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Montevideo, July 18th 2024 - 18:08 UTC



OAS General Assembly opening ceremony focuses on Bolivian crisis

Thursday, June 27th 2024 - 09:20 UTC
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“We respond to evil with good,” Peña stressed “We respond to evil with good,” Peña stressed

As all attendees were focused on the ongoing crisis unfolding in Bolivia, Paraguayan President Santiago Peña opened the Organization of American States (OAS) 54th General Assembly in Asunción by highlighting that democracy was the way to fight transnational crime, drug trafficking, and terrorism.

“Paraguay has always maintained peace as the supreme value of international relations, as has the OAS. Let us celebrate in a world so convulsed by war, violence, and hatred, an America at peace. We have no armed conflicts, but that does not mean that we do not face great challenges in the area of security, due to the evermore pressing action of transnational organized crime. This threat transcends borders and we all suffer from its consequences,” said the hosting head of state, who insisted security was “the cornerstone on which all civilized coexistence is built” and without which there is no decent human life.

“The way to fight this scourge is not with authoritarianism, but with democracy. We are great when we respond to evil with good, violence must be countered with the mirror of the best of ourselves, of democratic institutionality, it is not true that democracy is not up to the task or that it is weak in the face of these threats. Strengthened democracy is the only possible response,” Peña also pointed out.

OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro condemned “in the strongest terms these actions of the Bolivian Army,” which “must submit to civilian authority, as mandated by the Inter-American Democratic Charter.”

“We express our solidarity with the President of Bolivia, Luis Arce. The OAS will not tolerate any form of violation of the legitimate constitutional order in Bolivia or anywhere else,” added the Uruguayan Almagro.

Peña also seized the opportunity to launch the candidacy of Paraguayan Foreign Minister Rubén Ramírez Lezcano to succeed Almagro until 2030.

The General Assembly is to be held Thursday and Friday at the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) headquarters in the city of Luque just outside Asunción. The event brings together representatives from OAS member countries as well as 74 permanent observers and some 482 civil society organizations.

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