Time to Make the OAS More Effective
The future of the
At issue is whether Insulza, a Chilean-born former foreign minister,
has been too shy in denouncing government attacks on democratic
institutions in countries such as
Insulza is running for another five-year term. The 36-country OAS is
to vote on his reelection at its
Aren't they right? I asked Insulza in an extended interview earlier
this week. Where were you when Venezuelan President
Or when Chavez staged a coup against the democratically
elected opposition mayor of
Insulza said that he criticized these and other attacks on democracy
'I DON'T GO OUT ON A LIMB'
You see yourself as a bureaucrat? I asked. Insulza responded: "Those are the [legal] limitations that we have. As for whether I am a bureaucrat, no. But I don't go out on a limb either. I am not the president of the OAS. The Secretary General is called that way because he implements actions stemming from collective mandates."
Asked about his critics' point that he can request meetings of the
'DIFFERENCES IN EMPHASIS'
As for what would be different in his second term if re-elected,
Insulza said that "there would be differences in emphasis." He said
that it is "indispensable" to find ways to make sure that all OAS
member countries enforce decisions by the
My opinion: I would prefer a more pro-active OAS leader, such as
outgoing Costa Rican President and Nobel Prize winner
Considering that Insulza probably already has the votes to be reelected, democratic countries should take him at his word, and ask that he formally commit himself to strengthening the OAS' human rights and democracy mandates.
The OAS' problem is not Insulza. It's the group's absurd tradition of reaching decisions by consensus, which in a polarized region amounts to a recipe for not making any substantive decisions.
The OAS needs to create a
Barring that, the OAS' future -- with Insulza or without him -- will be as mediocre as its past.
Brazil Election to Offer Definite Contrast
With Brazil's government-backed presidential hopeful Dilma Roussef rising in the polls, some of her most prominent critics are raising the specter that South America's biggest country will move closer to the radical left if she wins the October elections
U.S. Foreign Aid Cutback Plan Sends Wrong Message
Perhaps, Obama's 2011 foreign aid budget request reflects priorities in world affairs as it looks like Obama is saying 'adios' to Latin America. Obama's foreign aid request to Congress calls for a 13 percent increase for Africa, 7 percent increase for the Middle East and nearly 60 percent increase for South and Central Asia. By comparison, a nearly 10 percent cut in aid for Latin America.
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