House Committee Votes To Stop Funding OAS
July 21, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted Wednesday to end its funding of the Organization of American States (OAS), with Republicans claiming the regional bloc was an enemy to democracy and freedom in the Americas. The hour-long debate over the proposal to cut the full annual U.S contribution of $48.5 million to the OAS is just the beginning of a long partisan debate over the fiscal 2012 State Department and foreign operations authorization bill. The OAS Charter was signed in 1948 at a conference led by then-U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall and is headquartered in Washington. During Wednesday’s debate Republicans said that the group supports anti-U.S. regimes such as that of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, while Democrats argued that defunding the OAS would isolate the United States. “Here we are for a lousy $48 million willing to symbolically turn our backs on our own hemisphere… This is folly. it’s more than folly, it’s dangerous,” said Representative Gary Ackerman, a Democrat from New York. “And you’ve got the votes to do it, that’s the frightening thing. But what we should be looking at are opportunities to reach out to the world.”
Read more at Foreign Policy Magazine’s The Cable blog.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A new law in Arizona went into effect yesterday that allows the state to build a fence along its border with Mexico using private donations.
- Organized crime prosecutors in Mexico said that the former mayor of the resort city of Cancún should face charges for smuggling Cuban migrants.
- A Mexican drug cartel calling themselves the Knights Templar is distributing booklets to the public asserting that it is fighting against poverty and injustice.
- A U.S. teenager is on trial in Mexico for allegedly killing and mutilating four people while working as a drug cartel hitman.
- Future prospects for improving U.S.-Cuba ties will be at stake when Cuba’s highest court hears an appeal on Friday from jailed U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross against his 15-year sentence for crimes against the state.
- Haitian President Michel Martelly will ask a reconstruction commission to extend its mandate for a year.
- Five students set a world record Wednesday after reading aloud for 300 straight hours to raise awareness about books in the Dominican Republic. And they kept going.
- Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom said that Central America needs a regional NATO-style military force to combat the drug cartels operating throughout the region.
- The head of the United Nations agency for press freedom criticized the recent killings of two journalists in Honduras.
- Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega proposed a referendum on whether to demand $17 billion from the U.S. for its role in the Central American nation’s civil war.
- A strike by state health workers continued into its second day in Costa Rica, affecting all state hospitals and medical clinics.
- An opponent of the Venezuelan government was freed on parole Wednesday after a year in prison following President Hugo Chávez’s call for clemency for prisoners with health problems.
- Venezuela’s proven oil reserves have surpassed Saudi Arabia’s for the first time, making it the most oil-rich nation in the world, according to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
- Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday tweeted that his Facebook page had been hit by the hacker group Anonymous.
- Court proceedings began Tuesday in a high-profile libel lawsuit that pits Ecuador’s president against one of the nation’s largest newspapers.
- Jewish groups in Argentina rejected a proposal from the Iranian foreign ministry offering cooperation in solving the 1994 bombing of Jewish community center in Argentina.
- The jailed leader of the Marxist Paraguayan rebel group EPP released a book that promotes the organization’s ideals.
- The unemployment rate in Brazil dipped to 6.2 percent in June, down from 6.4 percent in May for Latin America’s largest economy.
Image: OEA – OAS @ Flickr.