Ambassador Franciso O. Mora
April 21, 2023
Secretary General Almagro, Assistant Secretary General Mendez, fellow ambassadors and delegates, observers, and members of the Secretariat –
I want to thank you for joining this afternoon’s presentation and discussion. What an opportune way to conclude our commemoration of Pan American Week.
Let me say that we are all in a great debt to Ambassador Einaudi. He continues the long line of dedicated U.S. Pan and Inter-American statesmen: from Henry Clay and James Blaine to Leo Rowe, Sumner Wells, Cordell Hull and Nelson Rockefeller.
Luigi’s quarter century of public service – unrivaled by many –- has informed much of our thinking toward the region and the Inter American System at the State Department. As former Secretary of State Condoleezza Ricea stated at the 2005 OAS General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale, he is “one my nation’s finest diplomats, and one of our hemisphere’s most dedicated champions of freedom.”
We continue to build on Luigi’s many achievements — from reducing border tensions in Central America and the Andes, to bolstering the capacity of the Inter American Human Rights System, to championing the OAS’ gold standard in electoral observation. Some of you may recall that, in addition to serving as U.S. Special Envoy for the Peru-Ecuador peace talks, Luigi also served as OAS Chief of Mission for the 2003 elections in Paraguay.
And he continues to make the case for robust and sustained U.S. engagement with the OAS. Because, as he put it so well, “if the OAS as a whole takes a position, it becomes a regional consensus, not the position of any one country.” This, in effect, reflects the value and importance of this Organization for all of us.
There is one pending proposal, in particular, that remains very timely as we look to the June General Assembly. As Acting Secretary General, Ambassador Einaudi proposed in 2005 the creation of a multilateral evaluation mechanism on democracy. He suggested it could be modeled on the successful Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) on drugs developed by CICAD (the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission).
The United States believes that such an initiative would help bolster the early warning capacity of the OAS, which has been recommended by numerous supporters of the OAS over the years – from the Inter-American Dialogue to former Secretary General Insulza, the Inter-American Juridical Committee and the Friends of the Democratic Charter.
Using data from the Inter American System, a multilateral review mechanism for democracy could provide channels for practical outside support and – as Luigi sagely observed – serve as the basis for “specific, practical, actionable ways to apply the Democratic Charter’s principles.”
I hope we can advance this prescient proposal in the coming months. This would respond to new mandates given to us from leaders at the last Summit of the Americas, as well as the call made on Monday by Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas Chris Dodd for the region to “step up and advance the full implementation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.”
Colleagues and friends, in Ambassador Einaudi’s farewell address to the Permanent Council in April 1993, he identified three lessons that I think bear recalling today:
(1) that democracy is as important among nations as it is within nations
(2) that the best way is not necessarily the most direct or the quickest way; and
(3) that history counts — but so do people.
For these lessons, for your commitment to this Organization, and for so much more — I want to thank you, Luigi.
You remain, as expressed in the U.S. Mission’s internal Resolution 8010 (“eighty ten”) of 1993, our “Itinerant Ambassador to the Hemisphere, Promoter of Democracy, Dialoguer among Civilians and the Military, Defender of Human Rights, and Conciliator between Disputants borders or otherwise.” But more importantly, we are honored to count you as a friend and mentor.
I would be remiss if I did not also recognize the lifelong support of his partner and wife, Carol — who he characterized as “beautiful and smart, what more need I say?”
Luigi, I learned from your book that there is an interesting story involving Carol guiding a tipsy Frank Sinatra by the hand to the White House men’s room during a State Dinner for the Italian Prime Minister. I do hope you can tell us more about that night.
Let me also thank John Maisto, Arturo Valenzuela and Johanna Mendelson Forman for their thoughts and perspectives today. Taken together, this tripartite “brain trust” has experienced many of the high points – and most serious challenges – faced by the region and the OAS.
And to our host and organizer, Rocio Suarez – thank you. Rocio joined the OAS in 2003 and has spent her entire OAS career here at the Columbus Memorial Library, where she is now Acting Chief Librarian. I know she has had the chance to work with Ambassador Einaudi on many occasions. We appreciate her efforts in preparing today’s event, and for maintaining the Library’s Einaudi Collection.
As we close this interesting discussion and our celebration of Pan American Week, I would like to leave you all with an observation which then-Assistant Secretary General Einaudi made on the occasion of Pan American Day twenty years. He said that:
La Organización de los Estados Americanos es la expresión de esa continuidad histórica en la cual reconocemos los distintos tramos de un pasado común que nos revela contrastes de luces y sombras. Cuando conmemoramos el Día de las Américas, nuestra evocación nos permite efectuar una suerte de inventario, de balance entre el debe y el haber, para proseguir con la construcción del porvenir, adecuando estructuras y relaciones hemisféricas.
(ENGLISH) The Organization of American States is the expression of that historical continuity in which we recognize the different stretches of a common past that reveal contrasts of light and shadow. When we commemorate Pan American Day, our evocation allows us to make a kind of inventory, a balance between duty and action, so we can advance construction of the future — by adapting hemispheric structures and relations.
This call to make the OAS more responsive to today’s challenges remains more important now than ever. We all look forward to many more years of Luigi’s guidance and advice as we advance in this work.
I’d now like to invite everyone to join me for a coffee reception.
We have also prepared a video carousel highlighting moments of diplomatic history in which Ambassador Einaudi played a part. I hope you enjoy this “diplomatic tour” of Luigi’s fascinating life and long career. Thank you all for coming.