The Grayzone has obtained photographs of OAS chief Luis Almagro displaying romantic intimacy with his former top aide, possibly while she worked in his office. Almagro’s conduct is the subject of an internal OAS investigation over concerns his relationship violated the organization’s code of ethics.
On October 7, the Associated Press revealed that OAS Secretary General and fanatical regime change activist Luis Almagro is facing an internal investigation by the multi-lateral body over a potentially improper affair he carried out with an aide, Mexican diplomat Marian Vidaurri.
Photos exclusively obtained by The Grayzone were taken before Vidaurri was moved out of Almagro’s office, raising questions about whether or not he misused OAS funds to further his romantic escapades.
In images published for the first time, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and Vidaurri can be seen holding hands as they stroll through an airport. Later, while seated on a flight, they appear to be speaking in a cozy, affectionate manner. The photographs were taken by a traveler in Spain’s international Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport on February 21, 2019.
While in Madrid, Almagro was tasked with coordinating US and European efforts to unseat Venezuela’s elected president, Nicolás Maduro. His visit to Venezuela’s former colonizer in Madrid came just weeks after the Trump Administration’s decision to recognize Juan Guaidó, a formally unknown opposition lawmaker, as the country’s president.
Though neither party has denied the relationship, an OAS spokesperson told the Associated Press that Almagro never worked as Vidaurri’s superior. In an email to the AP, OAS spokesperson Gonzalo Espariz insisted: “Almagro never took part in any decisions regarding this staff member’s interests within the OAS.”
Yet Vidaurri’s own public biographies, which described her role as a “head adviser” to the OAS Secretary General, directly contradict the organization’s narrative.
A 2020 biography of Almagro published in his native Uruguay further muddies those claims. Journalist Francesca Emanuele noted the book documents how Almagro called to offer Vidaurri a job in his office after they spent time together during a trip to Philadelphia. The excerpt is translated in its entirety below:
“Vidaurri is a Mexican political scientist who for a long time was a member of the technical team that wrote reports for the Secretary General from the Secretariat for Strengthening Democracy. As she recounts it, although she had no direct dealings with him, she always received feedback from the Secretary General’s office about her work.
Although they had only seen each other a few times, they truly got to know each other on a trip to Philadelphia. “That was on a Friday and on Monday he called me to his office and said: ‘Come work for me.’” Some time later the relationship went beyond the professional sphere. Within Almagro’s inner circle everyone has different characteristics that are complemented by his personality. It is difficult for the Secretary General to speak about his partner and role. “Let her talk about it,” he says. But about the rest of his team, he goes into details.”
Tras ser investigado,el presidente del Banco Interamericano d Desarrollo fue destituido al haber mantenido una relación con una subordinada. Y para cuándo la investigación al secretario general d la OEA, @Almagro_OEA2015, q mantiene tb una relación sentimental con su subordinada? pic.twitter.com/fHyiL2Z7qi
The accusation that Almagro’s relationship with Vidaurri violated OAS ethics surfaced less than one month after the DC-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) voted to remove its president, Trump appointee Mauricio Claver-Carone, following an independent investigation which revealed he maintained an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate and even moved to increase her salary by 43 percent.
Claver-Carone’s ouster sparked rumors that partisans within the Biden Administration are working to remove Trump-aligned forces within regional institutions such as the IDB and OAS. If removed, Almagro could prove the latest casualty of that campaign. While heading the OAS, Almagro provided aggressive support for US policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly regarding Washington’s efforts to overthrow the elected governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua.