Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: 21st Century Democracy Promotion in the Americas: Standing Up for the Polity

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: 21st Century Democracy Promotion in the Americas: Standing Up for the Polity

Article excerpt

21st Century Democracy Promotion in the Americas: Standing up for the Polity BY JORGE HEINE AND BRIGITTE WEIFFEN. Routledge, 2015, 196 pp.

The countries of the Western Hemisphere have pioneered regional political institutions-most notably the Organization of American States-as well as collective mechanisms for democracy promotion. Ratified by the oas' members in 2001, the Inter-American Democratic Charter codified a set of shared democratic principles but also bound the signatories to the principle of nonintervention in one another's domestic affairs. There is some tension between those two aspects of the charter, and Heine and Weiffen competently describe the triumphs and frustrations of recent oas responses to threats to democracy in the region, revealing how hard it is to respond to the gradual deterioration of democratic institutions, particularly when such institutions are vulnerable to wily, democratically elected would-be autocrats. …

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