Outgoing conservative President Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador used his address at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to ask the world to help his country house Venezuelan migrants.
Lasso asserted that Ecuador is the country in the region with the highest flow of migrants, making special mention to Venezuelan refugees fleeing socialism but not directly mentioning the authoritarian regime of dictator Nicolás Maduro.
“We want to give them [Venezuelan migrants] a better future by guaranteeing all their rights by granting them a humanitarian visa so that they can regularize their stay and integrate more easily into society,” Lasso said. “Our arms have been extended to protect this population that asks us for shelter.”
“With or without documents, the children enter the schools, and all are attended in public hospitals — however, the open doors policy requires the valuable support of the international community,” he noted.
“Our action has been coherent with solidarity and we humbly expect reciprocity,” he continued.
Lasso, whose country is on the Security Council for the first time in 31 years, also used his time to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, aligning Ecuador with nations who continue to view the conflict as a priority despite being thousands of miles away.
“This war cannot continue one more day, the Russian Federation must immediately suspend its military operations as ordered by the International Court of Justice, the highest court of this organization, on March 16, 2022,” Lasso said. “This protracted war, which was first denied and then pretended to be a mere military operation, is breaking the most sacred principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter.”
Lasso continued by stating that there are “corrosive narratives” that seek to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but none of which actually have a legal basis.
“We have been told that the invasion against Ukraine is in response to an alleged plot by Western countries to weaken Russia,” he noted, “or that Russia is acting in self-defense to anti-Russian policies with respect to certain inhabitants or against their culture, but what greater act of contempt or xenophobia than war.”
“To defend the territorial integrity of states we need to respect and implement the provisions of the UN Charter, maintain peace and security, not to attack third States, and to abstain from voting in disputes to which we are party,” he concluded.
The Ecuadorian President made calls to UN Security Council members to give their support “so that the Secretary-General’s efforts and good offices can be deepened on the humanitarian and political levels.”
Lasso recalled that the war forced roughly a thousand Ecuadorians to flee Ukraine and argued that the ongoing conflict continues to have global consequences: the nuclear war threat, threats to global food security, and corrosive effects on economies, particularly those of developing countries.
The final portion of his speech was dedicated to the subject of organized international crime, which he described as the “common enemy” among societies and states across the world. Lasso asserted that the rampant wave of violence ongoing in Ecuador is the “repercussion” of his government’s fight against organized crime and drug trafficking.
“If we do not fight together, we will continue to suffer alone,” he said. “If the enemy has the capacity to multiply, we states must multiply our efforts even more.”
Lasso also made mention of assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, who he described as a “lucid and courageous Ecuadorian who denounced the operations of organized crime and political mafias.” Villavicencio, a fierce anti-China and anti-corruption journalist, was murdered in a hail of gunfire on August 9 as he was leaving a campaign rally.
Ecuador is scheduled to hold a runoff presidential election in October between establishment socialist candidate Luisa González and 35-year-old business heir Daniel Noboa. The election is a result of Lasso triggering a constitutional provision in May known as muerte cruzada (“mutually assured death”) that dissolved the Ecuadorian Congress but also forced the executive into an election.
Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.