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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Long Live Kofi Annan!
Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel discusses the late United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and the international community's Responsibility to Protect.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

Kofi Annan took the trip to immortality in 2018. He succeed Boutros Boutros Ghali, a Secretary General who was found guilty of practicing independent thinking in particular as it related to the approach taken by permanent members of the Security Council. And he was the first UN employee to rise to the helm of the organization. His legacy is mixed as is the U.N. history been ever since it was created in San Francisco.

To be sure, the U.N. is supposed to act as a peacekeeping institution and the standard bearer for the protection of human rights -- Needless to count the instances when the U.N. has failed to fulfill its promise. The Korean War, the Vietnam War; the multiple nontraditional wars in Africa; the War in Central America; the Balkans War and the wars in the Middle East; the North of Africa and Indonesia. And as far as gross violations of human rights go, the list is not shorter. Liberia; the former Yugoslavia ; Rwanda-Burundi; India; Bangladesh, Indonesia Argentina, Chile and Uganda are just a few of the nations that incurred in humanity crimes.

All these shortcomings moved Kofi Annan to seek ways to dry out the sources of violence and war. He soon realized that barbarism started within nations not between nations . He decided to search for antidotes. And soon he found one. The responsibility to protect is a principle enshrined in the U.N. Charter and under Annan's leadership was a protective shield to civic society when attacked by a genocidal government.

Annan who was very respectful of sovereignty indicated when pushing for adoption of the responsibility to protect principle that "some crimes are so shameful, so unacceptable that we cannot sit back and let governments use sovereignty as a shield." He further described the motion as the accountability arm missing in all other international rules protecting human rights.

And it was through his expert brinksmanship that he saw the responsibility to protect (R2P) international legislation adopted by the international community. R2P has an executive platform that is the Global Centre for Responsibility to protect.

This UN agency voted last week to incorporate the situation in Venezuela in the agenda for the General Assembly of the United Nations with a view toward mobilizing international support to protect the civil population from further annihilation plans by the current regime.

According to the meeting records "member states found that the current regime in Venezuela had failed to fulfill the first and most important duty of sovereignty which is protecting the people within its borders." Accordingly, the Venezuelan population is fleeing into neighboring countries to preserve their lives.

This stampede away from public policies that deliberately starve the population is creating instability and pressures on development in recipient countries. The deeds of the Venezuelan regime are thus inflicting undue hardship to the Venezuelan population and the region as a whole.. The responsibility to protect has therefore shifted to the broader international community.

The decision is ground breaking, as for the first time since its adoption in 2005 R2P will be launched in Latin America. This consolidates the legacy of Kofi Annan who made history by setting limits to sovereignty and to brutality.

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.


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