The Organization of American States (OAS) must be reformed. Experts defined it as a mechanism for the conciliation of intercontinental relations. The new reality means that it makes little sense. If a country has greater contributions, it will have an impact on the decisions of this instance. The Organization will coexist with CELAC. Mexico must continue to be the bridge between the US and Canada, and the rest of America.

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is a response to the crisis of the Organization of American States (OAS) and one of the various integration efforts of Latin American countries without the participation of the United States; it is an attempt to counterbalance the excesses of U.S. hegemony. However, closing the OAS would be risky and costly, warned specialists.

In the discussion "The OAS or CELAC? The future of the Latin American organization", Virdzhiniya Petrova Georgieva, from the Institute for Legal Research (IIJ), said that the OAS is no longer based on the political or power balance on which it was created. It is an institution that is sustained by the hegemony of the American Union.

The expert recalled that in the late 1990s with George W. Bush, that condition began to waver. After 2008, with the global economic and financial crisis, the United States suffered another blow in this sense. And it is from the 2010s onwards that it entered into crisis. The northern neighbor is facing the emergence of competing poles of power in the global arena, such as China and Russia, which are beginning to exert influence in Latin America in the economic and commercial spheres.

CELAC has "zero institutionality; legally it is difficult to think that an organization that only has only a head, but no body, can face the current problems". At the same time, it is necessary to reform the Organization, which can hardly disappear; this would require the withdrawal of all the countries. So the two organizations will surely continue to coexist.

In her speech, Rocío Arroyo Belmonte, from the Faculty of Higher Education (FES) Acatlán, described the Organization as an instance of the liberal order that obeys a structure where the US has the leading role with a different vision to the multipolar world in which we live. More than a mechanism for regional integration, it is a mechanism for the conciliation of intercontinental relations.

This is different from the vision of economic integration, an area considered more by CELAC, at least in intentions, said the expert. In the current context, the possible abandonment of the OAS would mean a return to protectionism, regional rearmament, or a great vulnerability of Latin America. To the organization, it is necessary to analyze what needs to be changed, but also the benefits it has brought.

Julio Sau Aguayo, from FES Acatlan, stated that it is imperative to re-found the Organization because the international context has been completely reconfigured, and there are many global problems to be faced, for which it is not prepared because it is a historical product of the "cold war" period, which no longer exists. Now a sort of "new cold war" is emerging, but in economic terms, between China and the US, and Latin America is an important place where this confrontation is taking place. The new reality makes little sense for this body.

CELAC is not an international organization since it lacks a General Secretariat and permanent bodies; it is a mechanism for political dialogue. However, it is advised by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

For Luis Lorenzo Córdova Arellano, from the School of Law, the OAS does not work; it is not an organization that solves problems. From a realistic point of view, it will be difficult or impossible for it to disappear, so it will coexist with the Community of States and gradually, if the latter maintains its reactivation, Latin American nations could transition to a system of their own, without the tutelage of the US. CELAC could be established through an UN-style General Assembly, with the power to propose resolutions, as well as integration organizations. It is the appropriate vehicle to move towards supranational bodies, respecting the sovereignty of the states, he added.

Pedro José Berzunza Castilla, from the Law School of the Autonomous University of Yucatán, said that the impact of the financial reduction of the Organization would be seen in the functions of its General Secretariat, the limitation in the participation in regional forums, and the reduction of permanent missions, among other aspects. The budget is important and if a country has greater contributions, it will have an impact on the organization's decisions, said the expert in the session moderated by Manuel Becerra Ramírez, from the IIJ, and Juan Manuel Portilla Gómez, from FES Acatlán.

Luis Peraza Parga, from the Panamerican University of Mexico City, said that the OAS is a small United Nations Organization that "should be there". It has created a good system for the protection of human rights; both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court have done an exceptional job. The electoral observance system is also remarkable. On the subject of integration, Mexico must "continue to look upwards" to its northern neighbor, and continue as a bridge between the US and Canada, and the rest of America. "New leaders are needed who want to lift the largest portion of the population out of poverty and move forward. The Organization of American States (OAS) is salvageable, while CELAC is a set of political intentions," he said.

Source: UNAM