From a statement to the Organization of American States by Secretary General Joao Clemente Baena Soares on Nov. 9:

This organization does not make shoes or soda pop bottles. It produces a political product and a technical-cooperation product. I don't see how practices designed for businesses that produce soda pop bottles can be successfully applied here. . . .

I would like . . . the delegates to bear all these points in mind when the budget is being discussed. I would like them to be particularly mindful of the fact that there is no solution unless the quotas are paid. Or are we going to decide that quotas will no longer be paid? If that is the case, then let's close the organization.

. . . I have colleagues in the Secretariat who say that this organization has been through similar crises before and survived. Whoever thinks that doesn't understand anything. This is a crisis that goes beyond the numbers. It is a crisis of quality. We have an opportunity to reinvigorate this organization. We are facing -- no, we are already involved in a very legitimate, laudable process of reaffirming this organization as a political forum for discussing all the problems of the hemisphere. We are fortunate to be engaged in this process, yet even as this is under way we are denied the funds needed to grow. . . . Forgive the metaphor, but I feel somewhat like the painter who is painting the top of a wall when he has the ladder pulled from under him. I'm hanging here by the brush.