In a Special General Assembly on March 18, 2015, the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) will cast their votes for the next OAS Secretary General. After a campaign among a variety of candidates, Uruguay’s former Minister of Foreign Relations, Luis Almagro, is the only candidate remaining and is widely expected to take the helm of the regional body following Wednesday’s vote.
WOLA stands behind its endorsement of Mr. Almagro and believes that he is firmly dedicated to human rights and the rule of law in the Americas.
The OAS is a critical institution for problem solving in the Western Hemisphere, but it faces serious challenges to its effectiveness. One of the largest of these is the fact that its budget is supported by a relatively small group of donors, and WOLA believes that widening this share across more member states would contribute to the strength of the OAS overall.
“Mr. Almagro is a very smart man who will be taking on a difficult job,” said WOLA’s Executive Director Joy Olson. “Once elected, the onus will fall on the countries that supported Mr. Almagro to also commit to supporting the OAS itself. If the OAS is to be truly representative of every country in the Americas, each member state needs to contribute its fair share of financial support.”
WOLA also applauds Mr. Almagro for his commitment to a constructive vision of regional integration with diversity. In that context, he has spoken of the complementary nature of other regional organizations, such as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). His focus has been on working in collaboration, not in competition, with these organizations, and WOLA believes this kind of multilateral approach holds great promise for the future of democratic engagement in the hemisphere.
Communications Director, WOLA