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Left-wing Woman, Maria Espinosa, Elected President of U.N. General Assembly
by Jonathan Nack
Tuesday Jun 5th, 2018 6:17 PM
“Espinosa dedicated her victory to women in politics world wide, especially those who face gender discrimination.”
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A left-wing woman has been elected President of the U.N. General Assembly. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, who currently serves as Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, will take over as President.

Reuters reported that, “Espinosa dedicated her victory to women in politics world wide, especially those who face gender discrimination.”

Espinosa is a leading member of the governing party in Ecuador, which is named Alianza PAIS. The Party was founded by the former President of Ecuador Rafael Correa in 2006 as an alliance of socialists, leftists, and progressives.

Espinosa was a close associate of Correa and was appointed Foreign Minister in 2007. In 2008, she was a leader of the Constituent Assembly which rewrote Ecuador’s constitution, acclaimed as one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. In 2012, Espinosa was named Minister of Defense, becoming the third Ecuadoran woman to hold the post. In 2014, Correa named Espinosa as Ecuador’s Permanent Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva.

Correa, a self-described socialist, had said that the goal of Alianza PAIS was to lead a “citizen’s revolution” and to build a kind of 21st Century Socialism in Ecuador. Correa and Alianza PAIS aligned with leftist led governments, parties, and movements throughout the region.

Since succeeding Correa, President Lenín Moreno has moved to the decisively to the right towards a centrist position and, one presumes, taken a majority of Alianza PAIS along with him. Despite winning election in 2017 with Correa actively campaigning for him, and having been Vice-President during Correa’s first term, Moreno has broken sharply with Correa. Moreno has condemned Correa’s regime as corrupt, repressive, and divisive. Correa has charged Moreno with being a traitor. Moreno has reached out to Ecuador’s right-wing and capitalist media and sought conciliation with them. He has also instituted a more pro-business agenda, including multiple tax breaks; cut back on social spending; and has approached institutions of international capital, including the IMF and World Bank, for help with Ecuador’s debt.

Following a power struggle within Alianza PAIS which Moreno won, Correa led a split in which much of the party’s left-wing quit and formed a new party called Citizen’s Revolution Movement.

Espinosa apparently has sided with Moreno and more centrist forces in Alianza PAIS since she serves as Moreno’s Foriegn Minister. How much, if at all, she has changed her left-wing orientation - her commitment to human rights, to real democracy, to the poor, to the struggle against all forms of oppression, or her opposition to neocolonialism and neoliberalism, and most importantly, her opposition to U.S. imperialism remains to be seen.

Of course, even if Espinosa stays true to her left-wing roots, there is the question as to what extent, if at all, she can move the U.N. General Assembly in a genuinely progressive direction. Beyond that, there is the question of how relevant the General Assembly can be given the ultimate power of the U.N. Security Council.

As Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Espinosa defended Venezuela’s recent Presidential Election in opposition to the U.S. position that the election was illegitimate and that it would not recognize the result. In sharp contrast to the the U.S. position, which is embraced by a number of important countries in the region which have right-wing governments, Espinosa argued that the vote in Venezuela should be internationally recognized and she has opposed U.S. led efforts at foreign intervention in Venezuela’s politics.

President Moreno distanced himself a bit from Espinosa’s comments. While Moreno did not go so far as to join in the U.S. led chorus in calling Venezuela’s election illegitimate, he did raise some concerns. In this instance, Espinosa demonstrated that she was not afraid to speak her mind.