News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. Mar. 20, 2015: The Organization of American States has a new secretary general and a new assistant secretary general.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay Luis Almagro was this week elected by the member states of the OAS as secretary general for the next five years, during the XLIX Special General Assembly held this morning at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington, D.C.
The former Uruguayan Foreign Minister received broad support from the member countries that participated in the XLIX Special General Assembly, which cast 33 votes in favor and one abstention, to elect him as successor to the current Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza.
In his first speech, Almagro said he would work to ensure that the Organization is guided by the interests of the billion people who inhabit the Americas with pragmatism, the search for unity and solidarity as the pillars of his administration.
The Secretary General-elect is 51 years old, is married and has seven children. Besides Spanish, he speaks English and French and is a lawyer by profession. Before having led the Uruguayan Foreign Ministry for the last five years, he was Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China for five years, and held senior diplomatic posts in the Foreign Ministry of his country, and diplomatic representations of Uruguay in Germany and Iran.
The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) also elected the Permanent Representative of Belize, Ambassador Nestor Mendez, as the next Assistant Secretary General of the hemispheric institution.
Ambassador Mendez obtained 24 votes from the member states, compared with 10 received by the Permanent Representative of Guyana, Bayney Karran. Ambassador Mendez will succeed Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin on July 12th.
Upon accepting the position, the Assistant Secretary General-elect said he stood before the countries that elected him to the post “with a clear mandate and an unwavering commitment to seize the opportunity that is before us to work together to transform the OAS into the Organization that we want and that the people of the Americas deserve.”
He thanked the member states for their votes, calling it an important gesture for the Government of Belize, and recalled that his country, “considered an effective bridge between Central America and CARICOM has an important contribution to make to the Inter-American System, anchored in the fundamental principles enshrined in the OAS Charter, the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the Social Charter of the Americas.”
Mendez has served as Ambassador of Belize to the OAS and to the Government of the United States since June 2008. He was an advisor to the Belize High Commission in London from 1997 to 1999 and holds a postgraduate title from George Washington in International Affairs.