The Organization of American States (OAS) is the world's oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to April 1890. At that meeting the establishment of the International Union of American Republics was approved. The Charter of the OAS was signed in Bogotá in 1948 and entered into force in December 1951. The Charter was subsequently amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires, signed in 1967, which entered into force in February 1970; by the Protocol of Cartagena de Indias, signed in 1985, which entered into force in November 1988; by the Protocol of Managua, signed in 1993, which entered into force on January 29, 1996; and by the Protocol of Washington, signed in 1992, which entered into force on September 25, 1997. The OAS currently has 35 member states. In addition, the Organization has granted permanent observer status to 62 states, as well as to the European Union.
The Organization of American States (OAS) is an international organization established in 1948 to achieve among its member states, as Article 1 of its Charter indicates, “an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence.” Today it comprises the 35 independent States of the Americas and constitutes the principal political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere.
However, the establishment of the international organization that today brings together all the States of the Americas and the Caribbean marked one stage of a long process that dates back to 1889, when, in and around the Conferences of American States, a web of provisions and institutions was being woven that came to be known as the “inter-American system,” the oldest of the international institutional systems.