J Michael Waller / Center for Security Policy / March 10, 2010 – The Trump administration backing an anti-US Marxist for a second term as head of the American hemisphere’s multinational security organization.
The State Department is squeezing small Caribbean countries to vote for an anti-American radical for another five-year term as head of the Organization of American States (OAS), diplomatic sources from three countries say.
Luis Almagro, a lawyer and politician from Uruguay, is running for re-election as OAS secretary general. The election is scheduled for March 20. The OAS is an international organization founded after World War II to fight Communism and promote hemispheric security.
Other Latin American diplomats sought the post, but the State Department decided to continue backing Almagro, elected to head the OAS in 2015 with support of the Obama administration.
Almagro is widely believed to want to use his second term at the OAS as an international platform to run for president in his native Uruguay.
US is picking off small countries to get votes
The US is said to be trying to divide the CARICOM bloc of 15 mostly English-speaking Caribbean countries and territories in order to peel away enough votes in the 35-member OAS to keep Almagro in charge.
The CARICOM countries feeling the State Department squeeze most are said to be Haiti, Jamaica, and St. Lucia.
Each member state has an equal vote in the OAS. The US vote carries as much (or little) weight as the island of St. Lucia. Almagro needs the support of 18 OAS member countries to win a majority.
Other candidates are willing to run for the OAS Secretary General position, but the US has thrown its weight behind Almagro without seeking concessions.
Almagro’s terrorist mentors
Almagro became OAS chief with the support of the Obama administration, when he was foreign minister of the Marxist government of Uruguay.
Jose Mujica, a prominent and unrepentant former Tupamaro guerrilla who was Uruguayan president at the time, picked Almagro to serve as his foreign minister in 2010.
The Tupamaros were a Cuban-backed urban terrorist group whose strategy was to install a Communist regime in Uruguay in the 1960s and ‘70s. They succeeded in destabilizing the country’s democratic government to provoke a military takeover, which they used as a pretext to justify their terrorist and guerrilla campaign.
The US helped provide Uruguay with the means to crush the insurgency.
Almagro is too young to have been involved with the Tupamaros at the time, but he has spoken fondly of the movement and owes his political rise to former Tupamaro terrorists who were active during the assassination of a former FBI agent in Uruguay, said to have been a CIA agent under official cover.
The American, Dan Mitrione, was based out of the US Embassy in Montevideo, advising the Uruguayan security forces in counterterrorism. The Tupamaros abducted and murdered Mitrione in 1970. Secretary of State William Rogers attended Mitrione’s funeral, flanked by Mitrione’s widow and nine children.
In August, 1970, Uruguay’s democratic government erected a memorial to Mitrione, pictured in the montage above, and planned to name a street in his honor.
Three years later, the Tupamaros succeeded in destabilizing Uruguay’s democracy and provoking a military coup to restore order. The Tupamaros failed to win popular support. The terrorists and their supporters justified the murder of Mitrione by calling him a “CIA torturer,” a theme that embedded itself in popular culture.
US-funded OAS post pushes Marxist presidential ambitions
Sources at the OAS have said for years that Almagro, who began his first five-year term as secretary general in 2015, wanted to use the high-visibility international post to promote himself back in Uruguay to become president.
The United States taxpayer funds 57 percent of the OAS budget. Thus the US is funding more than half of Almagro’s salary and expenses. The US has one 35th of the vote in the OAS and has not attempted to utilize the organization for America-first purposes.
Apparently in order to get US support to run the OAS in 2015, Almagro energetically supported the Obama administration’s weak efforts to isolate Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro. Almagro did not oppose Maduro, a Cuban-backed leftist, until the Venezuelan regime had lost the ability to finance Marxist and other radical social and political movements in the hemisphere.
Almagro became a prominent Latin American leftist critic of Maduro. The Trump administration continued the Obama policy but intensified it to increase pressure on Maduro to step down. Almagro remained Latin America’s most high-profile opponent of Maduro, whose corruption and economically destructive system brought discredit to left-wing politicians in the region.
Because of his cooperation with the Trump administration on Venezuela, Mujica’s Frente Amplio political party expelled Almagro in 2018. That’s why, insiders say, Almagro needs to be re-elected to a second OAS term to keep himself viable as candidate for president of his tiny South American country.
‘He has no regard for the United States’
Historically, the US has used leftists of one type to fight more malignant leftists, so backing Almagro is not unusual.
However, Almagro maintains a personal hostility toward President Trump as an individual and toward the United States as a country, according to a source close to the State Department.
While the OAS chief has energetically supported the Trump administration’s policy to recognize socialist Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of the country, in private Almagro is said to deride Trump as a leader and the United States as a nation.
The pro-Guaido effort, begun in 2018 as a soft-power operation of diplomacy and nonviolent protests, has failed to oust leftist Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.
“Almagro usually calls President Trump very stupid and says that it’s easy to manipulate the United States as long as he plays Washington’s game,” says a diplomatic source who requested anonymity. “He has no regard for the United States.”
#MeToo leadership at OAS?
Almagro’s personal behavior at the OAS has alienated female diplomats and could have opened him up to blackmail, diplomats say.
“Almagro is a walking ‘Me Too’ problem for the OAS,” a Latin American source says.
“Female ambassadors at the OAS have seen his behavior and are appalled at their own governments’ support of Almagro,” according to a diplomat who knows them.
Almagro is widely rumored to have an open affair with his personal assistant, a Mexican woman whose name we will withhold. As with Almagro, the United States pays 57 percent of the “assistant’s” salary and benefits.
“No senior diplomat should lead the hemisphere’s premier multinational organization and carry on an officially-funded affair and alienate female diplomats,” an OAS observer said.