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At UN, Farewell to Mr Coffee, Indians Make French Connection, Immunity Compared

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 25 -- In the blur of UN receptions, in the daze of National Days and farewells to departing Ambassadors, some cannot be missed. So it was this week for India's National Day on January 23, and the farewell to Colombia's Nestor Osorio, heading to London to represent his country there.

  When Osorio arrived three years ago to take Colombia's Security Council seat, it took him some time to get his feet under him. But he was unfailingly polite, and when he left the Council he became president of ECOSOC, most recently brokering a compromise on language about Palestine in a resolution.

  In London, he told Inner City Press on January 24, the issues are more concrete: increasing the number of direct flights to Bogota, talking up and getting support for the process with the FARC.

  On the FARC, Osorio was able to fill in the gaps for the Free UN Coalition for Access of a VICE "Correspondents Confidential" piece about a journalist being briefly taken hostage there. The UN will be a little sleepier without Osorio.

  India is a power rising if not already risen: even late in the liquorless reception there was the President of the General Assembly and his entourage, Iran's newsy Permanent Representative Khazaee, and various Ambassadors talking to UN Department of Field Support's Ameerah Haq, showing off their support to mission in Mali and South Sudan.

  Talk there was not only of the Indian diplomat Khobragade who was arrested, strip seached and indicted, then told if she comes back into the US she will be arrested. Numerous attendees commented to Inner City Press about its contrast with the French diplomat Romain Serman, taken into New York police custody for attempting to purchase cocaine (and not cooperating with the arresting officer).

  But when Serman left the US, unlike Khobragade he was allowed to come back in, as France's consul in San Francisco. Attempts to obfuscate or even censor this story were panned amid samosas and skewers of vegetables and tofu. The contrast between the censor and Osorio could not be more clear.

  Colonialism mixed with increasingly unjustifiable P3 status breeds contempt. When will that farewell be? Watch this site.

Footnotes: Inner City Press in early 2011 nicknamed Ambassador Osorio "Mister Coffee," and since then has wondered if it was too harsh. But Osorio never let it stop him from answering questions, or explaining his positions.

  This is in contrast for example to UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous. After Ladsous proposed in the C-34 committee the UN's use of drones, and Inner City Press spoke with member states who complained, Inner City Press called him Herve "The Drone" Ladsous.

  This led to push-back and even threats bordering on censorship. It is to combat this, and the other threats cited above, for which the Free UN Coalition for Access was formed, and offers Osorio a 21 espresso salute.


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