Media Center

Press Release


  January 28, 2005

Former Salvadorian President Francisco Flores, one of the candidates seeking to become Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), outlined his broad vision stressing the urgency of such OAS agenda issues as combating extreme poverty, spurring economic growth and creation of opportunity for prosperity, and protecting society’s most vulnerable.

Flores told a special sitting of the OAS Permanent Council Thursday that to effectively combat poverty, member states must be able to deliver on certain basic needs like roads, energy and telecommunications. “Without such investments, prosperity will remain illusive, and there will be no way out of poverty,” he warned, calling the lack of widely-available and affordable telecommunications a form of isolation.

After his Foreign Affairs Minister, Francisco Laínez, introduced him Mr. Flores told the member state ambassadors that, burdened with debt and high-cost education and health-care systems, developing countries need resources to provide their citizens the necessary infrastructure to generate development opportunities.

Paraguay’s Ambassador Manuel María Cáceres chaired the Permanent Council meeting, where Mr. Flores further outlined his proposal for a regional, state-guaranteed system of incentives to enlist multilateral financing institutions, private banks, and aid donors in a regional development thrust. He argued, “This is the way to access fresh resources, allocate them where the need is greatest, and help provide developing states with the means to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.”

Flores applauded “the great credibility” he said the OAS enjoys with regard to priorities that include protecting freedoms by ensuring transparent electoral systems. He suggested, however, that in general the hemispheric body “must be better positioned at the center of the hemispheric debate.” That is the OAS’ greatest challenge—to restore its relevance and prestige, he argued.

Besides Mr. Flores, the official candidates for OAS Secretary General are Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez and Chile’s Interior Minister José Miguel Insulza. The Secretary General will be elected by the member states at a date that is yet to be determined.

Reference: E-016/05