Media Center

Press Release


  June 24, 2009

The President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, today formally announced, at a protocolary meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), that her Government “resolutely supported” the re-election of José Miguel Insulza as Secretary General of the hemispheric organization in order to guarantee “the continuation of his efforts and evident contributions to the region.”

Addressing the permanent representatives present at the plenary meeting of the Permanent Council, Chile’s Head of State underscored the value of the OAS as a valid political tool for developing an international and regional vision rooted in multilateralism. “History has taught us that unilateralism is not the way to go. This Organization, despite our diversity and asymmetries, safeguards the fundamental principles and values for inter-American coexistence set forth in the OAS Charter, the Inter-American Democratic Charters and a whole body of law that we systematically invoke,” she said.

“This is the only forum with that power to address the Hemisphere and that is a political patrimony we must not squander. Of course, it can improve, but in our opinion it is irreplaceable. That is why I believe that all other bodies in the region must complement its efforts," she added.

After mentioning the “atmosphere of dialogue and respect” that characterized the recent Fifth Summit of the Americas, held in April 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago, the President of Chile emphasized the importance of the “fresh start” it had injected into inter-American relations and she called upon member states to "continue working in an Organization bent on strengthening its political role.” In that sense, she asserted, “José Miguel Insulza has demonstrated commitment and capacity to successfully contribute to that goal.”

“At the General Assembly session in San Pedro Sula, the Secretary General reminded us all of the importance of a regional consensus regarding a set of key issues for developing a hemispheric political agenda.” “The important thing,” the Chilean President maintained, “is for us to continue striving to translate those points of consensus into concrete actions, so that we can provide our citizens with the public goods they need to develop their full potential.”

Prior to the remarks by the President of Chile, Secretary General Insulza underscored the extensive support she currently has in Chile and said that "with her unflagging optimism, she has helped her country achieve a better life and with that she has earned the affection of her fellow citizens."

Insulza added that “in her travels in the region, the President of Chile has won our recognition of her as a stateswoman of the Americas. All of us remember how, at the Fifth Summit of the Americas, she introduced the topic that has become the political legacy of her Presidency, namely: social protection.”

During her presentation, President Bachelet also embarked on a spirited defense of democracy legitimized by citizens and imbued with social content. On that, she had the following to say: “For the democratic system to function as it should, there also has to be more and better social protection. That means opting for a society based on a rationale of cohesion, solidarity, and democracy.”

She added that that vision of a State of Well-Being did not mean resuscitating old models of a “welfare state.” “I am thinking of a new notion of State for a new democracy. That is to say, a network of policies, services, and programs to bring about the social rights we recognize for our citizens. That definitely enables us to support the most vulnerable groups, those who, historically, have been discriminated against; and to open up new opportunities and narrow the inequalities that are a blight on our societies,” she said.

In that regard, President Bachelet said that it was those values that had prompted her Government to establish an Inter-American Network of Cooperation for Social Protection: an initiative presented during the recent Summit of the Americas.

To follow up on this project, following her presentation to the OAS Permanent Council, President Bachelet and Secretary General Insulza signed an agreement aimed primarily at ongoing dissemination of social protection programs as part of activities to promote the Inter-American Network of Cooperation for Social Protection.

The Chair of the OAS Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Canada, Ambassador Graeme C. Clark, thanked the President of Chile for her presence in the Organization. “Madame President,” the diplomat said. “You are symbolic in many ways: a symbol of reconciliation of your country, in peace and democracy; and a symbol of what a forward-looking democracy needs to be: conducive to equal opportunities for men and women, full social inclusion, and the values and principles that shape our work here at the OAS”

Reference: E-205/09