Media Center



  June 7, 2004

QUITO, Ecuador — The Foreign Ministers of the Americas by consensus today elected former Costa Rican President Miguel Ángel Rodríguez as the new Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS). Rodríguez will succeed former Colombian President César Gaviria as head of the hemispheric Organization for the next five years.

Rodriguez was elected during the OAS’ thirty fourth regular General Assembly session, which opened yesterday. His candidacy was submitted by Costa’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Roberto Tovar Faja, who underscored Rodriguez’ professional and personal qualifications, while commending Gaviria’s “fruitful leadership” of the OAS.

The Foreign Ministers of Mexico, Luis Ernesto Derbez; Trinidad and Tobago, Knowlson W. Gift; and the Dominican Republic, Francisco Guerrero Pratz, underscored how the former Costa Rican leader’s vision and experience augurs well for the OAS.

Adding their support for Rodriguez’ candidacy were, among others, the Foreign Ministers of Chile, Maria Soledad Alvear Valenzuela; Belize, Assad Shoman; Bolivia, Juan Ignacio Siles del Valle; Colombia, Carolina Barco; Guatemala, Jorge Briz Abularach; and the head of Canada’s delegation, Senator Daniel Hays, Speaker of the Senate.

Accepting and expressing appreciation, the OAS Secretary General-elect pledged “to promote the inter-American ideals.” He added, “We want to pursue freedom, justice and development so that every citizen of the Americas can enjoy a decent life and realizing his or her full human potential.”
Rodriguez went on tell the Foreign Ministers: “I know the rudder belongs to the member states and I pledge my utmost creativity and devotion in charting a happy course.”

Welcoming his successor’s election, Secretary General Gaviria declared that “with the election of Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, the OAS will certainly enter a period of renewal and strengthening.” He added: “President Rodríguez brings solid experience. He has served his country with distinction and is more familiar with the hemisphere’s problems than most. His discipline, seriousness and professionalism will bring a positive influence to bear on inter-American American relations.”

Reference: GA-008-04