HARARE, March 4 — Ecuador is learning from the inspiring revolution in Zimbabwe as it also fights to assert its rights and empower its people against sustained opposition from the West, says the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the South American country, José María Guijarro García.

Speaking to the media here Tuesday after meeting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to extend an invitation to attend the Africa-South America (ASA) summit to be held in Ecuador next year, he said his country was watching the Zimbabwean story unfold with keen interest and wanted to strengthen bilateral relations.

“We are trying to strengthen relations with progressive countries that have taken a strong stance in defending the interests of their people,” said García. “In that sense, we have been following the story of Zimbabwe and we believe it is most inspiring in a lot of ways.”

Garcia added that Ecuador was also undergoing a revolution which was still young compared with that of Zimbabwe and could learn a trick or two from quality leaders like President Mugabe, who is the current chairman of both the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Zimbabwe, dubbed a rogue country by the West after it took the unprecedented move to expropriate large tracts of prime agricultural land from the few white minorities and redistributed land to the landless black majority in a bid to address a colonial legacy, has been under sustained and systematic attacks from the West aimed at sabotaging its economic development.

The Zimbabwe government estimates that the country lost out over 40 billion USD because of sanctions which the United States and the European Union imposed. While the EU has softened its stance and has gradually lifted the embargo over the years, it left President Mugabe and his wife Grace on the sanctions.

García said Ecuador could take a cue from the leadership style of President Mugabe. “Our revolution is quite a young revolution and we feel it is very much inspiring to get close to leaders of such a quality and historical
meaning as President Mugabe,” he said.

Turning to the ASA, Garcia said the summit to be held in his country in 2016, would focus on practical implementation of projects aimed at boosting South-South co-operation.

“We have built the framework on which the two continents must work together and we feel time has come to enter a new phase of the two continents relations so that we put into practice certain programs. We need to engage in practical projects,” he said.

He said relations between the two continents should not be sporadic but systematic in a way that allowed the continents to make progress in efforts aimed at boosting their development. A strong coalition between the two continents would help dislodge domination by the North, he said.

The last ASA summit was held in Equatorial Guinea in 2013.