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Mr. Chairman of the XLIX Special General Assembly,
Mr. Secretary General,
Mr. Secretary General-elect,
Mr. Assistant Secretary General,
Foreign Ministers of the OAS Member States,
OAS Permanent and non-Permanent Representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate Secretary General-elect Luis Almagro on his election. Brazil backed his candidacy from the beginning, as it recognized in him all of the qualities required to advance Secretary General Isulza’s efforts towards modernization of the OAS.  Amargo, when carrying out his duties, can count on the Brazilian government’s wholehearted and steadfast collaboration.

Together with the full body of the OAS’s Member States and its entire staff, the future Secretary General will be fulfilling a critical role by guiding the organization down the path of renewal and modernization. This role will be especially important in the face of an international scene marked by a growing diversity of interests, greater symmetry in the relations between nations, and the emergence of regional and sub-regional mechanisms for dialogue and integration.

We now face the challenge of redefining the Agenda for the Americas, reevaluating OAS priorities and rendering these more efficient and representative of the interests of members. The dialogue that is now underway in the organization is defining, above all, its areas of action to avoid duplication of efforts, or to not confuse these actions with those of other mechanisms and regional forums.

Over the past decade, our region managed to overcome a number of challenges and repay some of its historical debts to its peoples. We reduced poverty, fought against inequality, and increased the living standards of our citizens, thereby elevating millions of them to the middle class. We demonstrated that we could grow while distributing wealth and promoting social inclusion.

The OAS has contributed and can contribute even more to the socioeconomic development of our peoples. For this to happen, we need an organization that is ever more in tune with the new realities and demands of its member states.

Along these lines, we also assign the greatest importance to the OAS’s work on behalf of human rights. Brazil was an active and constructive participant in discussions for streamlining the Inter-American Human Rights System that was finalized in 2013. The outcome of this process appears to be positive, in our view.

Ladies and gentlemen,

From a political standpoint our region is witnessing a highly promising unfolding of events. The December 17, 2014 announcement by Presidents Raúl Castro and Barak Obama of their decision to begin a process of normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations inspires great hope. The next Summit of the Americas, in Panama, will no doubt be valuable—both  historically and symbolically—to us all, especially as it will mark the first ever gathering of all 35 nations of the Hemisphere. Brazil encourages and supports the forward march of a constructive OAS agenda vis à vis Cuba, one with a view towards full integration of that country into the Inter-American system.

To close my remarks, I want to express my sincerest thanks and the fullest appreciation to Secretary General José Miguel Insulza on behalf of the Government of Brazil.  He leaves behind an important legacy at the Organization, including reform of the Inter-American Human Rights System, promotion of a universal Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, a stronger system of electoral cooperation and observation, and the proposal for OAS reform, which is based chiefly on his own published document titled “Strategic Vision”. Speaking for myself and on behalf of the Brazilian government, I extend to Secretary General Insulza our very best wishes for continued personal and professional success.

To Luis Almagro, I wish him every success in the fulfillment of his important duties in the near future. He will not be without Brazil’s support.

Thank you.   

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