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OAS Commemorates the “Discovery of America: Encounter of Two Worlds”

  October 15, 2010

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today celebrated the 518th anniversary of the “Discovery of America: Encounter of Two Worlds” during a protocolary meeting with Cristina de Borbón, Infanta of Spain, as a special guest.

The OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, highlighted the “most active and most complete proximity” of Spain towards America “in recent decades,” and affirmed that the Organization is “grateful and fully aware” of the “strength and significance the role of Permanent Observer to the OAS has acquired.”

“In the last period Spain has become an entry door for all Latin America towards Europe,” the head of the OAS said. “The strength of the presence of your country in the European continent today is incomparable,” he added, while thanking the presence of the Infanta Cristina as “new evidence of the proximity Spain has acquired with our America during the reign of Juan Carlos.”

The Chairman of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the OAS, Joaquín Maza, recalled that the celebration of the Discovery “is charged with deep historic symbolism.” “Columbus began an era of change for the two continents, the world’s borders broadened and the international system was transformed,” he said.

“That is why this is a new opportunity to renew our commitment to make America a continent of prosperity, justice and freedom, where every human being is valued and respected,” Ambassador Maza added.

The Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Javier Sancho, asserted that the date of October 12 is “a day for commemoration and also for reflection” because “that day changed history, our history.”

Ambassador Sancho emphasized in his speech that “in 1492 there was a mutual Discovery. Spain is present in the history and legend of America, but Spain wants above all to be part of the present and future of America. Spain is in America because it is America.”

With respect to the role of Spain at the OAS, Ambassador Sancho said that “we are very satisfied to be permanent observers to this organization. Nevertheless, this status does not define or encompass our relationship. We feel we are more than that. Spain is with the OAS not only when it’s time to celebrate, but above all when it’s time to work.”

The Permanent Representative of Ecuador, on behalf of the ALADI Group; of Guyana, on behalf of CARICOM; of the United States; and of the Dominican Republic, on behalf of SICA, also delivered speeches during the protocolary meeting to commemorate this date.

At the end of the meeting the Permanent Representative of Chile spoke on behalf of his government and to all countries of the region, reiterating the gratefulness experienced for the show of support, solidarity and joy at the recent rescue of 33 miners who had been trapped near Copiapó, in the region of Atacama.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-384/10