NewsThe three presidents who offer different views of Latin...

The three presidents who offer different views of Latin America at the UN

Almost all of the Latin American presidents who spoke this Tuesday at the UN General Assembly called for negotiations to end the conflict caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has deepened the world food crisis, shot up energy prices and triggered the inflation.

From the right-wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, or the Paraguayan Mario Abdo Benítez, to the leftists Gustavo Petro (Colombia), Luis Alberto Arce (Bolivia) or the Peruvian Pedro Castillo called for negotiations to end a conflict that is affecting the entire world and that as French President Emmanuel Macron warned from the same rostrum, it is “fracturing” it.

“Immediate ceasefire” and “dialogue” have been some of the wishes and demands most heard in the UN forum from the mouths of Latin Americans and other countries of the South, as well as criticism of the sanctions imposed by the international community to break Russian President Vladimir Putin’s determination to bring Ukraine under his sway.

“These measures have damaged the economic recovery and have threatened the human rights of vulnerable populations, including in European countries,” Bolsonaro recalled before warning that the “stability, security and prosperity of the human being is at serious risk if the conflict persists or spreads”.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba disagreed: “Sanctions are not the cause of the problem” and it is above all about Putin “not getting away with it,” he said at an event on Monday.

Petro and Boric debut

Faced with Europe’s intention that Latin America join its crusade against Russia, the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, asked that “they do not pressure us to align ourselves in the fields of war (…) Let the Slavic peoples talk to each other ”.

The Colombian president denounced the failure of the war on drugs and the destruction of thousands of lives and the Amazon jungle by the strategy of persecution.

“Deadly consumption has increased, from soft drugs to hard drugs, a genocide has occurred on my continent and in my country, millions of people have been sentenced to prison,” said Colombia’s first leftist president, world’s largest producer of cocaine.

The president emphasized that the strategy that has been used for four decades to end the lucrative business only leaves hundreds of thousands dead in North America and overcrowded prisons in the rest of the continent.

“If we don’t correct the course and this (war) continues for another 40 years, the United States will see 2,800,000 young people die of overdoses” and “a million more Latin Americans will be killed,” he said.

Since his inauguration on August 7, Petro has insisted on a focus on preventing consumption in developed economies instead of persecuting growers of coca leaves, the base of cocaine, considered the weakest link in the drug trafficking chain.

In a speech addressed to consumer countries, Petro called for “ending the irrational war on drugs.”

Petro, like his Chilean counterpart Gabriel Boric, participated for the first time in the world diplomatic forum. The 36-year-old Chilean president – the youngest in the meeting – asked to take all necessary actions to “stop Russia’s unjust war on Ukraine.”

Boric called for “paving with more democracy and not less” the path “to face the problems” of today’s societies.

“I rebel against the abyss that some seek to dig in the face of the legitimate diversity of opinions. And from Chile, we declare our will to be bridge builders in the face of those gaps that prevent us from meeting as diverse societies,” said the president.

He also called for efforts to stop violence against women and pointed to the death of Mahsa Amini last Friday “at the hands of the Police” in Iran.

Boric asked “not to normalize the permanent violations of human rights against the Palestinian people”, for whom he asked for a State of their own, as well as to guarantee “Israel’s legitimate right to live within secure and internationally recognized borders”.

Bolsonaro offers refuge to priests expelled from Nicaragua

The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, said that the country is willing to “open its doors” to religious Catholics who “suffer persecution” by the “dictatorial” regime of Nicaraguan Daniel Ortega.

“Brazil opens its doors to welcome Catholic parents and nuns who have suffered persecution from the dictatorial regime in Nicaragua,” Bolsonaro assured at the UN tribune, in a speech with electoral overtones in which he outlined the achievements of his government and in which he declared himself an “unconditional defender” of freedom of expression and religious law in his country.

His government, he said, “has worked to bring the right to freedom of religion to the center of the international human rights agenda,” an “essential” guarantee that “everyone has the right to profess and practice their religious orientation without discrimination.”

Brazil, which is traditionally the first country to speak at the opening of the General Assembly that began this Tuesday in New York, “repudiates religious persecution anywhere in the world.”

After calling for a reform of the UN system, Bolsonaro said that “80% of the Amazon remains untouched” despite reports in the international press to the contrary.

Give peace talks between Russia and Ukraine

Bolsonaro also called for “an immediate ceasefire” in Ukraine and advocated that “dialogue channels” be maintained to resolve a conflict that has lasted seven months and whose impact “places us all against the goals of sustainable development.” .

The Bolivian Arce asked that the whole world be a zone of peace, he demanded the same attention for other conflicts such as the Palestinian one, that the international community is giving to the Russian invasion.

“We have always advocated the peaceful solution of any dispute,” said Argentine Alberto Fernández. “It is imperative that all unleashed hostilities cease. For this reason, we need to work together to impose dialogue and restore peace in the dispute that began with the military advance of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine.”

Added to the option of dialogue is the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, absent from this meeting, who on September 16 proposed the creation of a committee for dialogue and peace made up of the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, Pope Francis and the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres.

According to the Mexican, the peaceful mission should seek an immediate ceasefire and the start of direct talks between the presidents of Ukraine Volodímir Zelenski, who will exceptionally address this world event by video this Wednesday, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, another of those absent from the conclave like the Chinese Xi Jingping.

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has managed to maintain relations with Moscow and kyiv, also advocated negotiating a “dignified exit”.

“Together, we must find a reasonable diplomatic solution that will offer both sides a dignified way out of the crisis,” he said.

With information from AFP

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