Media Center

Press Release


  March 23, 2009

Secretary General José Miguel Insulza of the Organization of American States (OAS) said the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago will take place in an atmosphere of “good sense” and a multilateral vision of the region will prevail. “We will have a Summit in which many things are going to be said, but no unreasonable demands are going to prevail.”

According to Insulza, US President Barack Obama will overwhelmingly meet a spirit of co-operation from the continent’s dignitaries, most of whom he will meet for the first time in Port of Spain between April 17th and 19th.

The Secretary General announced that the attitude that will prevail at the Summit will be one of “give the president of the US the possibility of developing his policy, but don’t press him too hard on issues that we all know that he can’t solve today”, although he admitted that “of course that’s not going to be everybody’s attitude.”

Insulza also referred to US-Latin America and Caribbean relations, where according to him, the key resides not in who is in charge in Washington, but what approach the White House takes towards its neighbors.

“The countries of the region are willing to engage more in multilateralism in a common agenda, provided that we agree this is what we all want to do multilaterally,” he said. “The problem is a unilateral setting of the agenda and a multilateral implementation of the agenda.”

In a conference at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, Secretary General Insulza also mentioned the possibility of the OAS organizing in the future the Summits of the Americas.

The summit could be organized by the Organization of American States every 2 or 3 years”, Insulza said. The meetings of Heads of State and Government should be part “of the normal mechanisms of the OAS,” and other Inter-American organizations should also take part in it, the same way they already do at the OAS General Assembly.

The OAS holds annually a General Assembly. The 39th Edition will take place from June 1st to 3rd in San Pedro Sula (Honduras). The Summit of the Americas has taken place lately every four years.

Insulza spoke at the presentation of the study “The Americas and the World”, coordinated by the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE). In his speech, Insulza highlighted that Latin America still entertains a certain paradox: “We would like our countries to be more engaged with the world, but at the same time we have a certain mistrust or a negative vision.”

At the same time, Insulza called the United States to willingly integrate the countries in the area in multilateral dialogue. The Secretary General highlighted that Washington barely discusses “the World’s problems” with Latin America, and only does so in times of crisis.

Reference: E-092/09