On Thursday, October 6, the US-based mainstream news outlet The Associated Press revealed in a report that the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, is facing an internal investigation for having a long-running intimate relationship with a junior staffer that may have violated the organization’s code of ethics.
News of the investigation into a relationship between Secretary General Luis Almagro and Mexican-born OAS employee Marián Vidaurri, 20 years his junior, emerged as Almagro and delegates from OAS member countries gathered in Lima, Peru this week for OAS’ annual meeting. It has been reported that the investigations began in July to determine whether the relationship violated the ethics policies of the OAS.
Failed lessons of morality
Almagro’s romantic relationship with the junior staffer has been “an open secret” within the OAS for several years. According to the AP report, many of the employees of the organization felt “uncomfortable and intimidated interacting with the boss’ alleged paramour.” This was said to AP by “half a dozen individuals, including current and former staffers as well as regional diplomats.”
Testimonies of several OAS employees regarding this relationship have gone public via the AP. Two people claimed that they saw Almagro and the woman kissing beside a pool at the OAS General Assembly in Medellin, Colombia in 2019. Another said that he saw them holding hands at a meeting in his office in mid-2020.
It was also revealed that a former US official said that Almagro admitted to him that it was this relationship that caused his divorce from his wife around the time of his reelection as OAS chief in 2020. Hence, it appears that the lessons of morality and rectitude are mere words for Almagro, who has accused and criticized several countries for lacking morality and discipline throughout his tenure.
From the beginning, Almagro joined the United States in its regime change efforts against Venezuela and Cuba. He even repeated former US President Trump’s line that he would not rule out using military force to depose of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Moreover, although Venezuela withdrew from the OAS in 2019, Almagro continued to receive coup leader Juan Guaidó as the “interim president” of Venezuela at OAS events. He has also been severely criticized for his support for the coup in Bolivia in 2019 that removed the then President Evo Morales and installed a military-backed dictatorship headed by Jeanine Áñez, who is now in prison for her role in the coup, subsequent massacres, and additional human rights violations of Bolivians who had protested against the de facto government.
The OAS ethics guidelines state that staff members must not have intimate relationships with colleagues in a way that interferes “with the performance of their duties or to disadvantage others in the workplace.” It dictates that a manager must leave any supervisory role over the other individual and must not bestow any additional benefits upon the other person.
The 59-year-old Almagro declined repeated requests from the AP to comment. OAS spokesperson Gonzalo Espariz denied Almagro was ever the woman’s supervisor. However, in several online bios as well as in photos with Almagro taken as recently as March, some of them posted on the OAS’ social media accounts and presented to media outlets as handouts, Vidaurri is described as an “adviser” or sometimes “head adviser” to the OAS secretary general.
After the AP contacted the woman at her OAS email, her LinkedIn profile was modified to reflect that she is no longer serving as an advisor to the organization. The OAS press office told AP that she has been on unpaid leave since June but did not provide any reason.
The OAS inspector general told the AP that it decided to look into the matter after Almagro forwarded a loosely detailed anonymous complaint on June 3 that reported an intimate relationship of the OAS chief with an unnamed staffer. The inspectorate’s most recent report, dated July 31, treats the matter as “alleged misconduct by a senior OAS staff member.”
Another regional organization also dominated by the United States, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), made the decision to remove its president, Mauricio Claver-Carone, over allegations very similar to those against Luis Almagro.
Claver-Carone, who is also a former White House official, was removed from his post for favoring a subordinate with whom he allegedly had an intimate relationship. He even raised her salary by 43%. However, unlike the IDB that hired a law firm to investigate Claver-Carone’s relationship with the staffer, the OAS is reportedly handling the matter internally.
(RedRadioVE) by Victoria Torres, with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Victoria Torres#molongui-disabled-linkNovember 20, 2023
Victoria Torres#molongui-disabled-linkOctober 30, 2023