“The Malvinas Islands are not only Argentine, they are Latinamerica”, said Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa who claimed it was time to put an end to the ‘colonial situation’ of the disputed Islands in the South Atlantic and blasted the Organization of American States, OAS for dragging its feet on this and other crucial issues for the continent.
“The Malvinas Islands situation is untenable, the colonial situation must be resolved because the Malvinas are not only Argentine, they are Latinamerica”, said re-elected President Correa in his inauguration speech last Friday before lawmakers and foreign representatives. This is Correa’s third consecutive re- election, which he pledged would be his last (2013/2017).
The Falklands/Malvinas Islands currently a British Overseas Territory and confirmed by a recent overwhelming referendum, are claimed by Argentina alleging historic and geographic facts.
Correa was also merciless with the OAS which he challenges over human rights issues and the fact it is located in Washington.
“What use is OAS if we can’t have a definitive regional stand regarding such crucial, clamorous, urgent and evident problems as the Islas Malvinas? Malvinas are a British colony off the Latinamerican coast but over 11.000 kilometers from London and let me repeat this is not an Argentine issue because the Malvinas are not only Argentine, they are Latinamerica”.
The Ecuadorian leader warned that the peoples of the region “won’t pardon us if we don’t take historic decisions, if we can’t correct these vestiges of neo-colonialism in our America”.
Likewise Correa criticized the US blockade on Cuba standing since 1962, a decision which “openly and shamelessly challenges the inter-American OAS foundational charter and was condemned none less than twenty times by the United Nations”.
Both situations are ‘neo-colonialist’ and as such “Ecuador will never again accept neo-colonialisms”.
The Ecuadorian leader also came out strongly in support of the moral integrity of Argentine president Cristina Fernandez, of her deceased husband Nestor Kirchner and of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, much questioned by increasing disclosures of alleged corruption.
“They never could and will never challenge our integrity. They couldn’t with the integrity of Nestor Kirchner, they couldn’t with the integrity of Hugo Chavez and they won’t either with that of Cristina Fernandez”, said Correa.
Correa was first elected in 2007 and two years later in 2009 reformed the constitution and was confirmed for four years; last February he won re-election with 57% of ballots and with 100 out of 137 lawmakers in the one house national assembly has emerged as one of the strongest leaders in populist South America. But though populist on stage and speech, he has a very pragmatic approach to economic issues (he was educated in the US) and the Ecuadorian economy is going through a period of growth and stability unknown for decades.
In his speech Correa underlined Ecuador’s role in support of human rights but also bashed the US and the Inter American Human Rights Committee for having their main seat in Washington, “a country which is not a member of the Human Rights Inter-American System and which has ratified none of its instruments”.
He recalled that Ecuador is one of seven countries of the Inter-American Human Rights System that has ratified all instruments in defence of those rights.
Correa insisted that the seat of the Inter American Human Rights Commission should be in a country which is signatory of the agreements on human rights. The same, he said, “is extensive to OAS”, which is seated in a country ‘obsessed with the irrationality of the criminal blockade on Cuba”.
Fortunately “Latinamerica has other groupings and organizations such as the Union of South American Nations, Unasur and the Community of States from Latinamerica and the Caribbean, Celac to combat these kinds of aggressions in our continent” concluded President Correa.