Forces, the Minister of Defense, the Vice President, the Minister of Public Works, the Foreign Minister, Ambassador (inaudible) from the United States to Uruguay.
We talked about a whole range of things: Paraguay’s interest in peacekeeping and those activities; the kinds of relationships we’ve had with respect to exercises and the very successful medical-readiness group that was here recently and treated some (inaudible) Paraguayan citizens.
Clearly, the President and his team have been working hard to see that economy is strengthening and that they’re put on a solid financial bases and we discussed the importance of including opportunities, economic opportunities, for the people of the country. I must say that I was most impressed with his team and their determination to deal with the problem of corruption. As a person who spent a good many years in business, there is nothing quite as corrosive and quite as deterrent as corruption in a country. Certainly, to the extent they are successful and they are being successful, they’ve increased the revenues substantially, without changing the tax pace, that indicates that they’re doing a much better job of protecting the revenues. Being in an environment that is hospitable for investment and for enterprise is critical to economic opportunity just as security is critical to economic opportunity, which (inaudible) problems that are so (inaudible) in the hemisphere of dealing with these anti-social activities of hostage taking and piracy and counter-fitting and crime and gangs and terrorism and the kinds of things that create an environment that is inhospitable to investment and (inaudible). I’m very pleased I was able to be here. I had a good visit with his team and I’ll be meeting with the Minister of Defense in the morning.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Venezula and their influences (inaudible) did the President offer any ideas on how to approach that?
SEC. RUMSFELD: He said to (inaudible) obviously (inaudible) countries, Paraguay and others (inaudible) they’re all interested in being able to grow and function in a manner that’s free of external influence and to do things in ways that set their history and their (inaudible) that is, I think, the choice of most countries, too, to avoid external influence.