WASHINGTON – Jose Miguel Insulza of Chile was elected by acclamation on Wednesday to a second five-year term as secretary-general of the Organization of American States.
The 66-year-old former Cabinet minister faced no opposition in the vote during a special OAS General Assembly in Washington.
The only question was whether all 33 of the OAS’s active member states would agree to a second term for the Chilean, who locked up the 18 votes he needed weeks ahead of the ballot.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed Washington’s support for Insulza in a letter early this week, while Ecuador and Peru followed suit on Tuesday.
Venezuela, Nicaragua and Canada ultimately joined the consensus on Wednesday, though not before representatives of Latin American nations aired concerns about the continuing relevance of the OAS.
The Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS, Roy Chaderton, noted the ineffectiveness of the hemispheric body’s response to last June’s military coup in Honduras, which was followed months later by elections held under a repressive de facto regime.
Though Honduras remains suspended from the OAS, the United States has recognized the new government in Tegucigalpa and is urging other countries to do the same.
Insulza responded to his re-election with “much humility, but also with much joy and emotion,” pledging to continue trying to improve the OAS.
The U.S. endorsement of Insulza came despite a campaign against the Chilean by some Republican lawmakers and the editorial page of The Washington Post.
Conservative pundits and lawmakers say Insulza has been insufficiently critical of the leftist governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua. EFE