Remarks by Argentine President Dr. Carlos Sal Menem
Microsoft Enterprise Solutions Conference
DR. MENEM : I would like to thank you for inviting me to share with you the fascinating world that represents the technological revolution. We are living in an era of permanent change, making it a challenge to see to it that those innovations are used to serve the entire community. Information technology is a powerful tool in creating solutions to social issues of the times. Increasingly, the difference between social inclusion and exclusion is being defined by the access to the tools made available by telecommunications and information technology.
In response to this challenge, my government generated the conditions necessary for the active incorporation of Argentina into this society of knowledge. Today, education constitutes a process of lifetime learning, in order to guarantee access to innovations and new capabilities.
In strategic terms, that is to say in medium and long term politics, it’s here, and nowhere else, that we find the key to successfully face the problem of poverty, unemployment and social rejection.
We have developed an infrastructure that places us among the 10 top countries in the world in communication.
Investing 20 billion dollars, we have tripled our telephone network, and digitalized it.
This year, we introduce digital television and are among the countries with the largest number of cable television subscribers and fiber optic equipment offered to residents.
We have begun the deregulation of the telecommunications market and, today, there are 33 telephones per 100 persons, triple that of 10 years ago.
We will launch Argentina’s second telecommunications satellite, Nahuel 2, one of the largest and most modern satellites today.
Argentina is the second country in the world to be granted a license for Teledesic, a low orbit satellite system.
We have declared the Internet to be of national interest and established that its contents may not be controlled by the state, as safeguarded by the constitution.
We are the first Latin American country to join Internet 2.
With the program
“Argentina Internet For All”
, we will provide popular access to information technology, installing over 1000 technological community centers this year, which will be located in suburban neighborhoods and outlying geographic zones.
Our first Latin American experience with a cybercity took place in Carlota, in the province of Cordoba, where the entire community is on a network linking them to each other and to the world.
A national network of
is in the works, connecting provincial hospitals, schools, health centers and medical facilities, integrating technology, science and medicine to protect the health of our population, while reducing the costs.
There has been significant growth in the public sector, both in quantity of computers as well as networks.
When I assumed my position in 1989, the state had 1 computer per 23 agents. Today we have one computer for every 3 agents.
We are transforming the state into a digital state as a means to reduce bureaucracy and supply better service to the citizens.
Creation of the digital signature infrastructure for national public administration puts us among the first nations in the world to grant the digital signature the same value as the handwritten one.
The project for the digital signature law, which in the near future will be considered by congress, will be the basis for the entrance of my country into electronic commerce.
We are currently confronting Y2K problems so as to guarantee the continued function public services for the entire community.
We initiated the
program with which we plan to position our country as a major producer and exporter of software for the Spanish speaking market.
Of all of the enterprises faced by the government, we must also mention that our country has given very serious consideration to software copyright enforcement.
We have sanctioned a legal norm that protects computation and data compilation programs, which recognizes, as antecedent, a decree which, in 1994, had already propitiated a trademark for the protection of software.
Further, in the public sector, a letter of intention has been signed with the software chamber to regulate any aftermath which implies the nonfulfillment of this norm.
In other words, the intensive and systematic use of all that has been announced will permit the development of a true revolution in education and labor.
A true cultural revolution.
It is for this reason that we have decided to initiate a campaign for communal computer literacy to eradicate this new wave of illiteracy connected to computers and telecommunications.
This requires a drive to a fourth level of education which incorporates new knowledge and capacities, a form of continual retraining throughout life..
Today, I want to present this computer literacy program, to this prestigious forum, and in this way request all sectors of the technological community to support this initiative.
It signifies a qualitative leap in levels of professional education and the labor capabilities of our society and the international community.
Ladies and gentlemen:
You know that my country is very large, but whose population, for various reasons, is forced to move to other cities, far from their roots.
In the face of this reality, I want to emphasize the role of computers and communications as basic tools for territorial integration within the borders of each country.
As in the second half of the last century, the extraordinary vision of an argentine president, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, inspired the construction of telegraph networks, today I want to inspire the implementation of information networks so that all Argentines can be close to their roots, so that they can be home, even from a distance.
Ladies and gentlemen, When I began this speech, I pointed out that computer science and communications were, to my government, a state matter.
It is for this reason that I invite you to share in this project, to have confidence and to invest in Argentina.
Thank you very much.