In 1826, Simón Bolívar, then president of Peru, proposed the creation of a multi-national organization of central and south American countries that would have a common military, a defense pact, and a supranational parliament. Due to civil wars and governmental instability in many countries, the proposition struggled and continental agreement and cooperation was mediocre at best.
In 1948, members met in Bogata, Columbia, at the Ninth International Conference of American States where everyone pledged to fight communism in America. The signatories of this event comprise what became known as the Organization of American States (OAS.) OAS' mission is to "strengthen cooperation on democratic values, defend common interests and debate the major issues facing the region and the world."
Queen Isabel II of the Spains (left) and Simón Bolívar of Venezuala (right)
This statue of Isabel II sits in the plaza of the OAS outside its entrance on 17th Street. Isabel II was Queen of the Spains (Reina de las Españas) of the House of Bourbon from 1833 - 1886. She was considered "wayward and unscrupulous" in matters of politics which left her rather unpopular. In 1868, a revolution in Spain resulted in her exile in Paris where she lived out her remaining years. Isabel II died in 1904 and is buried in Spain.
An equestrian statue of Simón Bolívar can be found on the west side of the property at 18th and C Streets NW. In addition to his involvement in the creation of what would eventually be the OAS, Bolívar was president of four Latin American countries during his career: Venezuela (1813-1814), Greater Columbia (1819-1830), Peru (1824-1827), and Bolivia (1825.)
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 4/08