Ambassador Francisco O. Mora
Organization of American States
January 18, 2023
Secretary General Almagro, Assistant Secretary General Mendez, Ambassador and
Chairman Anthony Phillips-Spencer, distinguished ambassadors, alternate
representatives, observers, members of the Secretariat –
I am deeply grateful and honored to be here today representing the United States
of America before the Organization of American States. I’m humbled by the
confidence that President Biden has placed in me to serve as Permanent
Representative to the OAS at this critical time for the hemisphere and for this
indispensable regional body.
This institution continues to demonstrate its relevance and commitment to its core
values of as set forth in its key documents and instruments, such as the OAS Charter,
the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, Declaration on Security in
the Americas, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The OAS has a unique role
and mandate in the Americas for promoting a hemispheric commitment to these values.
The OAS and the Inter-American system have accomplished so much since well
before the adoption of the OAS Charter in 1948, but we must unwaveringly
rededicate ourselves to the vision of a hemisphere united in peace, committed to
democracy, respectful of human rights, economic prosperity, diversity and
tolerance, and security.
Fighting discrimination and inequality stands as an additional core value of
today’s OAS. As Martin Luther King Jr wrote in his famous “Letter from
Birmingham Jail”: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are
caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” The citizens of the Americas
are counting on us to fulfill this promise – failing to do so will have adverse
consequences on these values and this very institution.
Upon taking office, President Joseph Biden rededicated the United States to
multilateral cooperation and to a renewed focus on human rights and democracy
– a pledge to bringing values-based multilateralism and diplomacy back to US
foreign policy. The OAS and the Inter-American system stand at the center of
making that commitment to cooperation and renewal a reality, as was clearly
reaffirmed at the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. The participation
of the United States here at the OAS reinforces this commitment to
multilateralism as the ideal vehicle to address shared development challenges
and to promote regional economic prosperity.
Mr. Secretary General, the OAS remains the only political forum that brings
together democratically elected governments – guided by the Inter-American
Democratic Charter and a shared commitment to dialogue and diplomacy – to
solving some of the region’s key problems of today, such as democratic
backsliding, political impasses and challenges that threaten the well-being of all
peoples throughout the Americas, including climate change, access to health
services, inequality, and discrimination.
Colleagues and members of the Secretariat, the United States will remain
engaged and active in the Inter-American System to address, through diplomacy,
cooperation and a steadfast commitment to its core values, these current and
In 1961, President Kennedy underscored in a speech before the Permanent
Council that, “it is our function and responsibility to make this organization alive,
to make it fulfill its function, and not divert ourselves always with developing new
institutions, when we have one which has nurtured in time…” Let us recommit
ourselves to this mission and the dream of those who believe that the people of
the hemisphere be bound closely together in pursuit of its values and a more
peaceful and prosperous Americas.
Let me end by stressing how very grateful I am to Thomas Hastings and the
talented and committed team at the US Mission here at the OAS. I’m quite
fortunate to have these dedicated officers serving not only the Mission and our
nation, but to ensuring that we in the Inter-American system meet our promise and obligations to our citizens throughout the Americas. Thank you all very much.