Media Center

Press Release


  June 17, 2009

The Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Virgilio Alcántara, was unanimously elected to chair the Joint Working Group of the OAS Permanent Council and the Permanent Executive Committee of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CEPCIDI) on the Draft Social Charter of the Americas.

Ambassador Alcántara, whose bid was submitted by Panama and supported by Peru, will chair the Joint Working Group for a term of six months without reelection. He will be the eighth chair of the Group since its creation.

The Dominican representative thanked the confidence of his colleagues and, even though he acknowledged the “hard work” ahead of him, he voiced his commitment to achieving steps forward in the Social Charter, that according to him “should be the third fundamental document of this organization”, together with the OAS Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

“The goal should be for the Social Charter of the Americas to define a framework of principles and objectives guiding as to exchange an unequal continent for a socially fair one,” he said at the meeting held in the Simón Bolívar Hall at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Representatives from several Member States congratulated Ambassador Alcántara on his election, wished him luck and encouraged him to push forward efforts towards a consensual text for the Social Charter of the Americas.

The Permanent Representative of Bahamas to the OAS, Ambassador Cornelius A. Smith, currently chairman of CEPCIDI, acted as spokesman of the institution and offered to the Dominican representative his “full support to the work to be undertaken under your tenure.” Also took he floor during the meeting the representatives of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Venezuela.

The work on the Social Charter of the Americas started in 2004 following a proposal by the Government of Venezuela under the title “Renewal of the Hemispheric Commitment to Fight Poverty in the Region.”

Reference: E-199/09