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At Brookings Institution, OAS Secretary General Makes Case for Relevance of OAS

  March 15, 2010

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today said the recent agreement to create a new regional bloc of Latin American and Caribbean countries that excludes the United States and Canada does not threaten the viability of the OAS, and made a case for the OAS as the strongest, most suitable and relevant multilateral forum for countries of the hemisphere to face and take advantage of new challenges and opportunities, and to pursue a common agenda.

“The OAS is not threatened by proposals to create new multilateral groups in the region,” the Secretary General said. “We are threatened by our own belief that we can’t do it all together.” He added: “We have to trust the most relevant organization in the region. Why not strengthen that organization which is the largest, oldest, and strongest one.”

The OAS Secretary General spoke today at a panel discussion with the former President of Peru, Alejandro Toledo, and the former President of Panamá, Martín Torrijos, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. The event, titled, “Latin America’s New Political Landscape and the Future of the Organization of American States,” was moderated by Mauricio Cárdenas of The Brookings Institution.
Secretary General Insulza also said the Organization has had many successes since he took office in 2005.

“Honduras was the tenth controversial issue we’ve had to deal with in these five years,” he said. Among the other nine conflicts, all successfully resolved with the assistance of the OAS, were those involving Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Guatemala.

With respect to Honduras, the Secretary General said, the OAS “managed to have every country in the world reject the coup. I think that was a success by itself.” The normalization of the situation in Honduras today lends support to the relevance of the OAS, he added. “The OAS after all seems to matter,” he said.

Reference: E-072/10