It’s an open secret within the company and employees are upset.
The secretary general of the Organization of American States is facing an internal investigation into allegations he had a consensual relationship with an aide in violation of OAS protocol, The Associated Press has learned.
News of a relationship between Luis Almagro and a Mexican woman in her 20s broke when delegates from 34 countries descended on Peru’s capital this week for the OAS annual meeting.
However, within the Washington-based Peace and Democracy Organization, the decades-long relationship has been an open secret, making some of its 600 staff members uncomfortable. Current and retired employees and regional ambassadors.
Three of them claimed to have been seen kissing in a pool during the OAS General Assembly in Medellin in 2019.
Another said he saw them holding hands in his office in mid-2020. According to the former U.S. official, the OAS president said it was this affair that led to his separation from his second wife in 2020. -Election..
The OAS Code of Ethics states that an employee shall not maintain an intimate relationship with a co-worker “that would interfere with the performance of their duties or cause disadvantages to others in the workplace.”
It states that an employer may not exercise supervisory functions over or benefit another person in any way.
Almagro, 59, declined AP’s repeated requests for comment, but an OAS spokesman denied that Almagro is not the women’s supervisor, who he says has served since 2019 at the Secretariat for Strengthening Democracy.
“Almagro has never participated in decisions regarding this employee’s interests within the OAS,” spokesman Gonzalo Esparis said in an email.
But online and in photos with Almagro – as early as March of this year, and even some published on OAS accounts on social networks – the woman is said to be an “advisor” or sometimes “head of advisors” to the Secretary General. .
After the AP contacted the woman in an OAS email, her LinkedIn profile was changed to reflect that she was no longer a consultant to the organization. The OAS press office said he had been on unpaid leave since June, without explaining why.
The woman, who was not identified at the request of the OAS, declined to comment because the investigation is still ongoing, but was quoted extensively in Almagro’s biography about her “very deep and very intense” relationship with her boss. Published in his native Uruguay at the end of 2020: “Luis Almagro does not apologize.”
“I always tell her: ‘I’m smart because it didn’t take me more than thirty-eight years to get to know you, it took you fifty-fifty,'” he told the book’s editors.
In the autobiography, the head of the OAS refused to talk about the relationship and quoted the great Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario: “With gray hair I approach the rose bushes in the garden.”
Almagro also said that the “female gender” was the “most important engine” in his professional ambitions.
Two weeks earlier, the Inter-American Development Bank, another US-dominated regional body, fired its president, Mauricio Claver-Carone, a former White House official. Relationship, close relationship.
Unlike the IDB, which hired a law firm to investigate Claver-Caron’s relationship with his chief of staff, the OAS is apparently handling the matter internally.
The OAS inspector general told the AP that it decided to investigate after receiving an anonymous complaint from Almagro on June 3 about the alleged intimate relationship with an unnamed employee.
The most recent report from the Inspectorate, dated July 31, referred to the matter as “improper conduct by a high-ranking OAS official.”
After serving as foreign minister in the leftist Uruguayan government, Almagro was almost unanimously elected president of the OAS in 2015. His leadership style was questioned throughout his tenure.
During the OAS General Assembly in Lima this week, Almagro encouraged the creation of “safe spaces” for women and girls in the United States, in a tweet with a photo of twenty women surrounding her.
“We must remain firm in our commitment to remove the vestiges of patriarchy that seek to withhold only talent, knowledge and experience from women,” the tweet said.
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