Pedro Molina

Assault on the OAS

The OAS will have to decide on March 24 whether to re-elect Chilean diplomat and politician José Miguel Insulza as its Secretary General. But the OAS is facing a broader challenge in the threatened departure of the so-called ALBA countries - Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay - which are seeking to establish a rival organization.

MEXICO CITY – These last few weeks have been unfortunate for Latin America. In addition to the massive earthquakes that struck Haiti and Chile, the region has also been shaken by a hunger-strike death in Cuba and a growing crackdown on human rights and opposition in Venezuela.

Making matters worse, the region also witnessed a superficially silly but actually dangerous attempt by the ALBA countries – Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay – to create, with the acquiescence of Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, a regional organization excluding the United States and Canada. The hope is that this new grouping will eventually supplant the Organization of American States.

The OAS will have to decide on March 24 whether to re-elect Chilean diplomat and politician José Miguel Insulza as its Secretary General. It should, because Insulza is probably the only figure who can both learn from and correct the OAS’s mistakes of the past five years, and thus save it from oblivion.

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