With a Venezuelan opposition leader declaring himself the country’s president and the Trump administration appearing to back a coup, Venezuela is lurching toward a new phase of crisis. And that crisis could be worsened by hardline leadership at the Organization of American States (OAS), the world’s oldest and most influential regional organization. Luis Almagro, the OAS Secretary General, recently announced his bid for another 5-year term at the helm of the organization. That would be a major setback for good governance in the region.
Throughout his tenure, Almagro has acted against many of the basic principles and mandates of the organization and consistently represented U.S. interests above those of its neighbors, generally supporting allies and punishing adversaries of the U.S. government. In particular, he’s actively sought regime change in Venezuela.
Almagro’s often unsubstantiated claims against Venezuela and Cuba echo the rhetoric of dangerous terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles. His open interventions in countries’ internal politics have completely reversed diplomatic advances in resolving controversies, divided the continent, and led his own Uruguayan political party to expel him and advocate for removing him from the leadership of the OAS.
Abetting Corruption and Dictatorship
Moreover, as Almagro has set himself up as arbiter in the internal affairs of leftist-governed nations (while turning a blind eye to blatant disregard for law in right-wing regimes), his own leadership faces serious corruption charges related to management of funds for the beleaguered anti-corruption mission in Honduras.
In an unusual move, Almagro appointed himself the head in absentiaof the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH), maintaining control of the mission and finances in Washington. The MACCIH was founded in 2015 as a result of citizen pressure and placed under the auspices of the OAS.
The lead representative of the MACCIH, former Peruvian prime minister Juan Jimenez Mayor, resigned in frustration in February 2018, citing lack of support from Almagro, withdrawal of security measures for his team, and a “pact of impunity” between Almagro and JOH.
Jiménez also publicly accused Almagro of hiring persons close to him at hefty salaries despite the fact that the commission in Honduras doesn’t know what it is they do.