Wednesday, March 20, 2013


March 20, 2013


San Jose, Costa Rica (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy gave a speech to the students of the University of Costa Rica in San Jose 50 years ago today, March 20, 2013.

It was the final day of JFK's Central American trip attending the President's Conference including leaders of the free nations of Central America & Panama.

In the beginning of his address, the President of the United States introduced  Senator William Fulbright* of Arkansas who was Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Wayne Morris of Oregon, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Latin America & other congressmen who served on committees dealing with the region.

J. William Fulbright (1905-1995) was born in Sumner, Missouri.  He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1925 & was a Rhode Scholar at Oxford.  He earned his law degree at George Washington University in 1934.  Fulbright served 1 term in the House of Representatives & then represented Arkansas as a Democrat in the United States Senate from 1945 to 1975.  Senator Fulbright is best known for his opposition to the war in Vietnam.

                 Senator J. William Fulbright
                                 Arkansas (D)

The President then said....

"It is a great pleasure to leave Washington, where I am lectured to by professors, to come to Costa Rica where I can speak to students."

JFK told the students that his "was the 1st speech by any United States President to any student audience in Latin America."

He then said...

"Under a system of political liberty, we can solve the economic problems that press upon our people.  Together...(we) can conquer the ancient enemies of man, poverty, ignorance & hunger...protect freedom against those who would destroy it...bring hope to those who search for (it) and extend liberty to those who lack it."**

**JFK+50 Comment

This quote, we think, applies well to the sentiments expressed in an NBC documentary about the Kennedy years that JFK told us "there was nothing we could not do, and we believed him."

President Kennedy concluded his address by saying:

"Every one of us will go home with the most profound impression of what a strong, vital people can accomplish.  And I think that this journey to Costa Rica has illuminated the minds of 180 million people of what a great opportunity & privilege we have to be associated together in our common cause.

Viva Costa Rica.   Arriba Costa Rica.

Muchas gracias."