Nestor Mendez on new role at OAS

By Alexis R. Milan
Staff Reporter

The Organization of the American States’ (OAS) Assistant Secretary General-elect, Nestor Mendez, in fielding questions from the media, reiterated that he hopes to continue to build on the work the organization has previously done in relation to the Belize-Guatemala dispute.

Mendez said the OAS remains committed to facilitating the dispute and he wants to see if there are ways that the organization can expand its contributions in terms of facilitating that process. Mendez added though that he doesn’t know if he will be directly involved in that process, as that role in the past has been usually reserved for the Secretary General of the Organization.
If he is involved, Mendez said we would treat the matter with the greatest seriousness and responsibility as it is such a sensitive matter.

In response to criticism of the Organization by the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV), who disputed claims by the OAS that they had miscalculated their location on a previous border expedition and planted trees on the Guatemalan side, Mendez said he was only aware of the situation from the news and he could not verify whether or not they were in Guatemalan territory.

Moving forward, Mendez said he is sure that the OAS will remain committed to doing everything possible to ensuring that there are as little incidents along the border as possible.
Speaking on his election to outgoing Assistant Secretary General, Mendez said it took about two years of preparation in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He said it has been a new experience for him and he is excited for the challenge ahead.

He added that it is an opportunity to put the Organization to the test in delivering to member states what they need and want. Mendez assumes his new role in July and will occupy the post for the next five years.

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