Media Center

Press Release

At the OAS General Assembly, the President of Ecuador calls for strengthening of democracy in the Americas

  June 4, 2012

The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, accompanied by the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, took part today in the first plenary session of the forty-second regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) taking place in Cochabamba, Bolivia. At the start of the session, President Correa addressed the representatives of the Member States in a speech focusing on human rights and democracy in the Americas.

The Ecuadorian President called for a strengthening of democracy and the start of a debate within the OAS aimed at achieving an inter-American human rights system "adapted to the rapid pace of change in our Hemisphere." He warned that "if we fail to correct the last vestiges of neoliberalism and neocolonialism in our America, our peoples will not forgive our failure to take historic decisions." "We must search for something new, better, and truly ours," he said.

In that context, the Ecuadorian President stressed the risks associated with freedom of expression and criticized the part played by some media in the Hemisphere which, in his opinion, did not defend that principle, but other interests. He warned: "What this debate focuses on is not freedom of expression, which we all defend, sometimes with our lives, but the ethical and technical contradiction between private business for personal profit and the political interests of groups”, which, he said, goes against “an indispensable right of society, namely the right to information.”

"How to change this situation should be one of the major discussions of the planet and a matter of the utmost urgency for our America," he said.

Later on, President Correa said that "the real threat to democracy and genuine freedom of expression does not stem from our governments, which, with immense democratic legitimacy, are bent on changing our countries without submitting to any powers that be other than to our peoples, who gave us our mandates." He said that "the real danger was posed by bad media and businesses serving their own interests while invoking principles as sublime as human rights and freedom of expression."

Referring to the need to protect the democracies of the Hemisphere, the President of Ecuador, who is attending the General Assembly at the invitation of the host country, said that the mere holding and verification of elections was "far from being the essence of democracy," which lay, above all, in "equal opportunity." On that, he noted: "Our America is still a region of stark contrasts: the most Christian part of the world and the region with the greatest inequalities."

Despite his criticisms of the way the OAS operates in certain matters, the Ecuadorian President commended the work of its Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza.

The General Assembly was inaugurated on Sunday, June 3 and will officially close tomorrow, Tuesday, June 5. At Bolivia's request, the central theme of the Assembly is "Food Security with Sovereignty in the Americas."

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event is available here.

The audio of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-205/12