Media Center

Press Release


  May 25, 2007

The government of Spain, which contributes some 1 billion euros in official aid to the Americas, this year will increase its special earmark for institutional strengthening in the region, that country’s Secretary of State for Ibero-America, Trinidad Jiménez, said at the Organization of American States (OAS).

Speaking Thursday as part of the Lecture Series of the Americas, held at OAS headquarters, Jiménez said that Spain is very much aware that “the more stable a democracy, the greater the prospects for development and for more equitable distribution of wealth and, in short, for more solid societies that are also more just.” She explained in her lecture—entitled “Spain and the Americas: A Story for the Future”—the special interest that Spain places on the region. The countries of the Americas “need to tackle the challenges of the 21st century from a different perspective, one that, among other factors, fosters the harmonization of positions and the development of common initiatives,” she said.

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza welcomed the Spanish official to the Lecture Series, while the OAS Permanent Council Chairman, Ambassador Jorge Valero of Venezuela, introduced Jiménez to the audience in the Hall of the Americas. The address was carried live by Webcast and other media throughout the hemisphere.

Jiménez noted that as an actor from outside the region, Spain is both able and willing “to put political will, experience and resources behind the development of broader and more diverse relations with the region and with the countries of the Americas.” She added, “The cooperation policy that we are beginning to pursue with the OAS is evidence of this new approach.”

Jiménez cited Spain’s interest in developing even stronger relations with OAS member countries, pointing to its stepped-up relations with the Caribbean, including the appointment of the first Spanish ambassador accredited to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The Spanish Secretary of State also suggested the countries of the Americas, as a region, should take a more prominent role in globalization “so as to bring their weight to bear at the international level.” All the region’s existing integration mechanisms, such as Mercosur, the Andean Community and Central America, could serve a useful purpose in coordinating efforts and developing stronger positions, she said.

“The reason is very clear: to invite confrontation between blocs would only weaken Latin America itself,” said Jiménez, adding that the region already has strong, solid integration mechanisms in place, in addition to a history, culture, languages, and social make-up that speak to a common identity “that has extraordinary potential which has yet to be fully explored.”

The Director of the OAS Department of External Relations, Irene Klinger, moderated the discussion, which included a question-and-answer session after the keynote address by Jiménez.

Created by the OAS Permanent Council to promote democratic principles and values in the countries of the hemisphere, the Lecture Series of the Americas invites internationally renowned speakers to address key issues on the regional agenda, such as the strengthening of democracy, human rights, social development, hemispheric security and the fight against poverty. The conferences are being held thanks to financial contributions from Peru’s San Martín de Porres University and the governments of France, Greece and Qatar.

Reference: E-137/07