OAS Commemorates the “Meeting of Two Worlds” with a Call for the Recognition of Indigenous Peoples
|The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today held a special meeting to commemorate the “Meeting of Two Worlds,” as a new anniversary approaches of the arrival of the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus to the Americas.
During the meeting, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, the Chair of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the OAS, La Celia A. Prince, recalled that the meeting of two worlds forever changed the way of life of the inhabitants of both. “It was here that Europe and America began a joint history, bringing about a fusion and eventual transformation of our entire planet,” said Ambassador Prince. The Caribbean diplomat added that “today we, the people of the Americas remember the fearless and determined spirit of our native indigenous peoples, coupled with the enterprising spirit of the adventurous European explorers who dared to adventure beyond their horizons and beyond acceptable schools of thought to find knowledge and wealth. And this is courageous spirit and determination that continues to define our Hemisphere as it’s now and forever a partner with the rest of the globel.”
For his part, the Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Jorge Hevia, said the Hispanic identity, as well as the Spanish language, is larger today in the Americas than in Europe and reviewed the cultural and political links that bind the two. He said America and Europe “are inspired by the same values of freedom, democracy and human rights systems; they are universal values that we share with particular intensity, so the political alliance between Europe and the Americas is key to the future global order we are building together.”
The Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, Deborah-Mae Lovell, on behalf of the Caricom countries recommended completion of the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with a recognition of the significance of the demographic shift that came with the arrival of the conquerors, which implied the disappearance of the majority of the original population and the arrival of millions of people brought from Africa as slaves.
During the meeting, the representatives of Canada, Chile, Mexico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Peru, Canada, Colombia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Dominica, Honduras, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and the Permanent Observer of Italy all took the floor.