Latin America unites against U.S. imperialism

2005-05-03

Richard Moore

--------------------------------------------------------
From: "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Date: Tue, 03 May 2005 08:30:21 -0300
Subject:  OAS no longer US fiefdom + O.A.S. to Pick Chilean Socialist U.S. 
Opposed 

This week, for the first time in the institution's history,
the US was stymied not once but twice, as South America and
the Caribbean nations united in opposition to the US-backed
candidates for the OAS Secretary General.   [1]

In a rebuff to the Bush administration's efforts to press
Latin America to take a tougher stance on Cuba and Venezuela,
a Chilean Socialist emerged Friday as the consensus choice to
become secretary general of the Organization of American
States....[2]

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited South America
last month in what was seen as an effort to stitch together an
anti-Chávez coalition, but got nowhere. Ms. Rice came to the
region this week with much the same mission and received the
same chilly reception from governments for whom the principles
of nonintervention and sovereignty are nearly sacred.  [2]

fyi-janet

==========================

[1] OAS no longer US fiefdom
http://www.spectrezine.org/weblog/index.php?p=71
02/May/2005

Anyone wondering how much influence the Bolivarian Revolution
is gaining outside Venezuelan borders might look to this
week's vote in the Organization for American States for
insight. Historically, the institution has been dominated by
the United States, which provides 60% of the organization's
funding. In the past, OAS leaders backed by the US had been
assured an easy victory.

This week, for the first time in the institution's history,
the US was stymied not once but twice, as South America and
the Caribbean nations united in opposition to the US-backed
candidates for the OAS Secretary General.

Originally the United States had put its vigorous support
behind former El Salvador President Francisco Flores. But
after an intense lobbying campaign, Flores failed to generate
momentum with other member nations and dropped out of the
running.

With two candidates remaining, the US shifted its support to
the NAFTA-backing candidate from Mexico, Ernesto Derbez.
Venezuela publicly backed Chilean Foreign Minister Jose
Insulza, a former adviser to slain President Salvador Allende.
This Monday, the thirty- four member nations deadlocked.
Significantly, the 17-17 voting blocks remained consistent
through 5 rounds of voting, throughout all manner of
behind-the-scenes deal making and arm-twisting.

Regional wariness with the Bush administration reached a
tipping point after the United States approved the coup
against President Chavez in 2002 and participated in the
ouster of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide last year.
What's more, Bolivarian notions of regional solidarity played
a significant role during the vote, as South American and
Caribbean nations stuck together even as Mexico reportedly
offered material enticements to gain support.

A new vote is scheduled for May 2.

 ==============

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==============


[2] O.A.S. to Pick Chile Socialist U.S. Opposed as Its Leader
http://tinyurl.com/9trb4 [NY Times] April 30, 2005 By LARRY
ROHTER

RIO DE JANEIRO, Apr. 29 - In a rebuff to the Bush
administration's efforts to press Latin America to take a
tougher stance on Cuba and Venezuela, a Chilean Socialist
emerged Friday as the consensus choice to become secretary
general of the Organization of American States.

The O.A.S. is scheduled to convene in Washington on Monday to
formally elect the Chilean, Interior Minister José Miguel
Insulza, 62. His opponent, Luis Ernesto Derbez, the Mexican
foreign minister and Washington's favored candidate, withdrew
Friday afternoon after negotiations in Santiago, Chile, that
involved Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and several of
her South and Central American counterparts.

It is the first time in the organization's history that a
candidate initially opposed by the United States will lead the
34-member regional group. Until it became clear that the
numbers were not in its favor, the United States sought twice
to block Mr. Insulza, by first supporting a Salvadoran and
then Mr. Derbez.

The selection process was dogged by contention and deadlock
for months. It finally came to balloting on April 11, but five
rounds of voting all ended in a 17-to-17 tie between Mr.
Insulza and Mr. Derbez, split largely along North-South lines.

American officials traveling with Ms. Rice, who was in the
Chilean capital, described her as having brokered the deal
that allowed Mr. Insulza to claim victory.

But some South American diplomats suggested Friday that the
shift in the United States position was a calculated retreat
in response to warnings to Ms. Rice in Brazil and Colombia
earlier in the week that Washington was risking a potentially
embarrassing loss.

"Secretary Rice has supported a consensus, and therefore the
candidate of the United States is now me," Mr. Insulza said at
a news conference with Ms. Rice and Mr. Derbez on Friday. "For
that reason, nobody should feel defeated."

Mr. Insulza also said the organization must broaden its
mission and begin to "hold governments that are not governed
democratically accountable" for their actions. Aides to Ms.
Rice said she had insisted on such language, which is clearly
aimed at President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, the most
outspoken South American critic of the Bush administration.

The O.A.S. was founded in 1948, part of the same post-World
War II American effort to construct a multilateral foreign
policy that also led to the creation of entities like NATO.

The United States contributes about 60 percent of the
organization's $76 million annual budget and has traditionally
played the dominant role in the group, whose missions include
monitoring elections and mediating political disputes in
member countries.

Washington's decision to back down and support Mr. Insulza
ends a dispute that had become "a real mess, a bitter fight,"
said Michael Shifter, a senior policy analyst at
Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based research group.
"It's going to require a lot of work, a lot of diplomacy, to
repair things, but this process has not exactly endeared U.S.
officials to the joys of multilateralism in the Western
Hemisphere."

The standoff began to take shape in October, when the newly
chosen, Washington-backed secretary general, former President
Miguel Ángel Rodríguez of Costa Rica, resigned two weeks after
taking office to face accusations of corruption at home.

The United States transferred its support to another Central
American, former President Francisco Flores of El Salvador,
but immediately encountered wide resistance. Much of that came
because Washington's support for Mr. Flores was widely seen as
a reward for El Salvador's role as the only country in Latin
America to send troops to Iraq.

It became clear that Mr. Flores had no chance of winning, and
on April 8 he withdrew. The election was then transformed into
a proxy fight over Cuba, which was expelled from the O.A.S.
after Fidel Castro took power, and its main Latin American
ally, Venezuela.

The United States has repeatedly cited Chile as an example of
economic and political stability for the rest of the
continent, and a free trade agreement between the countries
went into effect last year. But even though he is considered a
moderate, Mr. Insulza is nominally a Socialist, and he not
only favored steps to bring Cuba back into the organization
but also had the support of Mr. Chávez.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited South America
last month in what was seen as an effort to stitch together an
anti-Chávez coalition, but got nowhere. Ms. Rice came to the
region this week with much the same mission and received the
same chilly reception from governments for whom the principles
of nonintervention and sovereignty are nearly sacred.

"It's counterproductive both to see what she is saying on
Venezuela and what they are doing at the O.A.S., but the U.S.
just doesn't seem to get the political and diplomatic
reality," said Riordan Roett, director of the Western
Hemisphere program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced
International Studies in Washington.

If Washington wants South America to act as an interlocutor
with Mr. Chávez, he added, "it would have been easy to drop
our support for Derbez and push for a consensus at the O.A.S."

Still, Mr. Chávez made the situation difficult for his allies
with insults aimed at the United States and the organization.

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