Dear Heads of State and Government of the Americas:
A fraternal greeting and sincere thanks to the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, to his partners and the people of this beautiful country from the waist of Our America, by the warm welcome that they provide us.
I wish to greet the new Secretary General of the OAS, Luis de Almagro, recently elected at the meeting of the General Assembly of Washington, and he has before a difficult challenge but unavoidable: radically transform that institution.
We sent a greeting of solidarity to the people of Chile and their President, Michelle Bachelet, who borne with courage the harmful effects of the recent floods in that country.
All our support to President Santos and his unwavering political will to continue on the path toward lasting peace in Colombia.
But peace is not merely the absence of war. The insulting opulence of the few in Latin America, next to the more intolerable poverty, are also daily bullets against human dignity.
Therefore, I think that the motto of the Summit instead of “Prosperity with equity” should be “Equity, for Prosperity”.
Today we are witnessing an historic event. In an unrestricted triumph of dignity, sovereignty and the solidarity between peoples, we welcome the sister Republic of Cuba as a full-fledged member of this forum that should never be excluded.
However, our joy may not be complete. There is still to eradicate the inhuman and illegal blockade against Cuba. Also pending is the return to Cuba of the occupied territory of Guantanamo.
In the cold war was held the bloodiest dictatorships in the region, then, no matter in absolute freedom of the press, human rights, democracy itself. Let us recall for example that the OAS Assembly 1976 held in Santiago de Chile was chaired by the chancellor of Augusto Pinochet.
The invasive and interventionist action during those years was based in the fight against communism. Now the argument is “the defense of Human Rights”.
President Obama’s executive order against Venezuela flagrantly violates international law and particularly the literal e) of the article. 3 of the charter of the OAS.
The region’s response has been strong, rejecting the Executive Order and calling for its withdrawal. Our peoples never again will accept guardianship, interference or intervention. Their memory is wounded by the abuse and the violence of the past. Panama is a good example of this, with the invasion in December 1989 that caused thousands of deaths, to remove the bloody dictator that the same invaders had supported.
However, they continue the illegal interventionist. A few weeks ago, officials from the Department of State requested the Congress of the United States resources for, I quote, “support the freedom of the press, human rights and democracy in the Hemisphere, including Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua”.
Do these topics really interest us? Well, let’s address these topics in this forum.
Let’s talk about human rights.
According to ECLAC, in the period 2007-2013 Ecuador is of three Latin American countries that has reduced inequality the most. During our government, from the historic poverty reduction in 12.5 points, only 5.4 points are by growth effect, and 7.1 by redistribution effect.
In Ecuador we do not torture, death penalty or extra judicial executions. With the judicial reform approved by citizens in popular consultation on 2011, the judges are selected by public competition organized by merit an autonomous entity of the Executive.
Finally, Ecuador is one of the only 7 from the 35 countries of the hemisphere that has subscribed absolutely all the inter-American Human Rights instruments. Many countries have not even ratified the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights or Pact of San José.
The reality is that we need not only a new system of human rights, but a new inter-American system. We must understand that the Americas on the north and south of the Rio Bravo are different, and we must talk as blocks.
The Organization of American States (OAS), has historically been captured by interests and visions of North America, and their biases and atavism accumulated again inefficient and unreliable for the new times living Latin America and the Caribbean.
An example was the Falklands war, where it shattered the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, the Rio Treaty, which had to be enough for the OAS to disappear. Our embrace of solidarity to the Argentine people and their struggle for the Malvinas, blatant example of colonialism in the twenty-first century.
Another example were the decades that Cuba was absurdly excluded from the OAS, or the same criminal blockade against Cuba.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States – CELAC – must be the forum for Latin American and Caribbean discussions, and OAS should become the forum in which, as blocks, CELAC and North America processed their matches and conflicts.
In regard to the Inter-American human rights system, it is necessary a bit of consistency: that only we can participate in the different instances the countries that we have ratified the Inter-American Convention. For example, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is headquartered in Washington, which has not ratified the Pact of San José, and -in addition it is unnecessary. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San Jose can and should have the functions of promoting human rights and prosecute the attacks against these, as is the case in the European system, where there is no commission, just court.
As we understand very well that by the vested interests the foregoing is difficult to achieve, probably already it is time to have a Latin American system of human rights. Everything is ready, because basically we are the countries of Latin America which have ratified the Pact of San Jose, and in consequence we are the only ones that recognize and submit to the Inter-American Court.
And let’s talk about democracy.
Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, is the principal author of one of the most beautiful documents of the history of mankind, the Declaration of Independence that, in its second paragraph, says: “All men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
Wonderful words, but the same Jefferson was owner of hundreds of slaves. At that time even for these extraordinary men it was unimaginable that black people had rights.
It had to spend almost a century since the declaration of independence for the elimination of slavery, and exactly a century more for the abolition of racial segregation.
Today, Latin American elites are still unable to understand that fundamental rights are for everyone.
When these elites denounce the lack of respect for their human rights, it is because for the first time are equal under the rule of law. When they denounce dictatorships and authoritarian rule, is because they can no longer submit our governments to their whims and interests.
And let’s talk about freedom of the press.
When Latin American elites argue that there is no freedom of press, it is because their media no longer have impunity to manipulate the truth, or because we dare to reply, to contest its hegemony to expose their lies.
One might wonder if a society can be called truly free when the right to information and the own social communication is in the hands of private business for profit. And although this is a global issue, in Latin America – given the media monopolies, their family property, their serious ethical shortcomings, professional and their blatant involvement in politics – the problem is much more serious.
I think we all agree that a good press is vital to a true democracy, but we must also agree that the bad press is fatal for the same democracy… and the Latin American press is bad, very bad!
Now we are accused to divide our countries. Just imagine, what a coincidence. The same thing they said to Abraham Lincoln, considered the best US president in history. They called him a “tyrant”, “despot”, “fanatic”, “crazy” by his noble struggle for abolition of slavery. It caused a civil war, that in case of defeat would have been generated the division of the country and Lincoln would probably have gone down in history as a criminal. Read what was said by slave media of the time. Let’s learn something about history.
With the discovery of the new continent, North America and Latin America virtually began at the same time their history. Do you ever have wondered why Latin America is not the United States, the most powerful country on the planet, and vice versa? This is one of the great enigmas of the development. The answers are multiple and complex, but no doubt, one of these answers, it is the elite class that dominated and still dominate our America.
Hopefully, President Obama, understand that in order to defend your interests or due to bad information, you support these elites that have harmed us so.
“All men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
In Ecuador and throughout Latin America, we also maintain these principles and we will make it a reality at any cost, not only for the elites or at some future time, but now… and for all!
Prosperity with equity? I would say: equity for prosperity, but also sovereignty and dignity. The time has come for the second and final independence for our America.