Chile Stands with Ukraine During EU-Latin American Summit


Christopher Stewart

July 19, 2023

Chilean President Gabriel Boric was vocal in urging other Latin American nations to condemn Russia, decrying those who “don’t want to say it’s a war in Ukraine.”

President Gabriel Boric of Chile has condemned Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine and called out nations refusing to also voice opposition to Moscow.

At the Brussels summit of the EU and Latin American countries, Nicaragua refused to sign on to the section that expressed “deep concern” over Russia’s full-scale invasion, while Boric supported “clear condemnation.”

“I think it is important that from Latin America we say it clearly: what is happening in Ukraine is an unacceptable war of imperial aggression in which international law is violated,” Boric said.

“I understand that the joint declaration is blocked because some do not want to say that it is a war against Ukraine,” he said, referring not only to Nicaragua’s stance but also the watered-down wording that convinced some other countries in the region.

Chile’s Foreign Minister, Alberto van Klaveren, echoed his president’s sentiment: “We’re very sorry for the situation. And really, I mean, we’re very surprised that there are members of our group which oppose any resolution concerning this war,” he said.

“It’s a war of aggression.”

On July 18, 59 of the 60 countries agreed with the blander version of the statement, with Nicaragua refusing to sign.

President Boric has also publicly condemned Nicaragua’s dictator Daniel Ortega who is accused of human rights abuses.

The “situations of human rights violations such as those occurring in Nicaragua or the crisis in Venezuela are intolerable, and should not be tolerated,” Boric said at the summit.

“I feel obliged to say that situations like those occurring in Nicaragua today, or the terrible crisis that has led to the exodus of more than six million Venezuelans, which we see in Chile where we have welcomed more than a million of them, are intolerable and should not be tolerated in Latin America or anywhere else in the world.”

Some other CELAC leaders were lukewarm toward condemning Russia with stronger statements. In recent months, Brazilian President Lula da Silva has blamed Ukraine for the war and has said that Western military aid has fueled the conflict, while Argentina and Columbia have remained neutral.

The following section of the declaration was signed by all other 59 nations, including Argentina, Brazil, Columbia and Cuba after it was toned down, with Nicaragua being the only country not to agree:

“We express deep concern on the ongoing war against Ukraine, which continues to cause immense human suffering and is exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy… In this sense, we support the need for a just and sustainable peace. We reiterate equally our support for the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the efforts of the UNSG to secure its extension. We support all diplomatic efforts aimed at a just and sustainable peace in line with the UN charter.

“We reaffirm our commitment…  to respect the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of all nations. It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability,” the finalized document reads.

President Boric summed up: “Today it’s Ukraine but tomorrow it could be any of us. In this, we cannot have doubt or complacency that could be had at one time or another with any leader.

“It doesn't matter if the president of a country likes or dislikes it, the important thing is respect for international law.”