Unasur Foreign Affairs ministers meeting in Guyana reached on Thursday a consensus on a “democratic clause” to be incorporated to the group’s charter with the purpose of preventing coups in the region. The draft will be officially presented to the twelve nations’ presidential summit.
“We reached a complete agreement on the democratic clause which is one of the most important elements of this summit”, said Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs minister Ricardo Patiño.
The Unasur ministers are holding meetings in Georgetown, Guyana in anticipation of the IV presidential summit scheduled for this Friday.
“The clause establishes very strong sanctions and is basically an operational detail of what was adopted by the Unasur presidents on September 30 and October first” following Ecuador’s police mutiny when protestors attacked President Rafael Correa, added Patiño.
The consensus democratic clause document contemplates closing borders, suspension of trade, air traffic and supplies with the country where a de-stabilization of the democratic system takes place.
Patiño added that any Unasur member whose government has reached power as a consequence of “undemocratic, unconstitutional and illegitimate actions will have its rights in the group suspended”.
The rest of Unasur can decide the return to full membership of any country under such circumstances only when the democratic problems have been solved.
The document with the measures, once approved by the presidents will be implemented against any coup or attempted coup; or any uprising against democracy or the constitution of our countries”.
Patiño underlined that what was important of Thursday’s meeting is that a global agreement on this issue has been achieved and will be presented to the presidents. “They will decide if they agree entirely”.
When asked what the definition of a coup is, Patiño said each country has its own democratic norms and there is a basic concept of rule of the law.
“When incidents of such nature occur, interruption of democracy or attempted interruption, countries will immediately convene either heads of state or the council of Foreign Affairs ministers and with the available information will decide if effectively it is a constitutional breakdown or affects democracy, and from there on will adopt a decision”.
Before beginning the plenary session Unasur Foreign Affairs ministers paid a one minute silence tribute to the recently demised Secretary General and former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner.
Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was scheduled to arrive in Georgetown late Thursday.