Media Center

Press Release


  January 26, 2008

Secretary General José Miguel Insulza has reiterated the Organization of American States’ (OAS) support for moves by Bolivian President Evo Morales’ government towards political dialogue with various segments of society holding different views on the new Constitution drafted by the Constituent Assembly.

Wrapping up his two-day visit to Bolivia, where he had also met with the President, Secretary General Insulza met in La Paz with Vice President Alvaro García Linera, Deputy Foreign Minister Hugo Fernández, La Paz Mayor Juan del Granado and new Planning Minister Graciela Toro. Defense Minister Walker San Miguel also took part in the meeting.

Discussions revolved around serious problems arising in several cities after torrential rains and flooding that claimed two lives. The meeting with the Vice President also touched on developments in Bolivia since the Constituent Assembly drafted a new Constitution. Articulating President Morales’ views, Vice President García Linera told Secretary General Insulza that in order to find areas of agreement, the government intends to meet with groups opposed to the new constitution drafted and approved by the Constituent Assembly last December 14.

For his part, Insulza told the Vice President that he stands ready to help facilitate agreement with Prefects who are very much against the new Constitution entering into force. He stressed the need for “mutual trust between government and opposition, to bring about an atmosphere conducive to crucial dialogue.”

During his Bolivia visit, Insulza also met with National Elections Court (CNE) President José Luis Exeni, who gave him a draft agreement for the OAS to send a technical mission to Bolivia to support the reworking of the voter’s list and citizens registry. The mission is to be sent at the request of the CNE, which is seeking to modernize the electoral agency and make it more transparent.


Returning to Washington, Insulza stopped over in the city of Santa Cruz, meeting at the Viru Viru airport with Department Prefect Rubén Costas. The Secretary General told Costas he would be willing to support any effort aimed at dialogue between the government and groups actively opposed to the new Constitution taking effect. Acknowledging the serious differences and how difficult it was to encourage positive attitude to negotiation, Secretary General Insulza said he would refrain from commenting on the ideological elements of the recently-drafted Constitution, as it was not his place to do so. He said, however, he felt the draft supported by the Morales administration contained nothing that runs contrary to democratic principles insisted on by the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

The OAS Secretary General said that Bolivians themselves are the ones to speak up for or against the new document produced by the Constituent Assembly. Furthermore, he argued, this calls for negotiation around an agenda outlining the main areas of disagreement, so as to engage in the kind of dialogue that Bolivians so deserve after their difficult transition to democracy.

Reference: E-014/08