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Secretary General Received Award from the Government of Paraguay

  July 24, 2013

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today received from the government of Paraguay, the National Order Award of Merit "Don José Falcón," which was presented by Foreign Minister José Félix Fernández Estigarribia in a ceremony that took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the presence of several senior officials, including former President Juan Carlos Wasmosy, several former Foreign Ministers and the diplomatic corps.

The Foreign Minister began his remarks by calling Secretary General Insulza "a dear friend of Paraguay" adding as an expression of gratitude to Insulza that "there is only one thing more sublime than fighting for the freedom of one’s own country, and that is fighting for democracy in the Hemisphere."

After making mention of the high positions held by Insulza in his country, and calling him "Foreign Minister," the head of the Paraguayan Foreign Ministry said that in his country "we are freer today, with better elections and, I must recognize that we have depended on your cooperation, Foreign Minister Insulza." He added that "as Paraguayans who are building their democracy, with applause we try to reward the man who did not leave us alone in stormy times."

Foreign Minister Fernández Estigarribia, emphasizing the gratitude of the Paraguayan people for Secretary General Insulza, said he was aware that in Chile "a large majority of your fellow Chileans are asking for your presence in the search for an ever possible improved democracy," but he asked of him that " before deciding, keep in mind what many other fellow Latin Americans think and they ask you to stay with us in the attempt to build better regional spaces."

In his acceptance speech, the OAS leader said that in every complex situation "I have tried to be guided by principles, because it is the only way to respect oneself," and recalled on this point the words of Benito Juárez, citing his maxim: "Respect for others is the law."

"There were principles to be respected and we respected them," he said, referring to the actions of the OAS last year. He added that "I think the OAS acted well and correctly in ensuring that Paraguay would overcome the situation it was experiencing, and that everyone contributed to a solution."

The Secretary General reiterated that "far from sanctioning a country, we chose to support what was needed to strengthen its democratic system and to achieve, less than a year later, a valid, participatory and peaceful election process."

In his conclusion, Insulza said: "We trust in Paraguay, we conformed to our principles and had a result that exceeded all expectations. If the award is for this, it is undeserved, because the credit goes to the Paraguayans. But I accept it with pride, because we have fulfilled our duty as we always should, with respect for the law, the rights, and the sovereignty of the states."

Also present at the event were the Permanent Representative of Paraguay to the OAS and current Chair of the Permanent Council, Martín Sannemann; and the representatives of the OAS in Paraguay and Uruguay, Diego Paz and John Biehl, respectively.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-282/13