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77th UN General Assembly, An Assessment of the Role of Latin American Leaders

Bolsonaro sobre Lula: "Hemos acabado con la corrupción sistémica" que casi acaba con Petrobras

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Once again, another UN General Assembly has taken place, making it the world’s most important diplomatic event of the year. Why? Simply because it is a meeting where heads of state and dignitaries from all over the world gather.

This year’s edition is marked by two major events, firstly, it returned to the face-to-face format after a two-year interruption due to COVID-19, and secondly, because of the context of the war provoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On the first day of the event, the Latin American leaders were the protagonists. The President of the United States, Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky also spoke at the event.

Paraguay’s Mario Abdo Benítez of Paraguay made his last presentation on that stage, since he will not be in office at the next Assembly. Benítez focused his words on freedom and questioned Maduro’s authoritarian regime. Undoubtedly, the oppressed people of Venezuela will not forget him and his position will transcend the annals of Paraguayan diplomatic history.

The President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, emphasized the achievements and the great positive transformation he has experienced in going from leading one of the most dangerous countries in the world to one that is safe and where the citizenry is widely satisfied for having fixed things at home.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro offered a somewhat extensive speech where he criticized former President Luis Ignacio Lula Da Silva —without naming him— by pointing out that 270 billion dollars were stolen from PETROBRAS, which not only seriously compromised the very operation of the industry but also the country’s economy.

Bolsonoro criticized the media for spreading manipulated or false news, reminding them that in his government, while the world was sinking in inflation, in Brazil there was stability, besides the fact that more people came out of poverty in his government than in the periods of socialist governments. He also stressed the defense of the Amazon and reminded them that it is an area where 20 million people live.

Brazil’s president referred to the crisis in Venezuela, whose authoritarian government has expelled 6 million people to the world, of which 350 thousand Venezuelans have been welcomed in Brazil and today have not only documentation but also access to public services such as social security. He closed, declaring himself a defender of freedom and life from conception, against LGBT ideology and offered his doors to receive Nicaraguan priests, victims of the persecution of Ortega’s tyrannical regime.

Colombia’s Gustavo Petro began his speech with the phrase, “I come from a country of a bloody beauty.” With a tone of intellectual height and even literary flight, he masked a radical attack on the capitalist system, which he erroneously blamed for environmental ills and climate change. Petro apparently thought he was the great leader of the world in those 20 minutes of his speech, in a clear act of infinite arrogance, as he pontificated on how the world policy on drugs and cocaine, in particular, should be.

The comparison between oil and cocaine is absurd, since oil is a source of energy and raw material for multiple products, while cocaine is not an essential product for life. Besides, if he defends coca so much, why hasn’t he decriminalized its production and medicinal or recreational consumption in Colombia? Undoubtedly, Petro is a great orator, he still has a long way to go to be proven as such at the head of the management of a complex State like the Colombian one, we will see how Colombia will fare in its fight against capitalism.

Nahem Reyes is a PhD in history from the Andrés Bello Catholix University and associate member of the American Studies Center of the Central University of Venezuela. // Nahem Reyes es doctor en Historia de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello y miembro asociado del Centro de Estudios de América de la Universidad Central de Venezuela.

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