Quico says: Something is very weird in Latin America when the head of OAS starts sounding like an agit-prop talk show host on Venezuelan State Television. Because José Miguel Insulza’s statements to the press at the end of his meeting with Venezuelan opposition governors yesterday really seemed calculated to send democratically minded Venezuelans crawling up a wall…very much in the same calculated-for-maximum-obnoxiousness way as your average Alberto Nolia rant on Los Papeles de Mandinga.
First things first: Insulza’s contention that it isn’t up to OAS to go looking into the internal affairs of member countries is just a flat out lie. Peering into the democratic legitimacy of the people who run Latin American countries is one of the primary missions of OAS: why else does he think he gets to be quite so horrified by what’s happening in Honduras? Insulza’s responsibilities in this regard are set out, among others, in OAS’s Democratic Charter, which explicitly establishes that:
The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it. Democracy is essential for the social, political, and economic development of the peoples of the Americas. The effective exercise of representative democracy is the basis for the rule of law and of the constitutional regimes of the member states of the Organization of American States.
Essential elements of representative democracy include, inter alia, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, access to and the exercise of power in accordance with the rule of law, the holding of periodic, free, and fair elections based on secret balloting and universal suffrage as an expression of the sovereignty of the people, the pluralistic system of political parties and organizations, and the separation of powers and independence of the branches of government.
It’s perfectly clear that OAS can only come to a view as to whether these “essential elements of representative democracy” are being respected if it takes the trouble to actually peer into the inner workings of each state. If Insulza refuses to acknowledge, for instance, that the people of Caracas’s right to be represented by a mayor elected through a “secret balloting and universal suffrage as an expression of the sovereignty of the people” is nullified by the national government’s illegal appointment of an unelected official to carry out all of that mayor’s responsibilities, he effectively helps turn the Democratic Charter – of which he is the hemisphere’s primary trustee – into a dead letter.
Insulza’s flat out refusal to call Chávez on his shit represents an abdication of his responsibilities within the Inter-American system treaty system. This guy is just not fit to head OAS.
Post 45 of 100. Nausea inducing.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.