José Joaquín Puello, a 75-year-old neurosurgeon from the Dominican Republic, has emerged as a candidate to succeed Julio Maglione as President of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO).
In a recent letter to “colleagues and friends”, the Dominican Olympic Committee (COD) officially announces the candidacy, pledging that Puello would use every opportunity in coming months to “consult with each and every member of this great sports organization” and “consolidate a plan of action”.
The letter describes Puello, who was COD President from 1982 until 2004, as “Ad-Vitam President of our NOC”.
He was also President of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization (CACSO) from 1986 until 2004, is chairman of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB)’s Ethics Panel and President of his national anti-doping commission.
In a work plan accompanying the letter, Puello pledges “as a first step” if elected to have PASO stakeholders submit recommendations and concerns to his office within 60 days.
These would be reformulated as a list of proposals for evaluation, discussion and possible adoption at a subsequent General Assembly.
He also proposes moving PASO headquarters to Miami, “a travel hub for our member National Olympic Committees (NOCs)”.
A “lean” President’s office would be set up in the Dominican Republic capital Santo Domingo.
PASO was dominated for many years by Mario Vázquez Raña, an autocratic Mexican who was one of the most influential sports administrators of the Juan Antonio Samaranch International Olympic Committee era, but who died early last year, aged 82.
Maglione, 80, officially succeeded him last April.
While he will serve out Vázquez Raña’s term until later this year, the Uruguayan, who is also President of the International Swimming Federation (FINA), has promised not to seek to retain the role any longer.
It is not yet clear exactly when the election will take place, although it is thought likely that it will not be before the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.
Puello’s rivals are expected to include Carlos Nuzman, 73, the Rio 2016 President.
The meeting at which the election will take place will be preceded earlier this year by an Extraordinary General Assembly to agree and adopt a new Constitution.
It is understood that the March 10 date under consideration for this meeting has not proved convenient and that a date in April is being evaluated.