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President of Costa Rica: “The OAS Represents Much More than the Sum of its Countries”

  June 12, 2014

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today received, in a protocolary meeting, the President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís, at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington, DC.

President Solís said that “clearly the Organization of American States represents much more than the sum of the countries that comprise it,” and added that throughout its existence “the OAS has been able to combine the spirit of the Liberator, who hosts us in this Hall, and the spirit of a Latin America and Caribbean that represents one of the leading vectors in the international reality of our times.”

On behalf of Costa Rica, said President Solís, “I want to revisit, reaffirm, and commit once again the support of my country for the efforts of this Organization.” In terms of the challenges facing the region, the Costa Rican leader said “the greatest challenge that we face is combating poverty while generating greater wealth, and the twin challenge to this is guaranteeing greater levels of integration, inclusion and equality and non-concentration of that wealth, which has unfortunately been the main sign of recent times.”

In addition, he emphasized the need for governments to carry out “an effort to design public policies that allow for the development of growing opportunities in areas like education or public health or access to new technologies.” “Little is achieved by democracy clinging to an electoral point of view, or even from an economic or social point of view, if it is not accompanied by a growing concern for the legitimacy produced by transparence,” added President Solís.

In his conclusion, the leader of the Central American country described the OAS as “a vertex of the national efforts whose value has not decreased, rather that continues to shine as a lighthouse of hope for many countries of our region.”

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, welcomed President Solís, highlighting the closeness of the main tenets of the new government and “those that inspire the actions of this Organization.” In the pillars of the plan of government of the Costa Rican leader, said the Secretary General, “we see not only the central theme of our recent General Assembly, ‘Development with Social Inclusion,’ but many of the mandates, programs, and projects of the OAS.”

“You are coming into government at a moment of uncertainty for the region,” said Secretary General Insulza, “in which we are expecting, according to the data, slower economic growth than in other years.” In this environment, said the leader of the hemispheric institution, “we must do the difficult jobs – transform society, concentrate on the issues of education, science and technology, and the problems of the distribution of income and on social inclusion,” among others.

The Secretary General highlighted the inclusion of “an important number of young people” in the cabinet of President Solís, and recalled that when he was present at the inauguration in San José “we could feel the enthusiasm, the hope, the readiness for change, and the optimism among the population.” In his conclusion, the OAS leader wished President Solís “the greatest of success, and to that end we put at your disposition all the capabilities of this Organization to help.”

The Chair of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the OAS, Jacinth Lorna Henry-Martin, praised in her introduction of President Solís the contributions of Costa Rica in terms of democracy, human rights and living standards. “The OAS thanks the government and people of Costa Rica for teaching us so much and we look forward to more progressive contributions coming out of your country,” said Ambassador Henry-Martin.

Before the protocolary meeting, the OAS Secretary General received President Solís in his office at the headquarters of the Organization. During the meeting they discussed the current political and economic context in the region, in particular in Costa Rica. Present in the meeting were the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, Manuel González Sanz; the Minister of Trade, Alexander Mora; the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the OAS, Edgar Ugalde Álvarez; the Chief of Staff of the Secretary General of the OAS, Ambassador Hugo de Zela; and the Secretary for External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñonez.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event will be available here.

The audio of the event will be available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-251/14