The Inter-American Democratic Charter and Mr. Insulza

HRF advocates that the Organization of American States’ (OAS) enforce the Inter-American Democratic Charter (IADC) equally across its member states.  The campaign includes in-depth legal analysis and a series of letters addressed to the OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, urging him to uphold the democracy clause for all OAS member states.

The Inter-American Democratic Charter and Mr. Insulza

The IADC gives the OAS secretary-general and any OAS member-states the legal authority to convene the OAS Permanent Council and General Assembly to analyze democratic crises, establish diplomatic missions to prevent democratic breakdowns, and potentially suspend the OAS membership of a non-democratic government. According to this democracy clause, both leaders who seize power through coups and democratically elected rulers who erode democracy in their position of power should be suspended from the OAS.

HRF’s campaign features a series of letters addressed to Secretary General Insulza. The first letter focuses on the threats against democracy from three democratically elected governments in Latin America: Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. The second letter details the methods that each of these nations have taken to undermine the independence of the judiciary. The third letter denounces the abuses against press freedom by these governments, and Insulza’s subsequent inaction in response to these threats. The fourth letter calls attention to the erosion of the separation of powers of government in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. The fifth letter denounces Insulza’s request to allow Cuba entry into the OAS, despite the Cuban government’s noncompliance with any of the essential elements of democracy put forth by the IADC.

As part of the campaign calling for the OAS to uphold the IADC, HRF authored a 300-page legal report on the 2009 democratic crisis in Honduras. The report concludes that under the standards of the IADC, it was correct to suspend the Honduran government of Roberto Micheletti from participation at the OAS. The report also found, however, that throughout the Honduran crisis the OAS, under the leadership of Insulza, acted as an international accomplice of President Zelaya rather than as an international organization called to promote and protect and promote democracy in its member states.