OAS Secretary General Discusses Democracy in the Americas
Luis Almagro addresses his central mission of “more rights for more people”
in the Americas, as part of HKS Forum in DC series.
(Video link below)
On Tuesday February 6, the HKS DC Alumni Council hosted Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro to share his thoughts on “Democracy in the Americas”, followed by an engaging discussion moderated by HKS alum Daniel Erikson, Managing Director for Latin America at Blue Star Strategies. The event was part of the DC Council’s HKS Forum in DC series, an initiative to present high caliber speakers on major policy issues similar to the beloved HKS Forum in Cambridge.
The OAS supports democracy, human rights, security and prosperity among its 35 member states in North and South America and the Caribbean. Almagro was elected its secretary general in March 2015, promising “more rights for more people” as a driving goal of his tenure.
Secretary General Almagro addressed several challenges faced by the leadership organization, and highlighted the role of the OAS in the defense of democracy. As the OAS Democratic Charter states: “…the people of the Americas have the right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it.” Secretary General Almagro added, “Those elected to lead assume the responsibility to protect these rights. If they do not, they lose the legitimacy to lead. The Democratic Charter defines the essential elements of representative democracy as a respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, rule of law, periodic free and fair elections based on a universal suffrage, a pluralistic system of political parties, as well as a separation of power and a dependence on branches of government. Democracy was clearly defined as well as the situations where member states might cooperate and support each other.”
The HKS DC Alumni Council is grateful to Secretary General Almagro for his thoughtful presentation, as well as to Council members Yael Marciano and Lourdes Tinajero who produced this high profile event. A very special thanks to the Public Contracting Institute for graciously providing their space, as well as to Joey, Melissa, Barbara, Patty, Gabriel, Vicente, and those who supported this event. Over 50 people were in attendance.
A video of Secretary General Almagro is below.