Thursday, October 14, 2004

Jockeying for the OAS

UPDATE: Salvadoran President Tony Saca said today that he would respect the decision of Venezuela to say whatever they want about any candidate for the top job at the OAS, but at the same time finds the FMLN's objection to a Paco Flores candidacy as downright "petty" (mezquino):
...lo que sí yo no puedo entender es la mezquindad que pueda tener un partido político local en contra de un salvadoreño que pueda tener aspiraciones de llegar a la OEA. Yo como salvadoreño me sentiría orgullosísimo de que un salvadoreño fuera el secretario general de la OEA. Me parece absolutamente mezquino de parte del FMLN.
I'm surprised he just didn't come right out and say it was treasonous!

Andres Oppenheimer reviews his favorites to be the OAS chief. Among Central Americans, he only mentions Paco Flores, but also gives him the least chance to get it (50%). He fails to mention that both Honduras and Venezuela are against a Flores candidacy. Flores is criticized at home for his submissiveness to the U.S. (e.g., Iraq), his failure to adhere to regional human rights decisions, and his generally dismissive attitude toward dialogue with the opposition and talking with the press. Flores also has a "cleaner" reputation than most former Central American presidents, but.... ARENA has been in power 15 years straight, meaning that there has been no opposition party to take power who can dig up dirt on the previous administration; and the Salvadoran print media is probably the most consistently and uniformly pro-government in the region, so most corruption scandals rarely if ever surface without the government's blessing.

Oppenheimer favors former Brazilian president Cardoso (if he wants it) or one of several good Chilean candidates. The Central Americans meet today here in San Salvador to come up with a consensus candidate (or at least agree that their should be a consensus), which Mexico -- and probably Colombia and the U.S. -- has agreed to support.

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