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News > Latin America

OAS Head Almagro Seeks Re-Election With US, Colombian Support

  • The OAS Secretary General speaks at a forum on organized crime in Miami, Florida. October 23, 2018.

    The OAS Secretary General speaks at a forum on organized crime in Miami, Florida. October 23, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 6 December 2018

Shortly after his announcement, Jair Bolsonaro's future foreign minister announced his support for Luis Almagro.

After the governments of the United States and Colombia expressed their support, Luis Almagro announced his intentions to run for reelection as Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) 2020, continuing with its current trend in regional policy


OAS Chief Threatens Military Force Against Venezuela

On his Twitter account, Almagro said on Thursday he “accepted the responsibility” conferred to him by the U.S., Colombia and “a group of countries.” No other Latin American politician has announced her or his intentions to run for the position, but Hugo de Zela, deputy foreign minister of Peru, said that “it was too early” to make a decision during an interview with dpa in September.

“We shouldn’t hurry, we must let Almagro work,” De Zela declared.

Almagro, who served as foreign minister of Uruguay during the administration of Jose Mujica, needs a simple majority, 18 out of 34, to be re-elected by the General Assembly for another five years.

He began his first term in May 2015 with 33 votes, as the only candidate, and pledging then not to run for reelection.

Support for Almagro in the international organization comes mostly from right-wing governments, especially the U.S. and Colombia, due his strong position against leftist governments such as Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Hours after Almagro’s announcement the future foreign minister of Brazil, Ernesto Araujo, said the government of Jair Bolsonaro will support his re-election, citing his “firmness and courage” when “defending democracy and combating authoritarianism in the region.”

In June 2018, he filed a complaint against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged crimes against humanity, distancing himself from the previous secretaries’ more neutral position.

During a visit to Colombia in September, Almagro even suggested a military intervention in Venezuela.


Nicaragua: 'Interventionist' OAS Commission 'Not Welcome'

"As for a military intervention, we should not rule out any option. ... Diplomatic actions are in the first place, but we must not rule out any action,” he declared from Cucuta, a border city.

The ALBA countries, the Bolivian President Evo Morales, the governments of Uruguay and Cuba and many others condemned his comments, and the Spanish government also threatened with legal repercussions when Almagro insulted ex-Prime Minister Jorge Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Colombian President Ivan Duque has also expressed his intentions to use the OAS as a means to sanction Venezuela at a continental level.

In May, the Venezuelan government confirmed it would renounce to its membership from the OAS citing “its original condition as a colonial body, at the service of Washington’s ambition for dominance in our region.”

Through the statement, Venezuela condemned new aggressions by the OAS and the United States, aimed at “disturbing the peace of the Venezuelan people, repeating the nefarious practice of U.S. interventions that have caused such harm to Latin America and the Caribbean,”

Such a rogue style in international politics has earned Almagro support from the U.S., Colombia and the rest of the Lima Group, created with the purpose of toppling the Bolivarian Revolution, within the OAS.

The Secretary-General has traditionally been occupied by a Latin American politician, the only exception being when U.S. citizen Luigi Einaudi, then deputy secretary, took over after Miguel Angel Rodriguez stepped down due to a corruption case in Costa Rica.

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