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Inter-American Democratic Charter Turned 21 Years Old and has a Mission to End Dictatorships

Carta Democrática Interamericana tiene 21 años y la misión de cesar las dictaduras, EFE

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On September 11th, 2001, the countries of the Americas instituted in Lima-Peru the “constitutive treaty,” which enshrines that “the peoples of the Americas have the right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it” and that “democracy is essential for the social, political and economic development of the peoples.” It is the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which, 21 years after its entry into force, is under the conspiracy of the dictatorships that hold power in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua under the command of Cuba. The Charter is the instrument to end dictatorships, and only needs consistent leadership.

In the last decade of the last century, all the countries of the Americas were democracies except for the Cuban dictatorship, which was agonizing in its so-called “special period.” The democracies decided to wait for the result of that agony interrupted when Hugo Chávez took the Presidency of Venezuela in 1999 and saved the Cuban dictatorship, initiating the process of destabilizing democracy using the expansion of the Castroism of the XX century turned into Castro-Chavism in the XXI century.

The XXI century was born in the Americas with the renewed conspiracy of the Cuban dictatorship that, under the shadow of the Bolivarian populism led by Chavez, would end up controlling almost all of Latin America by 2012. The conditions for this conspiracy configured the perfect storm against democracy with the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, which motivated the drastic change in US foreign policy that implied the abandonment of the region.

The growth of 21st-century socialism or castrochavismo included the control of the Organization of American States (OAS), which during the ten years of Insulza’s administration ignored the mandate and content of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the principles of the system in defense of human rights and freedom. The Inter-American Democratic Charter was neither complied with nor implemented by the OAS from 2005 to 2015, but it was also annulled, distorted, and discarded, because a foundational instrument for democracy is the main obstacle for dictatorships.

The objective reality shows that the Inter-American Democratic Charter has gone through four historical stages: 1. From its conception to its signature from 1994 to 2001, from Miami through Quebec to Lima; 2. From its proclamation on September 11, 2001, of optimism with initial implementation until the Castro-Chavista control of the OAS in 2005; 3. Of deliberate non-compliance and sabotage of its provisions in the Insulza administration from 2005 to 2015; 4. Of recovery and progressive application with the leadership of Secretary Almagro in the OAS that begins with the case of the Venezuelan dictatorship.

The political and communicational strategy of Castro-Chavism, while it controlled the OAS, was to ignore the Charter. Since 2015, it has been discrediting it with the message that it is useless and with an open conspiracy against the OAS and Secretary General Almagro. The intelligence and communication units of the Cuban dictatorship that lead this strategy understand very well that by discrediting and devaluing the content of the Charter, they can better disguise the crimes of State terrorism and crimes against humanity that they commit in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua.

To prevent the dissemination, understanding, and full application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, Castro-Chavism blocks the mechanisms of the OAS by using governments such as those of Argentina, Mexico, and Bolivia and by pressuring —even with hints of bribery— many of the countries it affiliated in the Petrocaribe mechanism to control their votes. Dictatorships also maneuver with the withdrawal from the OAS as Chávez has tried with Venezuela and now Ortega with Nicaragua, and Cuba refuses to participate in an organization it is already reintegrated.

The Inter-American Democratic Charter is the greatest enemy of dictatorships because it is the legal instrument that identifies, describes, and accuses them. Without the Charter, the dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua would continue to create false narratives such as those of revolution or illiberal democracies. It is the Charter —as binding law— with its “essential elements of democracy” that identifies regimes that violate human rights, concentrate all power, liquidate freedom of the press, nullify the rule of law, falsify the will of the people, and more criminal acts, as dictators.

The Charter can and should be improved, but as it stands, it is the ideal instrument to end dictatorships that only await consistent leadership to implement its mandates.

This article is part of an agreement between El American and the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Carlos Sánchez Berzain es abogado, politólogo, máster en ciencia política y sociología. Catedrático. Estadista perseguido y exiliado político. Director del Interamerican Institute for Democracy // Carlos Sánchez Berzain is a lawyer, political scientist, with a master's degree in political science and sociology. Professor. Persecuted statesman and political exile. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

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