The former Minister of Health of the Iván Duque government, Fernando Ruiz, was quite upset by the decision of the government of Gustavo Petro to withdraw support for his candidacy to be the next director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and warned that Beyond the reasons that have been had to make this decision, it was not thought that Colombia would be the most affected.
In a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Álvaro Leyva, Ruiz Gómez assured that for the first time, after 120 years, the country had the opportunity to be at the head of this international organization, something that was a right of all Colombians, taking into account the history and important role that has been played .
“Consequent to the decision adopted, I allow myself to request the official withdrawal of Colombia’s candidacy for said position, on the understanding that the term to present candidates expired on May 30 and therefore it is not possible for Colombia to present a different candidate. Ruiz said.
The election of the next director of the Pan American Health Organization is scheduled for September 26 and Fernando Ruiz was one of the most likely candidates to retain this position. Nevertheless, the Foreign Ministry decided to withdraw support for this professional, arguing that even the country It is not clear who he will vote for.
For the former Minister of Health, these types of announcements are unfortunate, since it was almost a reality that Colombia would be at the head of this international organization, which on many occasions His management stood out when he was in charge of this portfolio, especially in relation to handling the pandemic.
“In my position as a Colombian, as well as a candidate, I regret the position taken, since more than 20 countries had accompanied and supported Colombia’s aspiration. A logical and natural aspiration, since our country has not held that position in the 120 years of the organization and with the aforementioned decision, surely our country will not have an effective option for the next 10 years”, said Fernando Ruiz.
Although there were initially six candidates, now without the option of Fernando Ruiz, they remain in the split: Camilo Alleyne from Panama, Jarbas Barbosa Da Silva Jr., from Brazil, Florence Duperval from Haiti, Nadine Flora Gasman from Mexico and Daniel Salinas, presented for Uruguay. Colombia’s favoritism goes to the Mexican candidate for now.
“For the rest, I am left with the immense satisfaction of having represented in a dignified manner the aspiration of my country, an aspiration that I sustained in the continental recognition of the strength and coverage of the Colombian health system, of the very effective response during the Covid pandemic. -19, as well as the equity and access achieved by the vaccination plan; which resulted in thousands of deaths prevented throughout the national geography”, concluded the former Minister of Health.
The election of the next director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, the executive branch of PAHO, will take place at the 30th Pan American Sanitary Conference, to be held from September 26 to 30, 2022. The Conference will elect the director from among the candidates proposed by vote secret. The candidate who receives the majority of the votes of the Member States will be appointed.
PAHO has 35 member countries, among which are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, the United States, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela and several other Caribbean countries. It should be noted that at least 20 of these 35 countries supported the candidacy of Fernando Ruiz, but now they will have to look for another candidate, given the lack of support for the former minister by the National Government.