The Road to Hemispheric Cooperation: Beyond the Cartagena Summit of the Americas

The Inter-American Democratic Charter: An Assessment and Ways to Strengthen It

The Inter-American Democratic Charter: An Assessment and Ways to Strengthen It

The ongoing and increasingly polarized debate around the region’s shaky commitments to democracy and human rights are well addressed in Dr. Perina’s thoughtful paper. In addition to the examples he offers, further evidence can be found in the decision of the OAS General Assembly in June to consider a raft of proposals to weaken the inter- American human rights system. These are important signals of change in regional politics and diplomacy. First, they connote a growing sense of self-confidence on the part of some leaders that they can handle their internal human rights problems on their own. Indeed, some even reject the basic principle of external scrutiny of their adherence to legal and political instruments they’ve endorsed. Second, they demonstrate the solidarity among the ALBA states to exploit certain decisions of the Inter-American Commission and Court on Human Rights as a wedge between Washington and the rest of the region. And third, it suggests the moral, if not always legally enforceable, power of these institutions to pressure governments to improve their human rights records remains effective.

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