The Passing of Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. addresses the press in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday, March 26, 1998. Richardson, a two-term Democratic governor of New Mexico who later was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and dedicated his post-political career to working to free Americans

Remarks by
Ambassador Francisco O. Mora
September 5, 2023

Madam Chair and colleagues,

It is with a heavy heart that my delegation shares with this Council news of the passing of Bill Richardson last Friday in Massachusetts. Richardson served as governor of the State of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration, and a member of the United States Congress.

He was a proud Hispanic American and remarkable statesman who dedicated his life to public service.

Ambassador Richardson’s vision extended beyond borders — he recognized the importance of fostering stronger relations between the United States and the Americas. He believed deeply in the power of dialogue, cooperation, and engagement to strengthen regional ties and address mutual challenges.

His contributions to the Organization of American States were also substantial. As Special OAS Envoy for Hemispheric Affairs under the tenure of Secretary General Insulza, he emphasized the importance of bolstering Inter-American cooperation and regional representation on the global stage.

In remarks given in this hall in 2008 as part of the OAS Lecture Series of the Americas, Richardson underscored this point, calling for a “constructive realistic approach–recognizing our mutual interests and bridging our honest differences.”

Madam Chair, Richardson was also a staunch advocate for human rights and international cooperation. His principled stance on immigration, emphasizing comprehensive reform, demonstrated a deep understanding of the complex issues facing our hemisphere.

As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Energy, Richardson proved himself to be a diplomat of unparalleled skill. His efforts to secure the release of detainees, such as journalist Danny Fenster in Myanmar in 2021, exemplified his unwavering dedication to humanitarian causes.

Colleagues, as we mourn his loss, we remember Bill Richardson for his distinguished political career — and his tireless efforts to promote peace, diplomacy, and understanding.

His legacy will continue to inspire all those who strive for a better, more cooperative world. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family, his beloved New Mexico, and all those who had the privilege of working alongside him here at the OAS.

May he rest in peace. Thank you very much.