Roads of Freedom (Caminos de la Libertad) is one of the key projects of Grupo Salinas. The purpose of this effort is to promote reflection on the question of freedom. This seems to be something that is very simple and, yet, however, it is a difficult and courageous endeavor in these times.
A few days ago we had the opportunity to get to know the list of the winners of our fifth annual essay contest. We also listened to the words of Felipe Gonzalez, former Spanish prime minister, a statesman who launched his struggle from the underground, from the opposition, and from within the government itself.
Thinking about the question of freedom becomes particularly important in these moments in which Mexico and other Latin American countries are celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of the beginning of their wars of independence.
Freedom is an inevitable desire for human beings. Two hundred years ago it was not only Latin Americans who wished to make their own decisions in relation to the interests of the Spanish crown. The Spaniards had also declared themselves in defiance against the French troops who had occupied their country.
Today freedom faces many threats.
In some Latin American countries the biggest threat to freedom lies in the rebirth of the old cacique warlords of the past, only now with new names. It is correct to defend the idea of greater fairness and to provide support to those who do not have the educational or other types of opportunities to take the best advantage possible of their capacities.
In Grupo Salinas we has made enormous efforts, through support programs for small businessmen or through our Plantel Azteca and Movimiento Azteca campaigns, among other projects, to promote a greater equality of opportunities.
But we have to be careful, because equality of opportunities should not be a pretext for the State to violate economic freedom, political liberties, or freedom of speech.
A life for freedom
I am very pleased to find out that our Roads of Freedom essay contest has now become a tradition and that there are other efforts underway as well, such as the contest for young people.
I am proud to see that the A Life for Freedom award has been granted to Felipe González, one of the most distinguished statesmen of our era.
It also pleases me to know that, thanks to efforts such as those that we carry out in Roads of Freedom, coming generations will not forget the importance of this fundamental characteristic of humankind.