Democracy in the Americas

Article excerpt

On January 24, political leaders, legislators and experts from the hemisphere analyzed the state of democracy in the continent at the headquarters of the Organization of the American States (OAS) in Washington, DC, during the XXVIII OAS Policy Roundtable: "Representative Democracy or Participatory Democracy?"

The debate was moderated by Victor Rico, OAS Secretary for Political Affairs, with the participation of Jorge Castaneda, former Secretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico; Eduardo Vio Grossi, Judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; Maria Paula Romo, Assembly Member and President of the State Justice and Structure Commission in Ecuador; and Dante Caputo, Special Advisor to the OAS Secretary General and Director of Project Democracy.

During the discussion, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza referred to the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Inter-American Democratic Charter (IDC) in Lima, on September 11, 2001.

"This discussion is important because we have a Charter that says democracy is the right of citizens in the region, something that did not exist in any instrument in the world before; and there is no doubt that the form in which that right is exercised, the way in which the majorities and minorities express themselves, is fundamental," stated Insulza.

The discussions revolved around an analysis of how democracy is interpreted within the framework of the IDC, and if in the Charter the practice of democracy is inferred to be representative or participatory and the relation between these two concepts. …