Latin American leaders call for more democracy at the UN

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

United Nations, 20 September (EFE) – More democracy as an antidote to the many crises that humanity is suffering from. It is this recipe that has been proposed by most of the Latin American leaders speaking at the United Nations General Assembly today, including Presidents Gabriel Boric (Chile), Gustavo Petro (Colombia), Alberto Fernandez (Argentina) and Luis Arce (Bolivia). participated in the first meeting on Tuesday, together with Naib Bukele (El Salvador) and Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil), who is running for re-election on 2 October.

Gabriel Boric, who last December became the youngest president in Chile’s history, was one of those who focused most on the idea of ​​a more cohesive Latin America and “greater democracy” to address the problems Chile is suffering from. society, encourage participation and respect those who think differently.

“I rebel against the abyss that some try to dig in front of legitimate diversity of opinion. From Chile, we declare our will as builders in the face of these gaps that prevent us from meeting as different societies,” said this former student leader.

Regarding the overwhelming rejection (62%) of the proposal for a new constitution in last September 4 plebiscite, the Chilean leader pointed out that although “some wanted to see the result as a defeat” for his administration, “the government can never feel defeated when the people speak” .

Gustavo Petro, President of Colombia, addresses the UN General Assembly. EFE/EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Petro and Arce question the fight against drugs

Meanwhile, Colombian President Gustavo Petro, who, like Boric, was speaking before the UN General Assembly for the first time, has called for an end to the “irrational” drug war that he says is destroying the Amazon jungle and wreaking havoc on his country.

“I demand from here, from my wounded Latin America, an end to the irrational war on drugs. Wars are not needed to reduce drug use, we are all needed to build a better society,” he stressed.

Petro also denounced the use of the herbicide glyphosate to eradicate illegal crops in Colombia, a practice backed by the United States that is regularly used by Colombian governments.

“To destroy the coca plant, they throw poison, glyphosate flows en masse through the water, they arrest their growers and put them in jail. For the destruction or possession of coca leaves in North America, one million Latin Americans are killed and two million African Americans are imprisoned,” Petro said.

In this critical vein of the classic anti-drug approach, Bolivian President Luis Arce questioned the “one-sidedness” of “certain countries” including him among the “major” producers and traffickers of illicit drugs, alluding to a memorandum on the subject issued last week by White home.

According to Arce, “the war on drugs, mainly unleashed by the United States, has failed”, so the northern power needs to analyze the change in its anti-drug policy, since, in addition, it is “one of the main” consumers “.

That is why he proposed “a change in the approach to combating drug trafficking” because the focus on supply rather than demand “served as a pretext for militarization and launching an international war on drugs,” he said.

Bolsonaro invites Nicaraguan church

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends the UN General Assembly. EFE/EPA/JUSTIN LANE

As President of Brazil and in the tradition of the UN, Jair Bolsonaro was the first head of state to intervene, and he did so by denouncing “systematic corruption” in a veiled attack on former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. his main competitor in the elections on October 2 and who the polls give out as the winner.

As he announced, Bolsonaro used the UN gallery for his campaign. “Between 2003 and 1016, when the country was ruled by the left,” billions of dollars were stolen, and “whoever was responsible for it was convicted,” he said. (Lula spent a year and a half in prison after being found guilty of accepting a bribe, although his conviction was later overturned by the Supreme Court.)

The President of Brazil, who is a firm defender of conservative values ​​associated with Christianity, proclaimed that his country “opens its doors to welcome the persecuted priests and nuns in Nicaragua.”

In 2022, the Catholic Church in the Central American country was hit by the imprisonment and retention of priests. One of the cases with the most international outcry was the recent arrest of Bishop Rolando Alvarez, a vocal critic of the government of Daniel Ortega, who has been in prison since 19 August.

Fernandez calls for an end to the blockade of Cuba and Venezuela

On behalf of Argentina, its President Alberto Fernandez called for “the restoration of the empire of the world” and, alluding to the war in Ukraine, said that “it is imperative to stop all the unleashed hostilities.”

The Argentine president also called for an end to the economic blockade of Cuba and Venezuela, recalling that the only legitimate sanctions are those imposed by the UN Security Council.

Alberto Fernandez, President of Argentina, addresses the UN General Assembly. EFE/EPA/Peter Foley

Fernandez, who currently chairs the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), thanked the “solidarity” shown by “the whole world” in the face of an “assassination attempt” committed on September 1 by Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez, when a man with close range fired from a pistol, who was also the president of the country (2007-2015), although the bullet did not come out.

For this reason, he called for “a vigorous global rejection of those who promote division” within society.

Bukele: deprecated, assembly format

In a speech, El Salvador’s President Naib Bukele criticized the format of the UN General Assembly as “outdated,” something he had already stated in a speech in September 2019, when he was briefly in office. .

Although he did not refer to his statement that he would seek immediate re-election in 2024, he said that his country has the “right to continue on the path” of “development” and noted that “freedom is what they still “Fighting in El Salvador.

Without speaking of a specific country, Bukele said: “The strong (…) cannot come to send our home.”

Immigration and Natural Resources Highlights

Paraguay, which broke off diplomatic relations with the government of Nicolás Maduro in January 2019, announced that “it will lead a resolution in the Human Rights Council, along with other countries, that will allow it to continue an in-depth investigation into human rights violations.” in Venezuela.”

“We must, with a common voice, ensure stability in the world, we cannot ignore what is happening in other territories and leave brotherly peoples to their fate,” said the head of state of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benitez.

In turn, the President of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, said: “The poor countries of the world can no longer support coups.” Thus, Castro was referring to the case when her country suffered on June 28, 2009, when her husband Manuel Zelaya was in power.

The Honduran president said her country had just experienced “two electoral frauds, a pandemic and two hurricanes,” adding that it is impossible to understand her compatriots and large caravans of emigrants “without being aware of this context of brutal suffering” for which they “had to go through.”

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei also referred to the plight of migrants, who, on the other hand, asked the UN to play a more active role in order to prevent “a third (military) confrontation on a grand scale”.

“We are facing an alarming level of age-old hatred, apparent discriminatory rejection of nationalities, migrants, refugees and other actions that we have not seen since the end of World War II,” he said.

Finally, the Peruvian head of state, Pedro Castillo, said that the Escazu Agreement, a regional treaty on public participation and justice in environmental matters, reflects the awareness of the peoples of Latin America as a “tool to confirm” sovereignty. “On the Natural Resources of the Amazon”.

This defense contrasts with the decision by the Peruvian parliament, which President Castillo has no control over, to shelve a ministerial resolution asking for the protection of environmentalists through the Escazu Agreement to be guaranteed.

The speeches of world leaders before the plenary meeting of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, which will continue tomorrow with a speech, in particular, by US President Joe Biden, will end next Monday, 26.

Web Editing: Natalia Sarmiento

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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