BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 7, 2021– The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belize issued a statement condemning a series of controversial comments made by the Secretary-General (SG) of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro.
“Belize continues to be concerned by personal and controversial remarks by the OAS Secretariat and SG Luis Almagro without consultation or approval of Member States. Such remarks do not reflect our views and undermine the high esteem of the office of the Secretary-General,” the statement noted.
Recently, in response to a question from Mexican media, Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, criticized the performance of OAS Secretary-General Almagro and condemned his unilateral comments on regional issues. He said, “The performance of the current OAS Secretary-General, Mr. Almagro, has been one of the worst in history.” He added, “He has acted, repeatedly, without consulting the member states. … He acts as if he were autonomous.”
Secretary-General Almagro, in remarks he made in response to Mexican Foreign Minister Ebrard’s comments on his performance and behavior, told Colombian media, “I’m a nice person, and I hope that no other structure that he built as mayor of Mexico City collapses” — a reference to the collapse of an overpass in Mexico City which resulted in the death of 26 people and the hospitalization of 79 others.
On Friday, El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, held an emergency press conference to announce that the country would be breaking off from the CICIES agreement signed in 2019 with the OAS Secretariat.
He remarked that they “made a mistake of trusting the OAS”. Reports are that last Thursday, embattled El Salvadorian opposition politician, Ernesto Muyshondt, was hired as an adviser to Secretary-General Almagro.
Muyshondt, a member of the ARENA party and former mayor of San Salvador, is under investigation due to allegations that he paid gang members for votes in the 2014 elections. President Nayib Bukele has called for his arrest.
“We’ve decided the presidency is also going to break our agreement with the OAS CICIES, because it’s nonsense for us trying to fight impunity with the very people who are promoting impunity in El Salvador,” Bukele told Salvadoran media.
In March the OAS raised the ire of a number of OAS states when it criticized the jailing of the former Bolivian president, Jeanine Áñez, who was charged for leading a coup against longtime leader Evo Morales.
At the time, Almagro said, “Yes, there was a coup d’etat in Bolivia: It occurred on October 20, when electoral fraud was committed that resulted in the victory of the ex-President Evo Morales in the first round.”
These comments were declared as “unilateral pronouncements” and not in line with the stance of several OAS member states.
At least 13 other countries in the region have condemned the OAS Secretary-General for the comments he made in response to the criticism levelled by Minister Ebrard.