Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister Ignacio Walker reported that the Chilean candidate for Secretary General of the Organization of American States has the support of ten countries.
Interior Minister Jose Miguel Insulza "is consolidating as the region's option, we already have ten votes if we take into account South America, the Caribbean and talks with Central America", revealed Mr. Walker.
However in spite of the "significant advance" of Mr. Insulza's candidacy, Mr. Walker was cautious at the moment of "counting votes" since there are other "strong candidates such as former Salvador president Francisco Flores and Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Derbez". "I think Chile and South America have a good chance of seeing Mr. Insulza as OAS next Secretary General".
So far only Argentina and Brazil have officially supported the Chilean candidate, "but other countries have confirmed their backing and we're talking with Caribbean countries".
"Peru and Bolivia are considering their vote, and we have formally requested the support from Colombia", revealed Mr. Walker adding that everyday "we're in contact with the 34 countries of the region. We want Insulza for the post because this will consolidate Chile's leadership in the area".
However Mr. Flores from Salvador claims that he has the support from Washington, six Central American countries plus Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay, "so we therefore state that our candidacy is the strongest".
But the Mexican candidate, Foreign Affairs minister Ernesto Derbez apparently also has a solid backing starting with Canada and Belize.
"If the Mexican diplomacy did their homework correctly, surely before launching the name of Mr. Derbez they must have checked with the Bush administration", said Rosana Fuentes from the Mexican Political Science Institute.
US Under Secretary for Hemispheric Affairs Robert Noriega has been quoted in the Mexican press saying that "we are seriously" considering the candidacy of "a good friend", which is interpreted as the "official blessing".
Nevertheless in the recent Central American presidential summit Mexican President Vicente Fox was unable to convince his fellow leaders to support Mr. Derbez.
The only commitment was that if the region's candidate Mr. Flores, does not prosper Central American leaders are willing to consider other options.
The election of the OAS Secretary General is scheduled to take place in the first half of 2005. The previous Secretary General was in his post for two weeks before having to resign following corruption charges in his home country Costa Rica. Former president Miguel Angel Rodriguez is currently under house arrest waiting for the trial to begin.
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