Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Speaking with the Secretary General by the OAS Press and Communications Team

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Speaking with the Secretary General by the OAS Press and Communications Team

Article excerpt

"It was a good assembly," said Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, summing up the thirty-sixth regular session of the OAS General Assembly--a restrained description for what was an excellent result, according to general opinion among the members of the Permanent Council at the close of the event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This was, strictly speaking, the first meeting of the hemispheric body's ministers of foreign affairs organized by Insulza. He had been in office for one week when he led the 2005 meeting in Fort Lauderdale. He had resigned his position as Chile's interior minister, in an emotional ceremony held at La Moneda palace, at noon on Tuesday, May 24; he boarded an aircraft that night and arrived in Washington at 9 a.m. the next day. By noon he was in his office, where he worked until late in the day with the transition team that received the baton of continuity passed on by Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi, then in charge of the Organization. On Thursday, May 26, at a special meeting of the Permanent Council, Insulza was installed as Secretary General of the OAS. Seven days later, on June 2, Insulza was in Fort Lauderdale, directing the work of the thirty-fifth General Assembly.

One year later, the efforts of the small team under his leadership culminated in an assembly that dealt openly and transparently with topics that had never before been discussed. Financial issues, for example, and other new concerns--such as migration, energy, and communications--were debated with candor and a positive mindset. Notable was the leadership and style of a man who ensured coherence between the internal and the external, a key element in bringing about the implementation of the mandates handed down by the Permanent Council. Crystallizing the policies set by the OAS requires an effective, harmonious, and strong organization, eager to pursue those goals; and, of course, it also requires the funding necessary to do so. All of this was said with sincerity. The support the member countries gave to Insulza's stewardship lent a rosy hue to the Organization's horizons because, above and beyond the praise due to good leadership, the winner in Santo Domingo was the OAS.

This was your first General Assembly. What do you have to say about the experience?

We had a very busy and very interesting Assembly, which is something that doesn't always happen at international meetings. There were debates; there were disputes that had been brewing beforehand and that were dealt with correctly; we discussed the topic that had brought us all together--technological development in our Hemisphere--and we also addressed issues that, at some point or other, we would have to begin discussing: transparency, financial concerns, other topics. We established a practice that I hope we continue to follow during my term in office. Next year, we will report on the region's electoral processes (thirteen presidential elections will have taken place), on justice, and, hopefully, on the areas that our Inter-American Democratic Charter instructs us to protect. I am happy; it was a tremendously positive event, and I hope that in 2007 in Panama, in 2008 in Colombia, and in 2009 in Honduras, we will have assemblies that are just as good or better. The simple fact that so many member countries are interested in acting as hosts shows that we are on the right path, that a new mood is prevailing. To summarize, it was a good Assembly; we made a complete evaluation of everything that was going on; we discussed issues of great importance; there was frankness among our countries; the atmosphere was very respectful. I think everyone went home happy, because the Assembly brought a very good year to a close. And I hope the next one will be even better.

Although one year is only a short period out of your five years at the head of the Organization, perhaps you have already seen some changes during that time. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.