In a short but impassioned speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Ecuador President Lenin Moreno urged world leaders to stop spending “precious resources” on war, and to “embrace the inclusiveness” that leads to peace.
“We need to focus on the people,” the president told world leaders. “The emphasis should be on achieving peace and creating a decent life for all human beings on a sustainable planet.”
In his 15-minute address, Moreno said he supports the proposed UN global agreement on migration. “Human mobility should be encouraged, not restricted, because it enriches our lives and destroys discrimination and xenophobia,” he said. “Closing the borders is never the solution.”
Specifically, Moreno criticized the U.S. blockade of Cuba. “It only promotes hatred and fear and with policies like it we can never achieve true freedom and democracy.”
Moreno praised international progress in rights for the disabled but said more needs to be done. “We still have outstanding debts to the one billion people with disabilities in the world. We need to work harder to include them in all the activities of our lives, and to make all physical, social and political institutions accessible to them.”
Moreno, who was paralyzed by a gunshot wound 20 years ago, served as United Nation’s Special Envoy for the Rights of the Disabled before running for president. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for his work on behalf of the disabled during his term as vice president, from 2007 to 2011.
The president also highlighted his plan to provide comprehensive health care for the citizens of Ecuador. “My belief is that government should provide dignified care for a lifetime, from the moment of conception until God decides to close our eyes.”