Outgoing General Assembly prez says most powerful are to blame for UN failure to address war and poverty
As he leaves the office of the President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel d’Escoto gave Real News Senior Editor Paul Jay a no holds barred interview on the issues plaguing the United Nations. D’Escoto held the democratization of the UN as a key pillar of his Presidency, but along the way he learned of the various obstacles that keep the General Assembly from becoming an effective body within the UN, and the UN from becoming an effective body within the world. He blames the world’s most powerful states for this ineptitude to act, which has resulted in what he calls the failure of the UN to address the two objectives for which it was founded, the avoidance of war and the eradication of poverty.
Produced by Jesse Freeston
Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann recently finished his term as president of the United Nations General Assembly. His term was notable for numerous attempts to assert the authority of the General Assembly and numerous pronouncements on current events, such as the financial crisis and the Israeli siege and war on Gaza. This was a considerable departure from the highly conservative role that the General Assembly, and in particular the president, had played over recent years.
D’Escoto is an ordained Roman Catholic priest for the Maryknoll congregation, serving in 1970 as an official with the World Council of Churches. As an adherent of liberation theology, he secretly joined Nicaragua’s revolutionary Sandinista independence movement. In 1979, he was appointed foreign minister of the new revolutionary government following the Sandinistas’ overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship. He served as foreign minister under President Daniel Ortega from 1979 until their electoral defeat in 1990. He was one of a group of Latin American priests who were denounced and eventually suspended during the 1980s by the Vatican of Pope John Paul II, after their dedication to liberation theology compelled them to become involved in revolutionary politics.
In 2008, he was selected by the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to as their choice to fill the presidency of the General Assembly.