The Indigenous organizations' support came with harsh criticism of Almagro as the organization argues he strayed “away from the fundamental principles of the organization’s Charter."
The Ecuadorean Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) and the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (Coica) announced Friday their endorsement for Maria Fernanda Espinosa’s candidacy as Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS).
“We are certain that, with her election, the Indigenous peoples will be a priority issue in the OAS, in benefit to our peoples that historically we have been relegated,” Conaie’s President Jaime Vargas and Coica's Coordinator-General Jose Diaz said in a joint statement, adding that they fully support Espinosa’s proposal to “prioritize the Indigenous people’s rights and peace in their territories.”
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and 73rd President of the United Nations General Assembly Espinosa will face current Secretary-General Luis Almagro and Peru’s Hugo de Zela on March 20, as member states will vote to either reelect or choose a new Secretary-General for the next five years.
Espinosa, during her address to the Permanent Council last month, promised to "evaluate with the States sensitive emerging issues before executing actions on behalf of the organization," as well as to "heal" the polarization of OAS.
She also expressed that she would promote a dialogue with a "road map" to end the crisis in Venezuela. "We need to communicate more and better by eliminating personal positions and reflecting the positions of the member states taken by resolutions," the diplomat added.
Her candidacy was presented not by Ecuador, which with the right-wing Lima Group members support Almagro, but by Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Agradezco a la @CONAIE_Ecuador y la @coicaorg por su respaldo a mi candidatura en #OEA. Su voto de confianza, como pioneros y referentes de la lucha por los derechos de los pueblos indígenas, me compromete a trabajar juntos por construir #UnidadEnLaDiversidad https://t.co/7f5uWPP2zm pic.twitter.com/3kBPE9K5Qo— María Fernanda Espinosa (@mfespinosaEC) March 7, 2020
The Indigenous organizations' support came with harsh criticism of Almagro as the organization argues he strayed “away from the fundamental principles of the organization’s Charter and instead of promoting peace, solidarity, and integration between nations turned the organization in the greatest factor of instability, division, and confrontation in the continent.”
Uruguay’s Almagro seeks to compromise the 18 votes he needs to be confirmed in office. During the session, he defended his management stating that he has returned the institution to “its central place as a hemispheric political forum.”
Almagro has been fundamental in the United States-led plan against the progressive governments in the region. The diplomat has defended controversial tools such as economic sanctions against Venezuela, and the coup that ousted former President Evo Morales.
“His acts even lead to situations of very worrying human rights violations very worrying, such as the events that were triggered in Bolivia, after the Secretary's actions expressing personal criteria, without authorization, leading to events that broke the democratic order in this country, which ended in violent acts and disrespect for fundamental human rights,” Conaie and Coica added.