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New Inter-American Defense Board Authorities Sworn In

  June 30, 2011

The new Chairman and Director General of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), an affiliate of the Organization of American States (OAS), were sworn in to their respective posts today during a ceremony at the body’s headquarters in Washington, DC, with the participation of OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza.

The Lieutenant General of the Brazilian Air Force and outgoing Board Chairman José Roberto Machado e Silva turned over the duties he has exercised since July 2009 to Lieutenant General Guy Thibault of the Canadian Forces. At the same time, the outgoing IADB Director General and Brigadier General in the Army of Trinidad and Tobago, Ancil W. Antoine, welcomed Major General Juarez Aparecido de Paula Cunha of the Brazilian Army, the second person to occupy this post, established after the creation of the legal link between the OAS and the IADB in March 2006.

Secretary General Insulza thanked the outgoing authorities for their efforts and accomplishments; in particular, of General Machado, the outgoing Chairman, he said the work conducted during his Chairmanship “fully expresses the hemispheric commitment of the IADB to work in a new institutional scheme and strengthen its organizational ties with the OAS, to better face the traditional and new challenges and threats confronted by our Hemisphere.”

The head of the OAS also recalled some of the objectives achieved this year in the Hemisphere in matters of security, such as the success of the Organization’s 41st General Assembly in San Salvador, in which the States of the region “reiterated their political will and collective commitment to promote coordinated actions to strengthen citizen security with the goal of preventing crime, improving law enforcement, rehabilitation and social reintegration, with an integral approach to fighting criminals, violence and insecurity, and with special attention to the threat of organized crime.”

In this sense, Secretary General Insulza also mentioned the challenges yet to be faced and made a call to “redouble our efforts in making the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter a reality,” the charter’s tenth anniversary being an event for commemoration this September. The top representative of the hemispheric organization asserted that the principles established in the Charter “refer to crucial issues such as human rights, freedom of expression, the separation and independence of the powers of the State, transparency in the exercise of governance, respect for the rule of law and institutions, effective citizen participation, the respect for the rights of women, workers and minorities, and the full recognition of political pluralism in society.”

Finally, Secretary General Insulza recalled the recent creation at the OAS of the Department of Defense and Hemispheric Security “as a focal point of the work with the IADB, its Secretariat, and the Inter-American Defense College.” This Department, he said, must develop activities to share information and best practices with civil and military leaders responsible for formulating defense and hemispheric security policies; develop education initiatives for peace; promote and disseminate trust-building measures for the strengthening of peace and hemispheric security; and coordinate activities related to peace or assistance missions following natural or humanitarian catastrophes in the Hemisphere.

For his part, the new Chairman of the IADB, General Guy Thibault, asserted that he assumes the Chairmanship of the Board “with some reforms in mind.” Among his goals he mentioned that the Board must have an effective and productive working relationship with the rest of the OAS, which includes regular and direct engagement of its defense and security stakeholders and joint planning of all of activities; that the Board advise the OAS pertinently and appropriately, not only offering answers to the specific consultations made by the bodies of the Member States of the Organization, but also undertaking a proactive commitment; that it redefine its role and its contributions within the inter-American architecture of defense and security cooperation; that the Board play a role among multilateral institutions in the Hemisphere as an advisory body to the OAS in military and defense matters; and that the Board enhance its reputation and credibility among the OAS Member States. “The IADB must be at the center of a constellation of clearly linked multilateral institutions that cooperate perfectly,” General Thibault concluded.

A gallery of photos of the event will be available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-747/11