The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today received the President of Peru, Ollanta Humala, in a protocolary session in which the Peruvian leader highlighted the economic achievements in the last decade in the region and particularly in his country, and identified Latin America as the key for the world’s successful and efficient emergence from the global crisis.
The OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, welcomed the participation of President Humala, who was accompanied on his visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eda Rivas Franchini, and highlighted the economic successes in the region, especially in Peru, noting that these achievements have come in a time of global economic crisis. "In this adverse international scenario our region has had an unusual dynamism and Peru has been one of the main protagonists. This has been based not only on an appropriate economic policy but also on social commitment," he said.
Referring to the important role that Peru plays in the OAS, the head of the hemispheric organization recalled that the South American country "will always be identified with the Inter-American Democratic Charter, signed in Lima on September 11, 2001, a fateful day for other reasons, a day that consolidated a period in which we ensured that all countries represented here were democratic." In the same vein, the head of the OAS welcomed the efforts of Peru in the formulation of the Social Charter of the Americas, adopted last year in the General Assembly of Cochabamba, "which highlights the priorities of our states on social issues and the need to outline specific goals and tangible results for the benefit of the development of all our citizens."
The Secretary General thanked Peru for its efforts to strengthen the Inter-American System of Human Rights and affirmed that the country "will always find unequivocal support from the organization for the protection and expansion of the democratic gains it is achieving."
In presenting his remarks to the Permanent Council, President Humala alluded to the contributions that the countries of the Western Hemisphere have made to the world and stressed that Latin America "is a place of opportunity for various blocs around the world, and a key player in finding a solution to the financial crisis," and called for strengthened relationships with Asia and the United States.
The President of Peru also referred to the challenges the region is currently facing, among which he mentioned the need to diversify its economies; to strengthen domestic industries; to promote greater competitiveness; to invest more its contributions to knowledge; to provide more and better access to research and training; to create opportunities for youth; to address the infrastructure deficit; to promote rural electrification; to diversify the energy matrix using non-traditional sources; and to work constantly in the distribution of wealth. "Growth and distribution are dynamic and can be worked on simultaneously," said the President, who recalled that "none of us can say that we have made it on our own, at some point we all need a hand to help lead us on our way, we should give the same opportunity to the millions of young people in America living in poverty or in rural areas."
President Humala made special reference in his speech to the debate on the effectiveness of current drug policies based on the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas released recently by the OAS under the leadership of Secretary General Insulza. The Peruvian President spoke of the need to confront the scourge with a sense of shared responsibility because "no national policy can resolve this serious problem, this threat to our society, if we do not work with supranational policies and if we do not establish joint responsibility with the countries that generate a large global demand," he said, and called attention to the need to reassess the concept of cooperation to include binding commitments. "What we need to do as partners is to assume responsibilities, establish a shared vision of the problem and identify responsibilities and goals to achieve," he said.
The South American country's leader called for developing initiatives aimed at the integration of the entire population, including the consolidation of an educational policy and access to health development and security. At this point he mentioned some of the programs that the government of his country has implemented to combat chronic malnutrition in rural areas, improve access to education, services and health coverage, and access to broadband, all them for a "consolidation of the middle class that promotes social inclusion."
President Humala concluded by stating that "social inclusion is a valid and permanent concept that the peoples of Latin America must learn, as this is not the poorest region in the world, but it is the most unequal." Therefore, he said, "we cannot talk about development if we do not solve the problem of inequality. Without that effort, all poverty measures are relative."
In the presentation of the meeting, the Chair of the Permanent Council and Representative of Panama to the OAS, Ambassador Arturo Vallarino, stressed the longstanding commitment of Peru "to security and collective defense to avoid conflicts, reduce armaments and redirect resources towards the fight against poverty, peace and confidence for development and hemispheric security, which make Peru's role in OAS activities fundamental and indispensable.
Prior to the presentation to the Council the Peruvian President held a private meeting with Secretary General Insulza in which they reviewed current issues in the region as well as the debates of the 43rd OAS General Assembly, held in Antigua, Guatemala, from June 4 -6.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The B-roll of the event is available here.
The video of the event is available here.
The audio of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org