Latin America Advisor

A Daily Publication of The Dialogue

What Will Almagro Prioritize in His Second OAS Term?

Luis Almagro last month was re-elected secretary general of the Organization of American States. // File Photo: Organization of American States.

Luis Almagro, who has been secretary general of the Organization of American States since 2015, was re-elected on March 20 to a second five-year term heading the organization, garnering 23 of the 33 votes cast by member states. What does Almagro’s victory mean for the organization and for Western Hemisphere relations? What will be Almagro’s priorities during his second term, and are they the correct ones? What is the OAS’ role in the region during such challenging times, and to what extent has the organization’s stature and credibility been affected by its part in recent electoral controversies in countries such as Bolivia?


Ronald Sanders, ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States: “During Almagro’s first term, the OAS experienced bitter division, leaving the organization weak and lacking a coherent way forward. Almagro was almost a ‘one item’ secretary general, consumed by events in Venezuela and acting in concert with countries that used the organization in furtherance of domestic political agendas tied to removing the Maduro government. A majority of only 18 votes secured his control of the OAS. To operate based only on satisfying a majority, however achieved, neglects the interests of all others. The OAS will not survive in constant contention, vexation and division. Almagro’s second term provides him an opportunity to build bridges between member states and to lead a collective hemispheric agenda, which should include tackling climate change and a failing trading system; financing development; and addressing communicable diseases—all of which are integral to maintaining security, democracy and human rights. The latter should be strictly applied with no repetition of the organization’s dubious role in last October’s elections in Bolivia. He would have to be…”

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