O.A.S. to Pick Chile Socialist U.S. Opposed as Its Leader

RIO DE JANEIRO, Apr. 29 – In a rebuff to the Bush administration’s efforts to press Latin America to take a tougher stance on Cuba and Venezuela, a Chilean Socialist emerged Friday as the consensus choice to become secretary general of the Organization of American States.

The O.A.S. is scheduled to convene in Washington on Monday to formally elect the Chilean, Interior Minister José Miguel Insulza, 62. His opponent, Luis Ernesto Derbez, the Mexican foreign minister and Washington’s favored candidate, withdrew Friday afternoon after negotiations in Santiago, Chile, that involved Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and several of her South and Central American counterparts.

It is the first time in the organization’s history that a candidate initially opposed by the United States will lead the 34-member regional group. Until it became clear that the numbers were not in its favor, the United States sought twice to block Mr. Insulza, by first supporting a Salvadoran and then Mr. Derbez.

The selection process was dogged by contention and deadlock for months. It finally came to balloting on April 11, but five rounds of voting all ended in a 17-to-17 tie between Mr. Insulza and Mr. Derbez, split largely along North-South lines.

American officials traveling with Ms. Rice, who was in the Chilean capital, described her as having brokered the deal that allowed Mr. Insulza to claim victory.

But some South American diplomats suggested Friday that the shift in the United States position was a calculated retreat in response to warnings to Ms. Rice in Brazil and Colombia earlier in the week that Washington was risking a potentially embarrassing loss.

“Secretary Rice has supported a consensus, and therefore the candidate of the United States is now me,” Mr. Insulza said at a news conference with Ms. Rice and Mr. Derbez on Friday. “For that reason, nobody should feel defeated.”

Mr. Insulza also said the organization must broaden its mission and begin to “hold governments that are not governed democratically accountable” for their actions. Aides to Ms. Rice said she had insisted on such language, which is clearly aimed at President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, the most outspoken South American critic of the Bush administration.
Full: nytimes.com

In what sense is Venezuela ‘not governed democratically’?

One Response to “O.A.S. to Pick Chile Socialist U.S. Opposed as Its Leader”

  1. starshyne Says:

    reads…"hold gonvernments that are governed democratically unaccountable" for their actions

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