Wednesday, May 14, 2008. Conference at American Enterprise Institute, “The Organization of American States: Falling Down on the Job?” Presentation by U.S. ambassador to the OAS Hector E. Morales Jr. Question-and-answer period:
Intervention by Amb. Ernest H. Preeg, chairman of Haiti Democracy Project, former U.S. ambassador to Haiti
(Below: Ambasssador Preeg arriving in Port-au-Prince in 2005 on Haiti Democracy Project fact-finding delegation.)
Ambassador Preeg raised with the U.S. diplomat the concerns of the Haiti Democracy Project regarding deterioration of the democratic process in Haiti. Specifically he raised
- delayed elections for the senate
- revisions in the election laws and bylaws
- the resulting loss of the capable Jacques Bernard as administrator of the electoral commission
- the failure to create a permanent electoral commission
Ambassador Morales said that the OAS was aware of these problems and was having high-level consultations with the Haitian government to resolve them. He cited recent missions including one in which the U.S. assistant secretary of state participated.
Ambassador Morales’s presentation:
The meeting agenda:
Internal division and transnational conflict in the Americas are testing the effectiveness of the Organization of American States (OAS). Confronted by controversial constitutional reforms underway in several Andean states, the bid for regional autonomy in Bolivia, the apparent collaboration of states with Colombian narcoterrorist groups, doubts about electoral processes, the divisive and polarizing international agenda of Venezuela?s president Hugo Chávez, and the expectations for a democratic transition in Cuba, pressures are mounting for the OAS. Notwithstanding the OAS role in the defense of democracy and constitutional order under the 2001 Inter-American Democratic Charter, many believe the Organization has fallen down on the job. Can the OAS function with a revolutionary Venezuela breaking the regional consensus? Are consensual solutions relevant in a divided Western Hemisphere? Have the OAS member states given the Organization?s leadership robust backing or spurred it to action? Is the United States making sufficient investment in the OAS?
These issues and others will be discussed by Ambassador Hector Morales, recently sworn in as U.S. permanent representative to the OAS. Peter DeShazo of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Carl Meacham of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will comment.