By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Although it is an elective office with more ceremonial than political importance, the circumstances surrounding the person chosen to chair the meetings of the UN’s highest body has resonanated widely in the diplomatic media around the world.
With a vote of 128 countries in favor and 62 against, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa was elected President of the General Assembly of the United Nations for the 73rd session of the organization’s highest world body, from September 2018 until the September 2019.
The Latin American Information Agency (ALAI) based in Ecuador, is dedicated to the dissemination of information and the defence of the right to information. communication, research and training of experts from the United Nations system. and social organizations in the communication processes of America Latin America. ALAI, points out that Espinosa, 53, became the first Latin American women and fourth in the world to occupy this position. in the f the world organization’s 73 year life.
According to ALAI “this election was a setback for the government of the United States which did not approve of the progressive profile of Foreign Minister Espinosa. In the last eleven years, she has held high office during the government of Rafael Correa and was appointed Foreign Minister of the Republic by the President Lenin Moreno. The latter won with a program that contemplated the continuation of the Citizens’ Revolution led by Correa, on whom Moreno later turned his back.”
Espinosa’s election is a recognition of Ecuador’s foreign policy of recent years. She hass been recognized internationally when she was named chair of the G77 plus China (2017). In addition, Ecuador, together with South Africa, chairs a working group in the Human Rights Council, which seeks to to establish a legally binding instrument to regulate the transnational corporations, among other laudable purposes.
Washington was pulling its strings to block theEcuadorian’s candidacy. It openly supported the Honduran Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake, daughter of ex-president of the President Carlos Flores Facussé, who was trained United States universities.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley met with President Juan Orlando Hernandez for this purpose when he visited Honduras in February of this year to thank Honduras for its vote in favor of the resolution recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel without regard to Palestine.
By the way, this Washington-driven decision was one of the most important reasons that contributed to Flores’s defeat in the election for the United Nations General Assembly presidency.
The choice of Espinosa is also – admits ALAI – a setback. for the Ecuadorian right-wing represented by the Creando Opportunities (CREO) and Social Christian (PSC) parties that have always been ready to follow American policy. In the last few weeks, with the assistance of the major private media and diplomats from the right, a campaign was launched that had never been seen before because of its intensity against Foreign Minister Espinosa. In the media and social networks they launched hateful accusations in which there is they spared no epithets against Espinosa, such as “castrochavista”, “Sandinista,” etc.
In order to prejudice Espinosa’s candidacy at the United Nations, CREO and the PSC tried unsuccessfully to prosecute politically in the National Assembly to Espinosa for “failure to comply with the functions of her office.”
“Sensitive as he is to media pressure, President Lenin Moreno soon winked at the campaign. In his own style and with a little tap under Espinosa, Moreno broke away from the decision to grant Ecuadorian citizenship to Julian Assange, a refugee who had been given asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the United Kingdom. This was one of the most important themes of the alleged political trial of Espinosa as was the media campaign against her.”
María Fernanda Espinosa dedicated her election “to all the women of the world who today are involved in politics, who are facing attacks by political and media circles marked by machismo and discrimination”, as the Ecuadorian diplomat pointed out in her speech at the United Nations after her election.
She said one of her biggest challenges will be to accompany implementation of reforms to the United Nations system. “We have the challenge of build a stronger and more efficient organization.
Strengthening multilateralism is not an option, it is an obligation. It is urgent that the United Nations show a capacity to respond to the needs of the United Nations global challenges, and for the organization to move closer to people, Espinosa said.
June 11, 2018.