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OAS and ORITEL Sign Letter of Intent to Help People with Disabilities

  August 10, 2012

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the President of the International Telethons Organization (ORITEL), Mario Kreutzberger, today signed a Letter of Intent to enhance cooperation between the two institutions and take steps to allow for the implementation of the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities.

During the ceremony, Mario Kreutzberger, known as “Don Francisco” in his television programs, paid tribute to Secretary General Insulza, and awarded him the first ORITEL Distinction of Honor, the highest recognition of the humanitarian organization to an international personality.

After the signing, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, Secretary General Insulza said "the situation of people with disabilities is much deeper and covers more people than many people think. The number of people suffering from some form of disability in our region exceeds one hundred million." That’s why, he said, "all issues of intervention, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, education and supplies of services to people with disabilities are so important to us, because we have to make support available to a high number of people."

The Secretary General stressed that the signing of the letter of intent with ORITEL takes place within the context of the implementation of the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Persons with Disability, and said the agreement signed will contribute to work already being done to achieve the inclusion of people with disabilities in different walks of life in the societies in the region.

Secretary Insulza recalled that ORITEL started in 1978, when Mario Kreutzberger launched the first telethon in Chile and mentioned that there are 13 countries that are part of this non-governmental organization: Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. The majority of the representatives of these countries to the OAS were present at the ceremony.

For his part, Mario Kreutzberger said, "the most important thing is inclusion, because we do not achieve anything if rehabilitate children, adolescents or adults, but we can not include them in schools, universities, unless we give them access to the stadiums, or can not enter the library or their homes."

In presenting the ORITEL Distinction of Honor to Secretary General Insulza on behalf of the thirteen countries that make up the body, Kreutzberger said "all his life, the dream of Secretary General Insulza has been to be a public servant, and you cannot imagine the great help that has given to ORITEL to keep growing.” That is why, he added, "today we present you with our Distinction of Honor as a show of our affection. Thank you for everything you have done and all that will do," he said.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event will be available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-279/12