Policy Forum

A Populist Capture of the Organization of American States?

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Date and Time
February 19, 2013 1 - 2:30 PM EST
1st floor/Wintergarden
Featuring Guillermo A. Cochez, Former Ambassador of Panama to the OAS; and William M. Berenson, Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law; moderated by Juan Carlos Hidalgo, Policy Analyst on Latin America, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute.

Under the leadership of Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, the Organization of American States has become a vehicle for the region’s populist regimes to advance their agenda. The OAS has remained silent in the face of human rights abuses and attacks on democratic institutions in countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. Amb. Guillermo Cochez, recently dismissed from his job for publicly criticizing the OAS and its leadership, will discuss his concerns about the direction that organization has taken in recent years. William Berenson, who served in various legal positions at the OAS for over 30 years, will comment on what he perceives as a cooling off of the organization’s commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and press freedom. The complacency of democracies such as the United States and Chile in denouncing these abuses will also be discussed.

Text of Guillermo A. Cochez’s presentation.