Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Another Candidate for OAS Leadership


Guatemala has announced that it may put forward 1992 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu as a candidate for the position of Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS). Menchu was born to a poor Mayan family in Guatemala. During the bloody civil war in Guatemala, many of her family members were arrested, tortured, and killed by the army. She played a leadership role in the Guatemalan opposition. Since the conclusion of hostilities in Guatemala, she has been an advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere

The candidates for leadership of the OAS so far are Chilean Minister of the Interior Miguel Insulza, who is backed by Argentina and Brazil; Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Derbez, endorsed by Canada and Belize; and the former president of El Salvador, Francisco Flores, backed by Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. Before announcing the possibility of a Menchu candidacy, Guatemala appeared to be backing Flores.

The Inter Press Service quotes the auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, Gregorio Rosa Chavez, as stating he would support a Menchu candidacy because she would support the rights of the region's indigenous people and its poor.

Menchu's candidacy would certainly seem unlikely to garner any support from the United States since her leftist political views contrast sharply with the Bush administration approach to Latin America.

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