Latin American Leaders Divided On OAS At Regional Meeting

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wants to leave questions of human rights and democracy to the United Nations, as part of his continuing criticisms of the Organization of American States.

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wants to leave questions of human rights and democracy to the United Nations, as part of his continuing criticisms of the Organization of American States.

López Obrador spoke Saturday at the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, which includes almost all countries in the region except Brazil. Unlike the OAS, the U.S. and Canada don’t belong to CELAC.

The summit took up questions plaguing the region, like mass migration and the coronavirus pandemic. But some leaders angered by the OAS’ criticism of leftist regimes in the region have hoped CELAC could replace it.

López Obrador has suggested the OAS is interventionist and a tool of the United States.

But he did not formally propose leaving the organization. Rather, he opposed any kind of sanctions and said questions of human rights and democracy should only be considered if a country accused of violations requests that.

El Salvadoran Vice President Felix Ulloa criticized what he called “partisan” behavior in the OAS, but noted “we are not expecting nor do we think that a substitute will emerge from this.”

Panama’s Foreign Relations Minister, Erika Mouynes, called attention to the region’s problem of migration. Mouynes said that while only about 800 migrants were entering Panama a few months ago, now about 20,000 are arriving every month. Panama is struggling to feed and care for the influx.

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