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Profile: Organization of American States (OAS)

 
  

Positions that Organization of American States (OAS) has held:



 

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Organization of American States (OAS) actively participated in the following events:

 
  

(October 18, 1996)      Haiti Coup

       Haiti agrees to implement a wide array of neoliberal reforms outlined in the IMF's $1.2 billion Emergency Economic Recovery Plan (EERP) put together by the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Organization of American States (OAS). The recovery package, to be funded and executed over a five-year period, aims to create a capital-friendly macroeconomic environment for the export-manufacturing sector. It calls for suppressing wages, reducing tariffs, and selling off state-owned enterprises. Notably, there is little in the package for the country's rural sector, which represents the activities of about 65 percent of the Haitian population. The small amount that does go to the countryside is designated for improving roads and irrigation systems and promoting export crops such as coffee and mangoes. The Haitian government also agrees to abolish tariffs on US imports, which results in the dumping of cheap US foodstuffs on the Haitian market undermining the country's livestock and agricultural production. The disruption of economic life in the already depressed country further deteriorates the living conditions of the poor. [International Monetary Fund, October 18, 1996; International Report, 4/3/1995; Shamsie, 2002; Dollars and Sense, 9/2003; CounterPunch, 3/1/2004]
People and organizations involved: Organization of American States (OAS), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), USAID
          

(2001)      Haiti Coup

       The Organization of American States (OAS) blocks $400 million in aid to Haiti from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), citing the unresolved status of the contested 2000 Haitian elections (see May 21, 2000). The aid package was to consist of four separate loans for health, education, drinking water and road improvements. Though it is claimed that this decision has been reached by a consensus, critical observers raise questions about the influence of an April 6 letter (see (Mid-2001)) from a US official asking the IDB to suspend the release of these funds. [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004]
People and organizations involved: Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Organization of American States (OAS)
          

April 6, 2001      Haiti Coup

       Lawrence Harrington, the US representative to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) sends a letter to Enrique Iglesias, the IDB's president, recommending that the bank block already approved loans to Haiti. “At this point disbursements could normally begin, assuming all loans conditions had been met,” Harrington writes. “However, we do not believe that these loans can or should be treated in a routine manner and strongly urge you to not authorize any disbursements at this time.” [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004 Sources: April 4, 2001 letter from Executive Director for the US Lawrence Harrington to IDB President Enrique Iglesias] The loans are for health, education, drinking water and road improvements. The OAS will block these loans 14 days later (see (2001)). [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004]
People and organizations involved: Lawrence Harrington, Enrique Iglesias, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Organization of American States (OAS)
          

April 20-22, 2001      Haiti Coup

       With the exception of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, 34 heads of state attending the OAS summit, pledge to direct their “Ministers to ensure that negotiations of the FTAA [Free Trade Area of Americas] Agreement are concluded no later than January 2005 and to seek its entry into force as soon as possible thereafter, but in any case, no later than December 2005.” [Haitian Times, 4/18/2001; Haiti Weekly News, 5/2/2001 Sources: Declaration of Quebec City] According to an unnamed senior offical at the US State Department, the declaration also lays the groundwork for creating a legal pretext for blocking aid to countries. [US Congress, 7/15/2003; London Review of Books, 4/15/2004] The section of the declaration discussing the OAS's commitment to democracy reads: “... any unconstitutional alteration or interruption of the democratic order in a state of the Hemisphere constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to the participation of that state's government in the Summit of the Americas process....To enhance our ability to respond to these threats, we instruct our Foreign Ministers to prepare, in the framework of the next General Assembly of the OAS, an Inter-American Democratic Charter to reinforce OAS instruments for the active defense of representative democracy.” [Haiti Progres, 4/25/2001 Sources: Declaration of Quebec City] During the summit, before the final declaration is made, Haiti is singled out as the region's problem democracy. “Democracy in certain countries is still fragile,” Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chr´┐Żtien says, “We are particularly concerned about the case of Haiti. We note the problems which continue to limit the democratic, political, economic and social development of this country.” [Haiti Progres, 4/25/2001] Press reports note the ant-Aristide atmosphere. The BBC reports, “Correspondents say the presence of Mr. Aristide at the summit has been an embarrassment to some of the leaders, who agreed that only democratic countries would be included in the Free Trade Zone of the Americas.” [BBC, 4/22/2001] The New York Post similarly reccounts, “Diplomats said the expressions of concern about Haiti were to make sure that Aristide can't use his presence at the summit... to claim he has international support.” [New York Post, 4/23/2001] And according to Reuters, “the Summit decided to comment on Haiti because leaders did not want Aristide to return home in triumph.” [New York Post, 4/23/2001; Haiti Progres, 4/25/2001]
People and organizations involved: Jean Chretien, Hugo Chavez Frias, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Organization of American States (OAS)  Additional Info 
          

May 6, 2004      Haiti Coup

       At an OAS meeting in Washington, Haitian interim Prime Minister Gerard LaTortue appeals for reconciliation with the governments of other Caribbean states. “Haiti is a member of CARICOM and proposes to continue being a member,” LaTortue says. “In this key moment of its history, my country needs all of you. May the misunderstandings be left behind.” [Associated Press, 5/6/2004; Associated Press, 5/6/2004] The new government of Haiti had previously announced its temporary withdrawal from CARICOM because of the organization's refusal to recognize the new interim government (see March 15, 2004).
People and organizations involved: Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), Organization of American States (OAS), Gerard Latortue
          

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