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Secretary General Insulza: "The Sixth Summit showed that although there is no common policy, the Americas have a common agenda"

  April 24, 2012

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today spoke of the main results and conclusions of the Sixth Summit of the Americas held in Cartagena, Colombia on April 14 and 15, noting that the hemispheric meeting revealed that the Americas have a common agenda, although there is no common policy on how to address the issues.

"Even though the priorities and concerns are the same, the Americas are not as bound together as we would wish and there is still work to do. We must find ways to cooperate on pending issues and that is what will determine whether this will be a successful decade for the Americas," said the leader of the hemispheric organization during the conference organized by the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC.

He further explained that although the Summit did not have a final political statement, it served to highlight the importance of addressing issues such as competitiveness, poverty, inequality, crime and insecurity, natural disasters, climate change, infrastructure and technology. "In these areas, countries reached important consensus that give us a broad agenda to work on in the next few years," he said, and reiterated that beyond the differences in approaches and the path to be taken to address them, there is great agreement on the real problems the region faces.

Referring to the debate on drug policy, Secretary General Insulza explained that the presidents attending the summit called for the OAS to explore different scenarios and formulate policy proposals on how to address the drug problem, considering the link between drugs and organized crime and issues such as criminalization and decriminalization. He explained that through the inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, the OAS "is going to review all policies and alternatives to make proposals to the Presidents." He forecast that these proposals can be ready “within ten months," and announced the plan to work on this issue with other organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), given the importance of having a comprehensive approach to this scourge .

In his presentation, the OAS leader emphasized the need to have a unified policy on combating drugs, in accordance with what was expressed by the leaders attending the summit, who agreed that coordinated and unified action is the only alternative.

Speaking about the issue of the Malvinas Islands and its debate during the Summit, the Secretary General acknowledged that this is a topic that still divides the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean on one hand, and the United States and Canada on the other, and recognized that during the presidential meeting there was a level of restlessness surrounding the topic. He also reiterated his hope that the countries involved would reach a solution through dialogue.

On the issue of Cuba and its possible participation in the Summit process and in the development of the inter-American agenda, another topic discussed at the summit, the head of the hemispheric organization recalled that Cuba has not accepted the procedure decided for its return to the inter-American system, nor has it expressed interest in doing so. Nevertheless he noted that "the debate was about what is the best policy to have cooperation, dialogue and security in the region, and in that sense, some believe that the exclusion is not the best alternative." He also acknowledged that in the Summit, many countries did not see a problem in giving Cuba the opportunity to attend the Summit of the Americas every three or four years.

At the end of his presentation, Secretary General Insulza reiterated that Cuba should not continue to be an obstacle to advance the hemispheric relations affirming that "it is an artificial issue that continues to divide the Americas."

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

A video of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-138/12