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‘Ecuador will maintain its firmness for the principles of freedom, democracy and the Republic’

In an interval of the foreign ministers’ summit that on Friday crowned Argentina as president pro tempore of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Minister of Foreign Relations and Human Mobility of Ecuador, Juan Carlos Holguín, spoke with Clarín.

It was an interview in which, accompanied by Ambassador Xavier Monge, it also differed from the regimes of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, although he strongly defended this mechanism for dialogue and regional cooperation that is CELAC.

On Friday, the Colombian Vice Minister, María Carmelina Londoño, offered a harsh speech on the presence of those three countries strongly opposed to Washington. “We cannot have opportunistic silences in the face of fundamental values ​​that were and will always be the defense of democracy, freedoms and human rights,” said the speech.

The following is a synthesis of the dialogue of Clarion with Holguín.

Ecuador and Colombia were converted into two different liberal islands in CELAC. Do you see it as an alternative space, if not one of confrontation with the OAS as proposed by Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, among others?

Well, I think you have to understand that CELAC is one more space for regional integration. For us, this Latin Americanist vision of integration will always be positive in terms of what has happened so far, for example, regarding vaccination.

There was a good vision for Mexico to achieve that this organization help the countries of one of the worst moments of the pandemic through the Presidency of Mexico in CELAC, that Ecuador has just received a very important batch of donated vaccines.

And I believe that in terms of health, in terms of cooperation, in terms, for example, of issues that many times our countries can do little from their public policy or from their State structure, aerospace issues, for example, CELAC can be an entity that is positive for Latin America.

And in politics?

Politically there will always be differences. There are many countries, as was marked at the Mexico Summit, that perhaps have different opinions on how to cope with the democratic system in our countries. Democratic republican values ​​that do not go according to the principles that other countries have taken.

The Celac AFP Summit

But that is what these organisms are for, to externalize those differences. But it is very necessary for the development of our countries that there be an organ of conversation where we can sit down and exchange the interests that our citizens of each country have.

Is there any discussion other than the ones you are facing now in this presidency?

This CELAC meeting was a meeting where Argentina took the pro tempore presidency that was scheduled to take place already at the Mexico summit. Due to the internal issues that are public knowledge (Nicaragua had opposed and now it has not) it could not happen. Most of the countries have tried to be here to show the importance that CELAC can have in these areas of regional discussion.

Well, Nicaragua has been granted enough from Argentina to give its consensus.

President (Guillermo) Lasso has been publicly critical of what happened in the Nicaraguan elections and they are those points of disagreement in which countries like Ecuador will at least always maintain its firmness for the principles of freedom, democracy and republic that President Lasso hoisted.

What did you speak with Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero in the bilateral meeting you had on Friday?

The bilateral relationship at the commercial level is quite deep. Ecuador and Argentina have a series of issues to discuss together. For Ecuadorians, Argentina has been a destination for many years. Since the early 2000s of many students. We have had more than 6000 students a year in Argentina.

Therefore, the conversation has to take place to improve not only human mobility issues, but also business issues. Cooperation matters, for example, in matters of security and defense, are important things for this bilateral relationship, present bond that has extended an invitation to President Fernández to Ecuador. And that’s part of the conversation this morning. Hopefully it can happen very soon to continue, to strengthen the ties of friendship between both countries.

Alberto Fernández had several clashes with former president Lenín Moreno, whom he even accused of being a traitor to Correa. With Lasso, whom he did not support, the relationship also improved but there is still no meeting

President Lasso maintains a policy of the meeting based on the interests of Ecuadorians. It is a policy of maintaining relationships despite ideological differences with all the countries that make up not only the region, but the world. I believe that the pandemic has to make us understand that today we are living a new reality, a new reality, not only at the health level.

We would have thought that, or rather said before, we would not have thought that certain countries had to turn to certain countries to supply themselves. For example, highly developed countries that had a supply crisis. Ecuador is ready to show the world what the world needs in this pandemic and therefore a vision from President Lasso to focus his foreign policy on trade.

In this new stage. A first stage was diplomacy, vaccines and now a commercial diplomacy to try to have the largest number of free trade agreements that are reflected in changing the quality of life of those most in need in Ecuador.

Alberto Fernández twice tried and postponed the trip to see Lasso in Ecuador. What happened?

Unfortunately they were issues that happen in the day to day of our presidents, but the relationship is going through a good time and we hope to have the visit of President Fernández soon in our country.

Foreign Ministers pose for a group photograph prior to the start of the Plenary Session of the XXII Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in the San Martín Palace, ceremonial headquarters of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs , in the city of Buenos Aires Xinhua

Foreign Ministers pose for a group photograph prior to the start of the Plenary Session of the XXII Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in the San Martín Palace, ceremonial headquarters of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs , in the city of Buenos Aires Xinhua

Do you consider that the hand of Rafael Correa is present in the destabilization of the Lasso government?

President Lasso publicly expressed his vision that a correista force could be linked to the destabilization attempts in Ecuador. But we are focused on governing, on governing with peace, with openness to dialogue with all political groups in Ecuador.

And that is the new stage of this government in which the President has called them the government of the meeting. And we hope that these attempts at destabilization will be questioned by the same population, as has happened until now.

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