-------------------------------------------------------- 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.  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.... 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.  fyi-janet ==========================  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. ============== ***NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.*** ==============  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.