In light of the upcoming elections for Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), civil society organizations have invited candidates Luis Almagro, Hugo de Zela, and María Fernanda Espinosa to answer a questionnaire to provide greater insights into their vision and strategies for the regional organization should they be selected—or re-elected—for the position.
This year, the vote is scheduled for March 20 and will take place during an Extraordinary General Assembly in Washington D.C., in which OAS member states will cast their votes. The winner must secure at least 18 votes to fill the position.
Once elected, he or she will be responsible for leading the OAS from 2020 to 2025, and will have to respond to the needs of a region marked by high rates of violence, constant and changing flows of migrants and refugees, the impact of fragile democracies across several countries, among other crises with continental impact.
The questionnaire was designed by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), and the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) in the spirit of fostering greater dialogue and transparency. It covers five general questions on their professional experience, the role of the OAS in addressing regional challenges, the importance of protecting and promoting human rights, and the urgency of maintaining the independence and autonomy of human rights protection mechanisms.
Hugo de Zela and María Fernanda Espinosa answered the questionnaire within the established deadline.
Get to know the candidates:
Created in 1948, the OAS gathers state representatives from across the hemisphere in Washington, D.C. to foster a space for governance and multilateral dialogue. It also includes the main organs of the Inter-American System for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights—the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Through this initiative, our three organizations seek to promote a process that will increase dialogue between the people running for the office of Secretary General and the public at-large. By publishing the biographies and proposals developed by the candidates, the organizations coordinating this effort hope to strengthen and legitimize the institution.
*The translations to English were carried out by the organizers. The original version of the responses were provided by the candidates in Spanish.