October 3, 2022

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Comment | Colombia is not in the OAS when Nicaragua needs it most


Arturo McFields is a journalist and former Nicaraguan Ambassador to the OAS.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” so what said Archbishop Desmond Tutu firmly believed that neutrality was also a form of alignment. During a special session held on Friday, August 12, in 27 Latin American countries Condemned Before the Organization of American States (OAS) religious persecution and other human rights abuses in Nicaragua. In the meeting, it is noticeable Empty chair From Colombia, a country with the largest and most robust representation in the OAS, but on this occasion it was conspicuous by its absence.

This absence leaves a gap too large to be ignored, and throws some clues about Colombia’s new foreign policy and its stance on human rights.

Colombia is not just any state that hides within the number of OAS flags. The country has a long history and has marked various milestones in the chorus of hemispheric countries. In 1948, during the Ninth American International Conference held in Bogotá, it Accepted OAS Charter, American Treaty on Pacific Settlement “Agreement of Bogotá” And this American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. This is the birth certificate of the OAS, and as if that wasn’t enough, Colombian journalist and former president Alberto Lleras Camargo First of all General Secretary of this organization.

Another important milestone was in 2001, in Lima, under the General Secretariat of Colombian Cesar Gaviria. Inter-American Democratic Charter, is considered the highest instrument of democracy and human rights in the United States. The letter establishes that “representative democracy is essential to the stability, peace and development of the region and one of the objectives of the OAS is to promote and consolidate democracy.” The document clearly states in its first article, “The people of the United States have a right to democracy and their governments have a duty to promote and protect it.”

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In the most recent events, on November 11, 2021, under the leadership of the Colombian delegation, Approved Inter-American Commercial Charter. The document seeks to promote the development of an enabling and inclusive environment to strengthen the development of a competitive business sector, regularization, investment, innovation, orange economy and integration of enterprises and global and regional value chains and distribution. Another of Colombia’s many achievements and efforts at the OAS.

Colombia’s new president, Gustavo Pedro, was absent from the government session Justified This indicates that the Ambassador-designate has not yet been formally sworn in. But whatever the reason, it’s no small thing. This creates many doubts and fears that the new head of state in Chile is far from the democratic left and is dangerously close to the ideological dementia of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico: a rigid, sectarian and extreme left, aligned with the political program. Last century.. During the OAS session on Friday the 12th, along with Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Bolivia, Nicaragua refrained from condemning President Daniel Ortega’s authoritarian slide. Beheading Nearly 1,500 NGOs, the Harassment to the Catholic Church and Torture 190 political prisoners. Human rights are not ideological, as evidenced by the votes of countries with leftist governments, such as Peru and Argentina, which joined in condemning Ortega’s abuses.

In this first foreign policy and human rights exercise, Pedro failed the exam. Also, he did not attend. In his first week in office, the president moved away from the OAS and closer to authoritarian governments. Cuba Y Venezuela. On that Friday, August 12, the large South American country lacked sufficient leadership to loudly condemn the crimes against humanity of the Ortega dictatorship in Nicaragua.

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However, there is still a second possibility if Colombia’s absence from the session in Nicaragua is seen as a bureaucratic calendar situation, a sign of a foreign policy complicit with the dictatorship. In that case, President Pedro could still fix it and send a letter to the OAS Permanent Council, As has happened on other occasions, they should add Colombia to the list of sponsors of the resolution on the Central American country and their votes in favor should be recorded in the minutes of this important session. This move does not break the deadlock of the new Colombian administration, but it does indicate a firm and clear political will to defend human rights and democracy.

It is too early to judge Gustavo Pedro’s foreign policy and his principles and values, his omissions and his loyalties. That task applies to the Colombian people. However, when it comes to Nicaragua and condemning the dictatorship is going Having already been in power for 16 years, I must pronounce myself, in my case, I am not ready to leave the chair vacant.