Ambassador Francisco O. Mora
Russell Senate Office Building
May 18, 2023
Good afternoon. On behalf of the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States, I want to thank you all for joining us today.
I especially want to thank Senators Cardin and Wicker for hosting this event, and for their leadership in support of the OAS and its mission to promote and defend democracy.
I also wish to extend our gratitude to OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro for joining us, and to the many delegations and other expert guests as we consider how to advance inter-parliamentary dialogue among legislatures, and their organizations, in the Americas.
With passage of the OAS Legislative Engagement Act, the United States Congress has articulated a vision to strengthen regional inter-parliamentary dialogue. We come together today to have a conversation on how we can best work together to bolster bonds of friendship and collaboration.
We trust this will allow us to strengthen further our region’s collective commitment to deliver on the promise of democracy for all the citizens of the Western Hemisphere.
Consistent with the values and principles articulated in the OAS Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter – especially the principle of the separation of powers – we trust this exchange of views will greatly enhance our efforts moving forward. This will help strengthen our resolve to realize fully our many shared objectives on responsive and inclusive governance.
To this end, today’s conversation will also help inform tomorrow’s Special Meeting of the Permanent Council. Thank you in particular to Canada, Paraguay, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay for partnering with the United States in championing this effort.
Colleagues, this reflects the reality that inter-American cooperation is a collective endeavor — supporting mandates approved by Leaders and Heads of State at the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, and adopted in prior OAS General Assemblies — most recently last October in Peru.
We are committed to working with all interested OAS delegations and stakeholders to advance the values articulated in the Democratic Charter and many other Inter American human rights instruments.
Let me close by acknowledging the hard work and dedication by Senate Staff as well as that of the OAS Secretariat, all of whom have worked tirelessly to make this meeting possible. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but no doubt by working together we will achieve our shared goals.
And now I turn the floor over to our hosts, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, so we can hear from them directly. Thank you.