U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement during a Full Committee mark up today that passed S. 793 - Organization of American States Revitalization and Reform Act of 2013. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I would like to commend my dear friend Senators Menendez and Rubio who along with Senators Corker and Udall brought forth an important bipartisan bill to reform a wasted agency which is the Organization of American States.
I remain extremely disappointed that the OAS continues to fail to live up to its obligations to support the respect for human rights and uphold democratic principles.
The OAS wastes time attacking our nation and discussing issues that are of no relevance to its charter all the while we in the United States contribute approximately 60% of this bloated OAS budget.
For example, two weeks ago the OAS met regarding Edward Snowden and the Evo Morales plane, and the Secretary General issued a press release stating:
[QUOTE] It is very clear that this is an event that goes beyond the explanations that have been given here The incident leaves a wound and the best way to heal that wound, to mend that wound, is to know what really happened, what really took place. [END QUOTE]
What a waste!
What about the illegitimate elections in Venezuela? What about the illegitimate elections in Nicaragua?
Are we to expect a similar statement calling for investigations regarding the North Korean flagged ship that left from Cuba to North Korea with missile equipment, in clear violation of several UN Security Council resolutions?
And we thank the Government of Panama for stopping that illicit shipment.
What about the continued human rights abuses against pro-democracy advocates in Cuba?
The OAS remains silent on all these important topics, fails to live up to any of its obligations, and does not hold accountable any despotic regime that oppresses millions of people within our Hemisphere.
So I fully support reforming the OAS and changing its funding stream by moving the dollars from the assessed contributions to voluntary contributions in order to strengthen our mission at the OAS and ensuring that U.S. taxpayer dollars are put to good use and no longer go to waste as they are at the OAS right now."