US exhorts Latin America on women's rights, diversity

US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday exhorted Latin American leaders to do more to support women's rights and racial diversity.

Kerry conveyed the message in an editorial published in the Miami Herald ahead of the OAS general assembly meeting in Asuncion June 3-5, which he is skipping in favor of a G7 meeting in Brussels.

"The path we need to follow is crystal clear," he said. "Leaders across the hemisphere need to set aside racial differences in favor of inclusiveness, advocate for the rights of women, and recognize that sexual orientation is a private matter."

"The United States is committed to working with our partners to achieve these goals," he said.

He said the annual meeting of the Organization of American States would "rightly celebrate the region's economic progress and highlight the clear link between democracy and prosperity."

The last decade has been one of democratic and economic advances in the region, he said.

"We can be immensely proud of the hemisphere's positive trajectory. But for that trajectory to continue, the United States and our OAS partners must adhere closely to our shared values of inclusion and democracy," he said.