The countries that make up the Organization of American States (OAS) are committed to democracy. This commitment is expressed in an official document , which was signed in Lima in 2001, specifically the Inter-American Democratic Charter or CDI.
Through this document, which has political, but not legal, value, it is intended to combat any attempt at democratic involution in the American continent .
The CDI is a political instrument to collectively defend democracy
In the various articles of the CDI the following contents are addressed: the value of democracy, human rights, the fight against poverty, the need to promote democratic culture in the region, electoral processes and the preservation of democratic institutions.
For these actions to be effective, specific mechanisms of democratic control have been incorporated (for example, electoral observation missions). On the other hand, among the contents of the Charter, the importance given to the relationship between democracy and human rights, as well as the dissemination of democratic values should be highlighted .
When in an OAS member state the separation of powers is weakened and the rule of law is questioned, it is possible to activate the Democratic Charter in order to overcome this situation.
It should be noted that the Charter does not observe the direct intervention of a foreign force to reestablish democratic order in a nation that is part of the OAS. Such measures cannot be taken because they are contrary to the principles of non-interference and international law.
CDI meets a historic need of the peoples of America
Throughout the 19th century, most of the nations that currently formed the OAS gained independence. Since then, the American continent, especially Latin America, has been involved in all kinds of anti-democratic processes (military coups d’etat, dictatorial regimes, among others).
In fact, in the recent history of Latin America there have been several episodes contrary to democratic values (for example, the crisis in Peru and Guatemala in the early 1990s). In this way, the creation of the CDI has represented a significant advance in the strengthening of democracy.
In recent years, especially in 2017, Venezuela has been in a process of economic, political and social instability . In this context, there is a debate about the possible application of the Democratic Charter so that Venezuela definitively regains the path of democracy.