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Montevideo, November 21st 2018 - 20:25 UTC

Controversy over Caricom's votes for Chile

Monday, April 4th 2005 - 21:00 UTC
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At least eleven of the fourteen Caribbean Community members will vote for Chilean Interior Minister Jose Miguel Insulza during next Monday's process to nominate the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, OAS, according to Surinam's Foreign Affairs Secretary Marie Levens.

Ms. Levens named the Caricom members that will support the Chilean candidate: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Santa Lucia, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The crucial OAS Secretary General vote will be taken during a special general assembly next Monday in Washington. Originally the meeting was convened for Thursday but Pope John Paul II burial on Friday forced a postponement of the OAS agenda.

Haiti apparently will also vote for Mr. Insulza, however Ms. Levens pointed out that since Caricom never accepted the forcible removal of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide, Haiti can't be counted as belonging to the Caribbean group.

Belize and Saint Vincent and Grenadines have publicly expressed their support for the Mexican candidate Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Antonio Derbez.

"Caricom has always had a good bilateral relation with Chile; we have had a trade agreement with Chile for years, which is very important for us", highlighted Ms. Levens.

Last Saturday the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry said Chile was showing "desperation" by saying that Caricom members were fully supporting Mr. Insulza for the OAS post. Mexico insisted that the only certain vote for Chile in the area is from Surinam and "for their own particular reasons, which is not extensive to the rest of the Caribbean Community", and revealed it was counting with "a great share of Caricom's votes".

Chilean Foreign Affairs ministry last week announced it had received a release from Caricom expressing support for Mr. Insulza. Chile has the committed support from Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela.

A third candidate for the OAS post is former El Salvador president, Francisco Flores who has the support of United States. Mr. Derbez is promising to make eradicating poverty the top OAS priority; Mr. Flores is talking about propping economic growth and the Chilean candidate wants to make the OAS more dynamic and restore confidence in it.

The previous secretary general, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, resigned after less than a month in office and returned to Costa Rica to face charges that he accepted kickbacks during his 1998-2002 presidency. He's currently under house arrest.

However, no one is likely to get a majority in the coming secret ballot, and if American-backed Mr. Flores loses in a first-round vote, Mexico's Mr. Derbez could get the U.S. vote plus those of Central American countries with strong relations with Mexico.

Categories: Mercosur.

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