Monday, June 20, 2011

The Past and Future of the OAS

From The Guardian:

Diplomats from the United States and the whole of Latin America (except Cuba) will be meeting in Lima today to discuss the future of the Organisation of American States. The OAS is a vast, cumbersome, bureaucratic concern, generally recognised to be a child of the cold war. It is staffed by those who prefer the sumptuous salaries of an international organisation to the less regular rewards of a career in Latin American politics.
Now, after a decade of insignificance, the whole future of the OAS is coming up for discussion. An impressively named "Special Committee for the Reorganisation of the Inter-American System" will be debating what can be done. It has been clear for some years that the American-inspired attempt to isolate and blockade Cuba from the rest of the continent could not be continued indefinitely.
The construction of a new international organisation of the States to the south of the Rio Grande, excluding the US, is a logical development of the prodigious growth of Latin American nationalism in the past few years.

Actually, that was a Guardian archive from exactly 38 years ago: June 20, 1973.  It is quite remarkable that the same concerns are present today.  It is testament to how difficult it is to a) reform large international bureaucracies; and b) create new institutions (like UNASUR) that can realistically replace old ones.


Justin Delacour 3:22 PM  

Darn, you had me fooled there.

I think, however, that the OAS has changed relative to what it was in the '90s. The U.S. has less control over its direction than in the '90s. Insulza was not the United States' first choice to head the organization, and the U.S. and OAS were clearly not on the same page about Colombia's bombing of Ecuadorian territory or the handling of the coup in Honduras.

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