AS the Namibian Nation prepares to celebrate 30 years of Independence, the man who played a crucial role in bringing about the international settlement that secured the country’s freedom from colonial rule, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, passed on at the age of 100.
Pérez de Cuéllar, who died on Wednesday at his home in Lima, was the Secretary General of the United Nations from 1982 to the end of 1991 through the changes brought about by the end of the Cold War.
The former UN Secretary General personally attended the swearing in of Namibia’s Founding President, Dr. Sam Nujoma, and once said one of his proudest achievements was his role in securing independence for the country.
Pérez de Cuéllar’s life spanned the entire history of the United Nations dating back to his participation in the first meeting of the General Assembly in 1946 as a junior diplomat.
When he began his tenure as the Secretary General in 1982, he was a little-known figure who had risen as a compromise candidate at a time when the United Nations was held in low esteem.
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar was born in Lima, Peru, in 1920. His father was a “modest businessman”.
His son, Francisco Pérez de Cuéllar, said his father died at home of natural causes.
The current UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, called the Peruvian diplomat a personal inspiration.