- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 16, 2004

OAS restructuring

The new secretary-general of the Organization of American States intends to streamline the bureaucracy in a major restructuring that he hopes will reverse a budget deficit estimated at $5 million next year.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez, former president of Costa Rica, announced his plans as he assumed office this week, replacing Cesar Gaviria.

Mr. Rodriguez said his reorganization will save more than $2 million per year. The OAS faces a $1 million budget shortfall this year.

Mr. Rodriguez said his belt-tightening moves will have no effect on the OAS goals of promoting “the highest ideals of peace, justice, freedom and prosperity for the Americas.”

“We have a great responsibility to the peoples of this hemisphere, and we must not let them down,” he said.

He plans to create seven directors to promote human rights, democracy, development and security and to provide administrative, communications and legal services for the Washington headquarters and regional offices.

Mr. Rodriguez said he will consolidate some functions. For example, the human-rights coordinator will provide administrative and political support for the secretariats of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Children’s Institute and the Inter-American Commission of Women.

The OAS, which represents 35 active-member states, bid farewell last week to Mr. Gaviria, who served as secretary-general for 10 years.

OAS ambassadors praised him for reinvigorating the organization and for developing the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

Mr. Gaviria “took on risks in trying to bring about positive change in our hemisphere,” said Ecuadorean Ambassador Marcelo Hervas.

Senegal honored

The ambassador of Senegal is soliciting corporate sponsors for a human-rights forum in New York next week that will honor the president of his West African nation.

“An investment in human rights is an investment in both global goodwill and emerging markets,” Senegalese Ambassador Amadou Lamine said in a letter to corporations in Washington.

He is seeking contributions in categories ranging from $750 to $50,000 to help pay for the 35th annual International League for Human Rights awards ceremony on Sept. 22 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade will receive the award this year in recognition of his reform efforts that promoted democracy in a region where self-government is rare and internal conflicts are all too common.

“We are proud to be honoring an accomplished world leader who is changing the face of Africa,” Mr. Lamine said in the letter.

Senegal received a fair rating in the latest State Department human-rights report, which said the country’s government “generally respected its citizens’ rights” and recognized Mr. Wade’s election in 2001 as free and fair.

However, the report criticized Senegal for the beating deaths of several crime suspects in police custody, poor prison conditions and some limits on press freedom.

New at CSIS

A former State Department specialist in Latin American issues is the new director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Peter DeShazo, who served 27 years in the Foreign Service, managed U.S. responses to crises in Bolivia, Venezuela and Haiti and managed U.S. embassies in 19 countries during his service as deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs since last year.

CSIS President John Hamre praised Mr. DeShazo’s “experience and expertise” and said the United States faces “significant challenges” in Latin America.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]

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