Jose Puello Aims to Orchestrate PASO Like a Symphony

(ATR) The PASO presidential candidate hopes to make music with the region’s NOCs.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO:  Jose Joaquin Puello, president of the Organizing committee for the  2003 Panamerican Games of Dominican Republic, participates in the Generral Assembly of the ODEPA which is celebrated in Mexico City, 23 August 2002. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: Jose Joaquin Puello, president of the Organizing committee for the 2003 Panamerican Games of Dominican Republic, participates in the Generral Assembly of the ODEPA which is celebrated in Mexico City, 23 August 2002. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

(ATR) Jose Puello says he wants to make music with the 41 countries of the Pan American Sports Organization if elected its next president.

"I hope to be like a simple conductor of a great orchestra," Puello tells Around the Rings in an exclusive interview. "Not symphonic, but sporty."

The honorary life president of the Dominican Republic Olympic Committee is one of four candidates vying for the presidency along with Brazilian and Chilean Olympic Committee presidents Carlos Nuzman and Neven Ilic and St. Vincent and the Grenadines NOC general secretary Keith Joseph.

Puello says communication between the National Olympic Committees of PASO and the realization of their needs is one of the most important tenants of his presidential campaign.

"Our first execution will be to give a period of 60 days to each NOC to tell us what is the PASO they want to build in the next four years," Puello says. "What are the needs and their sports development programs that we must implement?"

Rather than push his own agenda on PASO, Puello says he intends to delegate responsibilities appropriately throughout its members.

"I do not want to become the absolute director of PASO," he tells ATR. "I will allow and encourage each person to do their work as appropriate, and that each Commission is creative to implement means that respond efficiently to our NOCs and our athletes."

An executive member of the Dominican Republic NOC, Puello has been able to travel throughout the Americas without breaking PASO’s strict campaign guidelines. He attended the meeting of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees in Barranquilla, Colombia along with candidates Nuzman and Joseph where it seemed he garnered some support.

On March 4, Richard Peterkin of St. Lucia withdrew his candidacy, adding that he believes a "consensus candidate" from the Caribbean is on the horizon.

With whispers that Joseph is also expected to withdraw his candidacy before the April 26 election, Puello could emerge as the frontrunner in the campaign. If Puello is the sole Caribbean candidate, it’s not hard to fathom him gathering the 18 votes of support available from Caribbean NOCs – a voting bloc that nearly constitutes a simple majority. Puello tells ATR he currently has support from the Caribbean as well as Central and South America.

Today, communication between NOCs and PASO can be difficult with the sole PASO offices located in Mexico City. Puello he says he would maintain a PASO office in Mexico but add a Santo Domingo office if elected and discuss options for other locations.

"This will lead us to take specific actions to facilitate the interaction between our members since in our continent the distances are enormous between our countries," he says.

Puello indicates he would also convene a brainstorming session between the regional associations of PASO "to exchange ideas and discuss joint actions in favor of our athletes".

PASO will choose its next leader to replace Julio Maglione at the general assembly in Punta del Este, Uruguay April 23-26.

Written by Kevin Nutley

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