Speech of President Rafael Correa at the VII Summit of the Americas
The peace, dear friends, is not only the absence of war, the insulting opulence of a few in Latin America, alongside the most intolerable poverty, is also an everyday bullet against the human dignity. I therefore think that the motto of the summit, instead of prosperity with equity should be equity, justice for property.
Today we are witnessing a historic event, in an unrestricted triumph for dignity, sovereignty, and solidarity among peoples. We embrace the sister republic of Cuba as a full member of this forum, from which it should have never been excluded.
However, our joy can not be complete, it remains to remove the inhuman and illegal blockade against Cuba. The devolution of the Guantanamo occupied territory is still pending to Cuba. Fellows, during the cold war, the bloodiest dictatorships were supported in the region, without respecting freedom of press, human rights, the democracy itself.
Let us remember, for example, that the OAS assembly of 1976 was held in Santiago de Chile and was chaired by Augusto Pinochet´s chancellor. The invasive and interventionist action during those years was based in the combat against communism. Now the argument is the defense of human rights.
The executive order of President Obama against Venezuela flagrantly violates the international law and particularly Paragraph E of Section 3 of the OAS charter. The response of the region has been overwhelming, rejecting the executive order and asking its lifting.
Our peoples will never accept the tutelage, the interference nor intervention. Their memory is lacerated by abuses and violence of past. Panama is a good example of that: The invasion of December 1989 caused thousands of deaths to expel the bloody dictator. Few weeks ago, officers of the State Department requested to the US Congress resources to support the freedom of press, the human rights, and the democracy in the hemisphere, including Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
We really care about these issues, well then, let us treat them in this forum. Let us talk about human rights. According to CEPAL (Economic Commission for Latin America), in the 2007-2013 period, Ecuador is one of those 4 Latin American countries that has reduced inequality the most. During our government, of the historic reduction of poverty in a 12,5 percentage points. only 5,4 are due to growing effect, and 7,1 due to redistribution effect.
In Ecuador we do not have tortures, death penalty, nor extrajudicial executions, with the judicial reform approved by the citizens through a popular referendum in 2011, judges are selected through a public tender of merits and opposition, organized by a regulatory and autonomous body from the executive branch.
Finally, this is very important, Ecuador is one of 7 countries out 35 of the hemisphere, that has signed all inter-American human rights instruments. Many countries have not even ratified the Inter American Human Rights Convention, or San Jose treaty.
The reality is we not only need a new human rights system, but a new Inter American system. We must understand that the Americas of the north and south of the “Río Bravo” are different, and we must have a conversation as blocks. The OAS has been historically captured by interests and visions of North America, and its councils an accumulated atavisms turn it inefficient and unreliable for the new times Latin America and the Caribbean live.
An example of this was the Falkland Islands war, where the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance was shattered (TIAR), which should have been enough for the OAS to disappear. Our embrace of solidarity to the Argentine people and its fight for the Falkland Islands, a blatant example of colonialism in the XXI century.
Another example was the decades that Cuba was absurdly excluded from the OAS, or the same blockade against Cuba. The Community of Latin American Countries and the Caribbean (CELAC), must be the forum for the Latin American and Caribbean discussions, and the OAS should become in the forum in which as blocks, CELAC and North America process their coincidences and conflicts.
Regarding the Inter-American system of human rights, coherence is needed. Only the countries that have signed the Inter-American convention should participate in the different instances, for example, The seat of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is located in Washington, which has not yet ratified the San Jose treaty. In addition, that commission in unnecessary. The Inter-American court, whose seat is in San José, can and should the function of promoting human rights and judge attacks against these, as in the European system, where there is no commission, there is only one court.
As we understand very well that due to private interests it is difficult to achieve the above mentioned, it’s probably time of having a Latin American human rights system, everything is ready, because basically the Latin American countries have ratified the San Jose treaty and consequently, we are the one that recognize and submit to the Inter-American court.
And let us talk about democracy, Thomas Jefferson, who I admire a lot, one of the Founding Father of the US, is the main author of one of the most beautiful documents in the history of humankind, “The Declaration of Independence of the United States,” whose second paragraph states: All men are created equal. (I)