FAREWELL REMARKS – JUNE 26, 2015
It is with great emotion that, after approximately two years, I pass on the honorable and one of the most challenging offices I have ever held in my career, that of Director-General of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), the longest standing regional defense organization in the world.
An organization that, throughout its more than 70 years, has undergone several transformations while adapting to the international environment, which earlier this century became, de facto and de jure, an entity of the Organization of American States (OAS), when its current statute was approved by the OAS General Assembly. Within the scope of this new concept, it incorporated the principle of civilian supervision of military institutions, with its leaders being democratically elected in accordance with the criterion of hemispheric representation. The IADB also became an eminently technical, consultative and educational organization, distinguishing itself as an important mechanism for advice, cooperation, and integration in military and defense issues. All of which was inspired by the multidimensional concept of defense and security, approved in the 2003 Declaration on Security in the Americas, in Mexico City.
As the IADB legal representative and executive leader, I had the pride and satisfaction of accomplishing the following:
- I have witnessed and followed up on the Council of Delegates—the highest representative body in the IADB—its delegates, and its chairs, as they strengthened political ties with the OAS, its member states and other defense institutions; incorporated additional representations and conferred greater visibility and credibility to the IADB, as an efficient organization capable of meeting the demands put forth before it. Through its resolutions and deliberations, the Council of Delegates improved and lent new dynamism to its structure, providing and creating new opportunities;
- I have witnessed and followed up on the Inter-American Defense College, as it modernized and became a more recognized and established institution of higher education in hemispheric security and defense. Thanks to the efforts of its leadership, its faculty, administrative staff, and student body, the renovations of its facilities was completed and it achieved its coveted accreditation to grant Master’s degrees, while offering better teaching conditions, attracting more students, and providing better academic education to both military and civilian students from its member states’ institutions and organizations; and
- I have witnessed and followed up on the IADB Secretariat, in compliance with approved resolutions and measures, as it implemented and completed the vast majority of its scheduled activities, despite the lack of financial resources, attended and was represented in several international and hemispheric forums, and held events and conducted studies associated with its main duties as an advisory organization, such as:
- humanitarian demining;
- destruction of weapons and ammunition in poor conditions;
- humanitarian assistance in natural disasters;
- inter-American logistics;
- employment of the armed forces in non-traditional tasks;
- security and confidence-building measure;
- cybersecurity and defense strategy;
- support for the preparation of white papers on defense; and
- technical support for the Pro-Tempore Secretariat for the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas and the activities at hemispheric and regional armed forces conferences.
Thus, many advances have been made in many areas of military interest to the Hemisphere, guiding its efforts and adapting its activities, according to ever changing hemispheric circumstances, particularly focusing on traditional and non-traditional threats. Our interactions with the various OAS bodies have improved, complying with its mandates, the requests from its member states and organizations whose purposes and natures are similar to those of the IADB. There has also been a progressive and constant convergence with strategic studies centers that deal with defense and security issues.
Since no one can achieve anything alone, out of a sense of justice and gratitude, I take this unique opportunity to express my appreciation and my heartfelt thanks to the following:
- the former Commander of the Brazilian Navy, Fleet Admiral Julio Soares de Moura Neto, for nominating me and for his unconditional and unrestricted support, for his constant encouragement and his various demonstrations of friendship; and to the Commander of the Navy, Fleet Admiral Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira, for his trust, guidance, incentive, and support, which were essential for the performance of my duties. I carry with me the admirable corrections, consistent attitude, moral courage, abnegation, and consequently, great leadership by example, by which all of Your Excellencies abide.
- I thank the Ministers of Defense of Brazil, Ambassador Celso Amorim and Mr. Jaques Wagner, respectively, for ratifying and forwarding my nomination for approval and for keeping me in office. I also appreciate your guidance, based on the experiences of Your Excellencies during many years at the service of the Brazilian people. Minister Jaques Wagner, your distinguished presence at this ceremony greatly honors us, and also lends a special radiance to the Inter-American Defense Board.
- to the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, I thank you for your trust in appointing me to this office.
- I thank the Minister of Foreign Relations of Brazil, Ambassador Mauro Vieira who, at the time I assumed this office, was Ambassador of Brazil to the United States of America; the current Ambassador of Brazil, Ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo; the Consul-General of Brazil in Washington, Ambassador Antonino Mena Gonçalves; and the Representative of Brazil to the OAS, Minister Breno Dias da Costa, for the countless demonstrations of appreciation and consideration you have extended to me and my family. The presence of Your Excellencies here today demonstrates the high importance the Brazilian diplomacy ascribes to this international organization.
- to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, Army General José Carlos de Nardi, for your encouragement and constant willingness to meet demands through your Office as Chief of Strategic Affairs, and the Representation of Brazil at the IADB, the chiefs of which, Army General Gerson Menandro Garcia de Freitas and Air Force General Osmar Lootens Machado, respectively, honor us with their presence on this special day.
It is worth highlighting that Brazil has been actively represented at this organization since its inception in the city of Rio de Janeiro, in January, 1942, till the present day;
- to the Military Advisor at the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations, Fleet Admiral Fernando Eduardo Studart Wiemer, in whose name I express recognition for my former Navy Chiefs and Commanders, for the great example they set with their conduct and for their timely advice.
- To the Air Force General Luiz Carlos Terciotti, to the Military Attaché of the Brazilian Army, Division General Luiz Cláudio Cyrillo, and the Naval Attaché of Brazil to the United States and Canada, Rear Admiral Carlos Henrique Silva Seixas, I whose name I thank the Air Force, Defense, Police, and Tax Attachés, the future Army and Naval Attachés, as well as their Deputy Attachés, the Chairmen of the Naval, Army, and Aeronautical Commissions in the United States, the military and civilian authorities, colleagues and friends for many years, from different origins and missions, for the support, lessons, and encouragement they have always extended to me.
- to the United States Navy Commander, Chief of Naval Operations of the Navy of the United States of America, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, and the Commander of Southern Command of the United States of America, General, U.S. Marine Corps, John Kelly, in whose name I thank all U.S. military authorities, whose support, both personal and institutional, were essential for a serene, calm, and happy stay in Washington, D.C., and in other cities in this welcoming and beautiful country.
- to the Military Chief of Colombia to the OAS, General Hernán Giraldo Restrepo, and to the Argentinian Naval Attaché, Commodore Bernardo Noziglia, in whose name I thank all other Defense, Naval, Military, and Air Force Attachés of friendly nations, for their harmonious and professional acquaintance.
- I thank the Permanent Council of the OAS, in particular, here represented by the President of Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs, Permanent Representative of Chile, Ambassador Juan Pablo Lira, in particular the Hemispheric Security Commission, here represented by Minister Counselor Flavio Medina, of the Dominican Republic Representation to the OAS, as well to the OAS General Secretariat, represented here by his Advisor to the Secretary General, Ambassador Gabriel Bidegain, for the cordial relations and efforts to coordinate activities, as well as the important relationship, which have made it easier for the Secretariat to fulfill its significant role of providing the appropriate technical and consultative advice to the OAS and its member states on military and defense issues.
- to the Council of Delegates, comprised of senior military and civilian officials from the member states’ Ministries of Defense and Foreign Relations, I reiterate my sincere appreciation, first of all, for the trust conferred on me when I was elected to exercise the important duties of Director-General. Moreover, for all the encouragement, guidance, support, and assistance that have allowed the leader of this body to fulfill his duties with all the necessary endorsement, security, and peace of mind, which were essential for the results we achieved.
- to the Chiefs of Delegations and the Delegates of member states, and permanent observers, I am thankful for the cordial treatment, the harmonious ways, and efforts dedicated to the activities carried out by this Secretariat.
- I thank the Chairman of the Council of Delegates, Division General Werther Araya Menghini, and the Director of the Inter-American Defense College, Rear Admiral Martha Herb, for the nobility and spirit of friendship present in the relations among these organization leaders, providing for great personal, professional, and institutional understanding, and continuous and harmonious cooperation.
- to the Vice-Chairman of the Council of Delegates, Brigade General Jaime González Ávalos, in whose name I extend my thanks to the other elected officials I had and, in some cases, still have the privilege of interacting and working with.
- to Rear Admiral Gonzalo Nicolás Ríos Polastri who, in a few days, will assume the Chairmanship of the Council of Delegates, I wish you much success, great achievements, and happiness in the exercise of your new duties. “Fair winds and following seas!!!”
- now I turn to my ship’s crew over the last two years at the beautiful and historic “Casa del Soldado:”
Due to its multilateralism and quite peculiar specificities, serving at the Secretariat requires of all of its members great responsibility, hard work, competence, commitment to results, all of which in a very healthy and happy environment that is also efficient and effective.
During the time we worked together, I received answers from all of you that far exceeded expectations.
Your performance and conduct reinforce our desire of how work should be conducted at an international multilateral organization.
As I bid farewell to the staff of the Secretariat, my colleagues and great friends, I bear witness to how well you, Ladies and Gentlemen, have represented your countries.
- to Major Air Force General Mauricio Ribeiro Gonçalves who, within a few minutes, will assume the office of Director-General of the Secretariat, which is comprised of civilian and military personnel who is qualified, motivated and ready to follow your command, I convey to you my best wishes for happiness and good luck, extended to Mrs. Silvia and your distinguished family. Your personal and professional experience, coupled with your cordial conduct, will allow Your Excellency to lead the Secretariat towards a promising future.
- time has come for me to leave !!!
To my family and friends, both those who are present and those who are not, my friends forever, I thank you for not letting me feel alone. You have all been part of my course, guiding and supporting my journeys.
Having by the side my dear wife, my safe harbor, Márcia—my partner for over 30 years, who have never allowed me to lose faith, love and the best feelings of friendship, understanding, companionship, and respect—and together with my children Rodrigo, Rafael, and David, I will now leave my functions at the IADB but will not separate my soul from it, the IADB medal, which I proudly wear, will be forever a reminder of all our efforts to further strengthen the ties that unite the institutions we represent and our countries.
I will attempt to express the feelings that come upon me by saying: “the heartfelt tears that I may possibly shed will not be shed out of sadness, but rather out of longing…
Longing, for the highest level of trust that was conferred upon me, for all of the demonstrations and expressions of care; for the sincere friendships, built on the basis of mutual admiration and loyalty, capable of overcoming any challenges that circumstances, time and distance may impose.
Finally, after having had the unique opportunity of following up and bearing witness to the hemispheric importance of the Inter-American Defense Board on issues of defense and security, by becoming the advisory body of excellence in to the Organization of American States and a key component of the Inter-American Defense System, I express my believe that the best way for the States to discuss situations and shape solutions, primarily those associated with global peace and stability, as well as the promotion of cooperation, development, and progress is that which is provided for and cultivated by the international multilateral organizations.
Inter-American Defense Board !!!
May our Lord of Seafarers continue to light the path of the Council of Delegates, the Secretariat, and the Inter-American Defense College.
Save the Inter-American Defense Board !!!
Viva la Junta Interamericana de Defensa !!!
Vive la Junte interaméricaine de défense !!!
Viva a Junta Interamericana de Defesa !!!
Thank you very much !!!