The members of the Organization of American States (OAS), on March 20, re-elected Uruguayan diplomat Luis Almagro as the Secretary General of the organization for another five-year term. Almagro received 23 of the 33 votes, while his opponent María Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador’s former Foreign Minister who was nominated by two Caribbean countries -Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines-, obtained 10 votes.
Nestor Mendez of Belize was also re-elected as the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS. Almagro and Mendez will begin their second term on May 26, 2020 and after they complete their mandate neither of them will be eligible for re-election.
The voting took place in a special General Assembly in Washington D.C., despite complaints raised by Mexico and 13 members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), to postpone the Assembly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almagro, who has been Secretary General of the OAS since 2015, has acted in the interest of the United States against the left-wing governments of the region, such as Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela. He has played a fundamental role in implementing and defending the imperialist interventionist strategies of the US such as the commercial and economic sanctions against Venezuela and the right-wing coup d’état against Bolivia’s socialist president Evo Morales. His re-election ensures the continuity of the imperialist interests of the US in the region and is another setback for the progressive governments of the continent.
Social movements and political organizations from across the Americas have criticized Almagro’s subservient attitude and rejected his re-election.
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales also criticized Almagro’s re-election and said that he did not respond to the true interests of the region. “With the re-election of Luis Almagro, a model of subordination is ratified and not one of integration. The peoples of the Americas must reopen the path of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to ensure that democracy and freedom are respected with respect for our diversity,” tweeted Morales.
The government of Venezuela also denounced the results of the election as an outcome of the pressure from Washington against some of the member countries. Venezuelan authorities condemned Almagro for using the organization as “a tool of collective unilateralism aimed at enforcing the imperialist will of the White House and undermining the national sovereignty of the peoples of the American continent.”