Almagro’s  Days are Numbered as Mexico Prepares CELAC Summit to Replace the OAS

September 10, 2021

Luis Almagro, photo: Picture-Alliance

The VI Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will be held on Saturday, September 18, and Mexico is aiming for that day to finalize the proposal for the reform or replacement of the Organization of American States (OAS), which is the target of criticism under the leadership of its Secretary General, Uruguayan Luis Almagro. CELAC is made up of 33 nations from Latin America and the Caribbean and does not include the United States or Canada.

The news was announced on Thursday by the Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, in a conference held in Washington DC in which he set the main agenda of the meeting to be held next week in his country (which currently holds the pro tempore presidency of CELAC), in which the President of Bolivia, Luis Arce, will participate.

“We have to prepare for 2022 the proposal that we are going to make to the United States and Canada on what would be a different future of the Organization of American States”, he remarked, “what features would it have? how would it work? That will be discussed on September 18,” he added, according to a report on RT’s web page. The diplomat made it clear that a consensus will be sought to advance in this plan.

Already in July, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, suggested the need to replace the OAS with an organization that enjoys true autonomy without being “anyone’s lackey”. A position that was supported by President Arce, among others. This implies putting Almagro’s management, marked by controversies and accusations of meddling, as in the case of Bolivia, back in the spotlight.

In 2019, the OAS electoral mission played a key role in the overthrow of then Bolivian President Evo Morales, by issuing a report that fed the narrative of fraud in the October elections of that year in which Morales won without a runoff, who in the end resigned after being besieged by civic protests, a police riot and pressure from the Armed Forces to submit his resignation.

The final audit of the OAS found “fraudulent manipulation” in the elections, which provoked a judicial onslaught against former government authorities and former electoral officials. However, that position  was objected to by analysts and international organizations. The latest was an analysis by the University of Salamanca that dismissed any irregularities. For this reason, the Attorney General’s Office closed the investigations.

Morales’ party, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), one year later with Arce as presidential candidate, won the elections with 55.10% of the votes. For his government, what happened in 2019 was a coup d’état, in which the OAS was involved under the command of Almagro, who still defends the results of the audit. Now, there are even plans to resort to an international organization to elucidate whether there was fraud or not.

Can the OAS disappear? Mexico prepares a summit that could define the future of the organization.

Source: Plurinacional, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English