While Guyana assumed the presidency of the South American grouping UNASUR last November at a summit in Georgetown, a senior Ecuadorian official harboured doubts that this country could carry out the task, according to a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.
According to a classified cable from the US Embassy in Quito, Ecuador to Washington dated February 5, 2010, Marjorie Ulloa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ UNASUR Coordination office told US Ambassador Heather M Hodges that there were doubts about which UNASUR country would succeed Ecuador in holding the presidency.
The next term was to be Guyana’s and the cable referred to Ulloa raising doubts about whether this country would be able to do the job. Under the heading ‘UNASUR Presidency, Who’s Next?’ the cable said:
“When Ecuador completes its one-year rotating UNASUR presidency in August 2010, it is not clear what country will take it over. According to Ulloa, Guyana will likely not assume the presidency for lack of resources and personnel to effectively administer the presidency.” While Paraguay would have been next in line after Guyana, Ulloa suggested that it, too, might not be able to take on the task and the mantle would then pass to Peru.
The cable also reported Ulloa as saying that Ecuador would fulfil its promise to build a headquarters to house the UNASUR presidency and had approved the budget to fund its construction. Ulloa said that UNASUR members were avoiding the topic of selection of an UNASUR Secretary General. A selection was recently made. Colombia’s former Deputy Foreign Secretary Emma Mejía will hold the post for one year and then the post will pass to Venezuelan Ari Rodriguez.
Guyana assumed the presidency of UNASUR during a summit held at the International Convention Centre at Liliendaal in November, 2010 and attended by the heads of UNASUR countries. Those at the summit were presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Fernando Lugo Mendez of Paraguay, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Desi Bouterse of Suriname and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia. The declaration of the heads had recognised both Ecuador and Guyana.
It said heads “Acknowledge the firm commitment displayed by the Constitutional President of the Republic of Ecuador, Economist Rafael Correa Delgado, in exercising the Pro Tempore Presidency of UNASUR, whose leadership allowed significant impetus toward the South American integration process, reaffirming its constitutive values. Thanks to that political commitment and the capabilities and efficiency demonstrated by his team of collaborators, in favour of the region, they contributed decisively to the results achieved.
“Express their satisfaction with the assuming of duties by the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, as Pro Tempore President of UNASUR, wishing him great success during his tenure and offering him all their willingness and commitment to collaborate on fulfilling the region’s objectives for the coming year.”
Hodges’ cable also addressed the situation in Haiti, the fight against narco-trafficking and a meeting of the South American Defence Council.