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News > U.S.

OAS Countries Re-Elect Luis Almagro as Secretary With 23 Votes

  • Luis Almagro at the electoral precincts in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, March 2, 2020.

    Luis Almagro at the electoral precincts in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, March 2, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 20 March 2020

The former President of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinoza, obtained 10 votes.

In a favorable outcome for President Donald Trump's foreign policy towards Latin America, twenty-three countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) Friday re-elected Luis Almagro as the Secretary-General of this institution, a position that he will hold until 2025.


OAS to Hold Secretary-General Elections Despite COVID-19, 13 States Object

His opponent, the former President of the UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinoza, who was chancellor during the Rafael Correa administration in Ecuador, obtained 10 votes.

“The fight for the OAS throne has taken place at a time of division in the region... Almagro drags Nicolas Maduro's detractors, while Espinosa… aspired to capitalize on the weariness of some countries with the Secretary-General,” the Uruguayan outlet Notimerica commented.

The vote of the countries took place in an extraordinary General Assembly marked by controversy. Previously, a group of countries, including Mexico and 13 members of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), asked the meeting be postponed due to difficulties caused by the Covid-19 spread.

In fact, candidate Espinosa could not be in the room where the vote was held because the OAS decided to limit attendance due to the virus.

Her candidacy had previously been endorsed by Mexico and other Caricom countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Almagro was re-elected with less support than he achieved five years ago when he received 33 out of 34 votes.

Although he promised that he would not run for reelection,  he announced in Dec. 2019 that he would run for a new mandate, a decision that the U.S. and its Latin American allies appreciated.

Over the past year, the Trump administration's support for Almagro has been evident, especially after the role that the OAS played in the coup against Bolivia's President Evo Morales last November.​​​​​​​

In a speech to the OAS in January, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo campaigned for Almagro and exerted enormous pressure on the rest of the countries to capture votes in favor of his candidate.

Subsequently, he met in Jamaica with the foreign ministers of six Caribbean countries to ask them to support him.

Besides, the White House publicly urged Peru's ambassador Hugo De Zela to withdraw his candidacy for the OAS Secretariat arguing that he was "dividing" the hemispheric bloc.

On Monday, De Zela announced that he was abandoning his claim to lead the OAS.​​​​​​​

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