15 October, 2009
d’Escoto: From Iraq war to imprisoned Cuban 5, Americans need the courage to form a “new mindset”
“The inability of the United Nations to unequivocally reject the Iraq war has been a major factor in its demise”, says outgoing president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto. In the third and final segment of his talk with Real News Senior Editor Paul Jay, d’Escoto digs into what he believes is at the root of the US image problem around the world, its actions. He identifies the continued incarceration of the Cuban 5 in US prison as an example of the hypocrisy of the “global war on terror”. But while d’Escoto points out President Obama’s unwillingness to use his authority to single-handedly pardon the five Cuban intelligence agents, he expresses a great deal of support for Obama. “I really trust President Obama,” d’Escoto says, “but he is going up against the same reactionary forces that we faced in the third world when we tried to change things.”
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.