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Oas And The Promotion For Democracy

2479 words - 10 pages

The Role of the OAS: The Need for Increased Capacity for Democratic Institution Building Introduction Latin America has been a world leader in democratization, preceding the global "third wave" of democracy by nearly a decade. Recent challenges to democratization have been seen in Haiti and Peru whose governments were overthrown by coups and also in Venezuela, where an attempted coup undermined democratic governance in the region.The OAS has recently become more aggressive in its aim to promote and protect democratic institutions. Critics have suggested that the OAS should develop stringent protocols for the enforcement of democracy in sovereign states. While the historical evolution of the ...view middle of the document...

Domestically, member states' democratic institutions had been constrained by the principles of self-determination and nationalism. Internationally, the OAS and other international institutions have been limited by a code of non-intervention in sovereign states. "The assumption that multilateral action was unsuitable for international issues of political development was prevalent, as the principle of non-intervention became the center piece of inter-American relations."(Villagran de Leon, 8) In the Post Cold War era, democratic institution building is of particular importance and has been a goal of the institution as a whole.Although, the principle of non-intervention dominated Post-Cold War policy, the Cartagena Protocol of 1985 brought about a fundamental crossroads. It codified the role for the OAS, establishing that the promotion of democracy was one of the organization's "essential purposes." The proclamation was a reflection and an impetus for the establishment of civilian elected governments in most of Latin America, a phenomenon which swept the region throughout the 1980s. Multilateral cooperation paved the way for important developments in the region and increased the capacity of the OAS.Other important protocols have developed since the establishment of the Cartagena Protocol. At the General Assembly meeting in Paraguay in 1990, member states proposed the establishment for the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy, which was adopted one year later under Resolution 572. Moreover, the General Assembly held in Chile in 1991 embraced inter-American cooperation with the "Santiago Commitment to Democracy, and the Renewal of the Inter-American System." Resolution 1080 was another important development. Through the inception of the UDP, the Santiago protocols, and Resolution 1080, the OAS was received greater legitimacy.Resolution 1080 established a mechanism to deal with "any occurrences giving rise to the sudden or irregular interruption of the democratic political institutional process or of the legitimate exercise of power by the democratically elected government in any of the Organizational member states." If such disruption occurs, an immediate meeting of the Permanent Council is to be called by the Secretary General. The Council has up to ten days to examine and review the situation. If it so decides, an ad hoc Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs or a special session of the General Assembly may be called to adopt decisions deemed appropriate according to the Charter and consistent with international law. Resolution 1080 represents an important step toward the consolidation of democracy in the Western Hemisphere and uproots the classic non-intervention doctrine. In Haiti and Peru such meetings have convened and democratic rule was eventually restored. The effectiveness of these measures is debatable.The OAS has been increasingly active in building democratic institutions, particularly with the founding of the Unit for the Promotion...

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