The arrival of Democrat Joe Biden to the White House fueled versions of tension between the new administration and OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro. One of the reasons why this speculation took hold was the Uruguayan's alignment with Donald Trump and his decision to support a "change of regime" in Venezuela, which implied the fall of Nicolas Maduro.
The current US president maintains the objections to the Chavista regime, but seems more interested in getting it to accept democratic rules than in insisting on their removal. However, the right-wing governments of the region that supports Almagro - led by Brazilian Bolsonaro - showed a very intense alignment with Trump, and initially avoided to recognize the electoral triumph of Biden, facing an intervention in the internal politics of the United States.
That process overlaps with the breaking point of Latin America's leftist governments with Almagro, that followed the coup d'Ã©tat against Evo Morales in Bolivia. For Latin American progressivism, the role of the OAS was decisive in generating the climate of impeachment that ended with the departure of Evo and the process headed by Jeanine AÃ±ez. The return of MAS to power increased criticism against the former leader of the Uruguayan Frente Amplio.
However, Washington sources confirmed to LPO US that the bridges between Biden and Almagro are far from broken. LPO spoke with an important OAS source who confirmed that the Uruguayan's interlocutors are the Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs of the National Security Council, Juan GonzÃ¡lez, the Secretary of Hemispheric Affairs of the Secretariat of State, Julie Chung, and the former personal adviser to Barack Obama, Dan Restrepo. "There is an good and fluid bond," the source said.
It is clear that Washington is now planning to change a few guidelines implemented by Trump for the region, especially in the Venezuelan crisis. The US stopped violent rhetoric - which flirted with military intervention - in order to reinforce the strategy of an electoral exit.
Although this change favors the dialogue that Maduro has been carrying out with opponents such as Henrique Capriles, Venezuelan sources close to that opposition sector told LPO that "the United States continues to consider Juan GuaidÃ³ as the main opposition reference and that causes difficulties in confronting Chavismo."
Biden's letter to GuaidÃ³ in the context of the 210th anniversary of Venezuelan independence, in which he calls him "Mr. President," is an example of the subtleties - or contradictions - of the policies of the White House shifting for Venezuela. "Under your leadership, and in coalition with civil society leaders, you are preserving those ideals of freedom, democracy and sovereignty," reads the letter sent by the Democrat to GuaidÃ³.
The balance that Biden is trying to sustain is complex. On the one hand, it preserves ties with GuaidÃ³ and calls for a "peaceful transition in Venezuela under his leadership" and on the other, as anticipated by LPO, it redesigns a relationship scheme such as the International Contact Group, which proposes to increase international observation for the upcoming regional elections. The statement from the State Department, with Canada and the European Union on June 26, demonstrates this shift, with no mention of GuaidÃ³'s name on the statement.
The OAS sees no contradiction and agrees with the White House that the coup strategy to place GuaidÃ³ in the Miraflores Palace has failed. For this reason, OAS sources confirmed that Almagro defends the opening carried out by Maduro and attributes the versions of an alleged conflict between the secretary general of the organization and the democrats to Argentina and Mexico.
The OAS also confirms that the line -- which they believe is led by Lopez Obrador -- has been losing all regional fights and is in fact isolated. "They lost with the OAS, with IDB, and now they could not impose their views to president of the Andean Development Confederation," said the source questioned.
Alberto FernÃ¡ndez and AMLO nominated Ecuadorian MarÃa Fernada Espinoza for the OAS and Argentines Gustavo Beliz and Christian Asinelli for the IDB and CAF. All bets failed. In fact, the sum of failures weakened Beliz's position within Alberto Fernandez's cabinet.
The anti-Almagro profile caused Argentina and Mexico to refuse to sign a declaration against the government of Daniel Ortega's fierce persecution of opponents in Nicaragua, which, to date, has arrested 6 presidential candidates and 27 political leaders and representatives of civil society organizations.
The source questioned, debunked the idea that Almagro and his team are "anti-leftists" and claimed transparency in the electoral mission in Peru, won by Pedro Castillo, with Keiko Fujimori denouncing fraud without any proof or support from the OAS.
In this context, sources aware of the talks at the OAS considered that "Mexico and Argentina are far from the influence of the White House. The idea of a recall of Luis Almagro's mandate with Biden's support is a mere fantasy, since he was voted for by 24 countries and his mandate ends in 2025."
"Do you think he will hand over Almagro's head to please AMLO and Fernandez, who have allied with Russia and China? They are not leaders in the region, Argentina is the country that has lost the most. It is their strategy. They have a superiority complex," the sources added.
The anger of Alberto Fernandez's government's in relation to Almagro is linked to the relationship of the leader of the OAS with Maria Eugenia Vidal and his former human rights minister in Buenos Aires, Santiago CantÃ³n. Both were part of a recent electoral mission in El Salvador that, as revealed in an exclusive LPO article, unleashed the rage of the Casa Rosada.
Biden is reorienting U.S. policy for the region -- whih is far from being a priority for the White House -- and Almagro's administration seems more than willing to fit in with that shift. According to sources, the alleged tension is a version installed by the administrations of Alberto Fernandez and Lopez Obrador: "The link with the Biden administration is fluid and Almagro is seen strong," they confirm.
Although the relationship with Argentina is good, there is no sign that Alberto can exercise leadership capable of mediating regional crises such as those in Venezuela and Nicaragua. "Today the leadership of the region is currently in the hands of Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador," the source added.
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