Media Center

Press Release


  November 16, 2005

José Miguel Insulza, the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Secretary General, reiterated today that the Fourth Summit of the Americas held this month in Mar del Plata, Argentina, was a productive discussion in which the leaders agreed on an approach to the major issues facing the Americas. “Anything can be said about the Summit of the Americas except that it is doesn’t have any relevance and that nothing happens in it,” Insulza stated.

He was delivering keynote remarks during a forum on “The Fourth Summit of the Americas: Results and Challenges Ahead.” It was held at The George Washington University, a joint initiative of the OAS Department of Communications and External Relations and GWU Center for Latin American Issues. Insulza was welcomed to the University by the Center’s Director, Dr. James Ferrer, Jr. The Summit theme was “Creating Jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance.”

Summit issues arising were discussed by a panel comprising John Graham, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL); James Ferrell, President and CEO of Aeropost International Services, Inc. and Aerocasillas, S.A.; John Maisto, United States Ambassador to the OAS; and Rodolfo Gil, Argentina’s Ambassador to the OAS.

“What is reflected in the Summit is the very clear and unanimous view of the main problems we face, the main obstacles we face, the things that we have to do and, in the plan of action the commitments to carry them out,” Secretary General Insulza explained. “And that leaves for the system and for the governments a lot of tasks.” He added that the leaders at the Summit were not implementing policy but rather seeking to “agree on a blueprint which we are going to be following the next few years.”

Of hemispheric free trade that he said dominated media coverage of the November 4-5 Summit, Insulza remarked that “everybody should know that the issue was not going to be resolved in the Summit of the Americas.” He said the Summit, however, did set forth “a clear-cut task” and that “we must show now that we are capable of acting as a hemisphere on this trade matter and try to move forward.”

FOCAL’s John Graham pointed to strong contributions by the Summit, while also noting certain factors that could further strengthen the process, including the presence of finance ministers as important decisions have financial implications. James Farrell, meanwhile, lauded the opportunity the Summit provided for private sector participation, and he underscored the need to come together “to solve the really serious problem of poverty.”

The U.S. Ambassador deemed the Summit a success based on objectives and results relating to the reaffirmation of representative democracy as well as “the important relationship between sound macroeconomic policies, growth, job creation, and poverty reduction,” among others.

“We did a great job,” asserted Ambassador Gil of Argentina, reiterated that the meeting’s success was led to a “very, very good declaration and a very important plan of action.” Like the OAS Secretary General, the Argentine envoy stressed that while some leaders may be growing tired of summitry, this unique Summit of the Americas “gathers all of us from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego” and important things were accomplished.

Former OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi moderated the debate, which also enjoyed spirited participation from the audience.

Reference: E-266/05