Saturday, February 12th 2011 - 08:12 UTC

“Limits must be imposed” on Latinamerican presidential successive re-election

The Organization of American States, (OAS), Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said that democracy must impose limits on Latin America’s presidential successive re-election tendency.

OAS Secretary General Insulza exposed some of the vulnerabilities of democracy in the region

“Democracy by nature requires limits” said Insulza who participated in Bogotá in a forum to celebrate the 100 years of the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

“We can’t deny there’s a clear and very strong weakness of Latinamerican institutions, particularly those referred to the Executive and the tendency to change for governments bolstering individual figures”.

Insulza said “power must be shared, but we are going through a very complicated period where power is highly concentrated”.

Furthermore there’s “a weakening of those institutions which exercise control over the running of government, difficulties for common citizens to express their grievances, plus violence, abuse and threats to the free press”

But in spite of all, “I believe (Latinamerica) is going through a democratic period, quite positive”.

Insulza shared the panel of “What is the future of democracy” with Nicaraguan Vice-president Sergio Ramirez and political analyst Michael Schifter from Inter-American Dialogue.

Ramirez emphasized on political processes such as ‘democratic socialism’ which has made inroads in some Latinamerican countries, but he also considered that this tendency can become ‘anti-democratic’ and is more closely linked to what he described as “regressive utopias”.

Shifter pointed out to electoral phenomena such as the indigenous movements that for example in Bolivia have been very successful in reaching government and praised the fact that women have been elected presidents in several countries of the region and are increasingly involved in politics.
 

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1 Forgetit87 (#) Feb 12th, 2011 - 08:30 am Report abuse
Has Insulza ever spoken about the most authoritarian piece of legislation of an OAS member - the Patriot Act?
2 Redhoyt (#) Feb 12th, 2011 - 08:54 am Report abuse
Uruguay appears to be the ONLY South American country operating a full democracy - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index
3 Forgetit87 (#) Feb 12th, 2011 - 09:09 am Report abuse
Red Ho

Latin American countries, even when democratic, do more poorly in this scale vis-à-vis Europe because of their history and social situation. The Economist's Democracy Index measures not only authoritarianism as measured in extension of civil liberties and elections fairness, but also the degree of democracy as seen in public participation in politics and strongly democratic cultures. Public participation is low in Latin American countries due to political apathy. And democratic cultures are not strong because these countries are not traditionally democratic - many have recently emerged from dictatorial rule. If, however, one compares some Latin American countries with the US or Europe on authoritarinism measures, then one won't find many differences. See the comparison below.

Electoral process and pluralism:
Chile: 9.58
Brazil: 9.58
UK: 9.58
US: 9.17

Civil Liberties:
Chile: 9.41
Brazil: 9.12
UK: 9.12
US: 8.53

Chile and Brazil are no more authoritarian than the UK and they are more democratic than the US both in the degree and extension of civil liberties and the fairness of electoral policies, even though they are considered “flawed democracies” and the US is considered a “full” one. Since the Patriot Act has been implemented, civil liberties protections in the US have been eroded. As for the UK, it also got a relatively low grade on the civil liberties scale on the Democracy Index 2008. It seems that getting rid of Blair and Brown did a favour to your country's institutions.
4 Redhoyt (#) Feb 12th, 2011 - 09:19 am Report abuse
I was certainly glad to see the back of Generalisimo Brown ... and indeed Bush's poodle Blair!

I think that this week the current Coalition are burning the remains of the ID card system Labour wanted so badly. It seems strange in the UK for a right wing led UK government to increase individual liberty while a left wing UK government wished to decrease that liberty.

I also suspect that the US is too highly rated. I don't know about Brazil but Chile has some work to do with its indiginous population as they are plainly seen as authoritarian in that area.
5 Forgetit87 (#) Feb 12th, 2011 - 09:34 am Report abuse
“I think that this week the current Coalition are burning the remains of the ID card system Labour wanted so badly. It seems strange in the UK for a right wing led UK government to increase individual liberty while a left wing UK government wished to decrease that liberty.”

That also got me thinking. But then again, in the US, Obama has not only failed to repeal the Patriot Act, but he is also trying to expand the many powers it already concedes to the president.
6 riomarcos (#) Feb 14th, 2011 - 04:59 pm Report abuse
I'd like to see a popular uprising against the current dictatorship in Venezuela. If it worked in Tunisia and Egypt, why not in South America? Tyrants, or caudilhos (caudillos) as we call them here are a dime a dozen. The sooner they fall, the better for all.
7 aedi (#) Feb 15th, 2011 - 12:01 am Report abuse
“I'd like to see a popular uprising against the current dictatorship in Venezuela.” said riomarcos.

This commentator must be either an idiot, or just a member of the Venezuelan's (or any other in Latam country) elite. For people like him/her, there are “good” and “bad” dictators, presidents, terrorists etc.depending only where they are WITH US OR AGAINST US. The rest is just bullshit.

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