Media Center

Press Release

OAS Secretary General Highlights the Role of Latin American Armed Forces Following Natural Disasters

  March 25, 2010

During a celebration of the 68th anniversary of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today highlighted the role the Armed Forces have played following the devastating earthquakes that struck Haiti and Chile. The event was held at the Board’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“These countries’ Armed Forces and those of the region are ready to put all their resources, technologies and tenacity towards the mitigation of the pain inflicted by such tragedies, to provide security and shelter and participate in the work of reconstruction,” the Secretary General declared.

“Their commitment and performance are what best exemplify the concept of Multidimensional Security that guides us, the idea that a safe hemisphere is a hemisphere of human beings free of necessities and free of fear,” he added.

Secretary General Insulza also emphasized that “to the OAS the first concern is the security of people,” and recalled that the final Declaration of the Special Conference on Security held in Mexico in 2003 indicates “that the basis and raison d’être of security is the protection of people. The condition of human security improves with the full respect for the dignity, the human rights and fundamental liberties of people, as well as through the promotion of economic and social development, social inclusion, education and the fight against poverty, disease and hunger.”

The head of the hemispheric organization also highlighted the modification to the Statute of the Inter-American Defense Board made in 2006, “because not only did it signify a fundamental change in the institution of the Board, but also was a very important expression of the general effort that, throughout the last decade, the Inter-American System has made to catch up to this new global paradigm in matters of security.”

In this sense, Secretary General Insulza expressed the need for the Inter-American Defense Board to be “an entity of the highest level, dependent on the General Secretariat of the OAS for collaboration with the rest of the Organization’s Secretariats on the work that our countries demand from us. That is why we have created the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security.”

The Secretary General of the OAS also underlined the work that the Armed Forces have had to carry out “at the internal level, because of the spread of drug trafficking and criminal gangs” and asserted that “the Inter-American Defense Board has been very successful in the work that has been entrusted to it, such as in the elaboration of the White Papers on National Defense, which have brought transparency to the information and justification of armament acquisitions and particularly the humanitarian demining activities in some countries of our region.”

Reference: E-094/10