Presidency of the UN for Ecuador, sign of a definitive change?

By Luis Leonel Leon
Journalist
Published on Wednesday April 4th, 2018

On June 5th, the presidency of the UN General Assembly, composed of 193 countries, will be elected for its 73rd session. This is an important job, because it can influence the eyes and even the actions of this organization on political issues that affect millions of people in the world and in Latin America as a region.

Rotating election by regions that corresponds to Latin America in 2018. There are two candidates: Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Chancellor of Ecuador, and Mary Elizabeth Flores, Ambassador of Honduras to the UN. The chosen one will succeed the Slovakian Chancellor Miroslav Lajcak.

Espinosa has more than 20 years of international experience in multilateral issues, integration, security and defense, human rights, rights of people, indigenous nationalities, culture and heritage. Matters related to the interests historically defended by the UN. She received scholarships from the Association of Latin American Studies, the Society of Woman Geographers of USA, and the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. Her greatest work areas are environment and culture.

The Andean Parliament (Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador) issued its support to Espinosa, who in a letter to the UN, points out her priorities: “to bring the UN closer to the people, work openly, effectively, transparent and inclusive, provide quick responses from the Assembly in emerging situations, and pay special attention to the most vulnerable people”.

Flores, on the other hand, is the daughter of former President Carlos Flores Facussé (1998-2002), member of the Liberal Party, was Vice-President in the National Congress, deputy for the department of Morazán from 2006 to 2010 presiding over some sessions of the Congress. Represented Honduras in the Community of Young Leaders of the World. Of Palestinian origin, she voted in favor of Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In Latin America only Honduras and Guatemala were on the side of Washington.

Eight countries of the Central American Integration System (Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama and Nicaragua) support the candidacy of Flores, who has assured that she works to “define the development agenda of the UN, a special attention for children, and a forum for the culture of peace”.

The confrontation in this election is not only about personal merits, it’s a political decision at a time when Ecuador seems to abandon the block cataloged as dictatorships of 21stcentury’s socialism (Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, with influence in Petrocaribe countries and alliances with anti-American governments).

In the 10 years of Rafael Correa, Ecuador was aligned with the Cuban dictatorship in the region and international organizations such as the UN, but his candidate and successor, today’s President Lenin Moreno, has made progress in restoring democratic conditions: the fight against corruption, dismantling the judicial political persecution system, and freedom of the press (without repealing the gag law). Although opponents and critics consider it insufficient and not yet conclusive, such steps make a difference.

In the international arena, Ecuador has sent out signals of withdrawal from the dictatorial group of the 21stcentury, redirecting its relations with the U.S, including the fight against drug trafficking. Ecuador has taken prudent distance from a direct defense of the Venezuelan dictatorship and used the “abstention” in the last decision of the OAS, which by majority, summoned Nicolas Maduro to cancel the elections he has been manipulating, and has suspended the use of the Internet to Julian Assange, a refugee at the Embassy of Ecuador in London for speaking out against Germany on the Catalan issue. -Unimaginable situations in the Correa regime-.

It would seem that Espinosa could get more votes for the presidency of the Assembly in the first round that is waged by the majority vote of countries in the region. Her experience and the new role of Ecuadorian diplomacy in the Americas, give her a great option. Perhaps the definitive scenario will be the Summit of the Americas on April 13 and 14 in Lima, Peru.

As of September, the Assembly will be presided over by a woman, Ecuadorian or Honduran, and will reflect a new moment in international politics in the Americas. Ecuador can show a sign of definitive change.

Cuban journalist based in Miami.

Follow Luis Leonel Leon on Twitter: @LLLeon_enMarti

Translation: Lizandra Garriga.

*Published in Spanish by El Nuevo Heraldon Tuesday April 3rd, 2018.

*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*