The head of US diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean, Brian Nichols, said Friday, after criticism from several countries in the OAS region, that the Organization of American States plays a “vital role”.
“I believe the OAS plays a vital role in the hemisphere and continues to be a major institution,” Nichols said at an event organized by the American Dialogue, a Washington think tank.
“It plays a crucial role in a number of issues, but democracy is perhaps the most important,” he said.
Nichols emphasized that the OAS was a key observer of the elections, advocates democracy and the rule of law, provides assistance to countries and is the forum in which countries in the region can discuss issues. We want to make sure it continues to play a vital role.”
At the Summit of the Americas, held last week in Los Angeles, several countries, especially Mexico and Argentina, attacked the Organization of American States. Even Argentine President Alberto Fernandez requested a change of leadership in reference to Secretary-General Luis Almagro.
“The OAS, if it is to be respected and returned to being the regional political platform for which it was created, must be restructured and those running it removed immediately,” he said.
“There are some countries that have criticized the OAS for possibly being too vocal in defense of democracy and human rights, and I think we have to be clear and more transparent with each other about what it means when we make these commitments about democracy,” Nichols said on Friday. It is the strongest institutional framework in the hemisphere.”
“If it’s just words, then yes, the OAS may have been very outspoken, but if it means something, we will defend it as I am proud to have done in the case of Nicaragua,” he explained.
“The fact that the Organization of American States has passed resolutions condemning the fraudulent elections in Nicaragua is important evidence of their continued vitality,” he explained.
Almagro has not publicly commented on the criticism.
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