Liberals, Rogues & Enablers: The International Order in the 21st Century monitors the foreign policies of Latin America and their effect on global norms and standards at a time when human rights standards and international norms to protect and defend democracy are being systematically weakened. In our report, we monitored the voting patterns of Latin American countries in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Organization of American States (OAS). We also included the inter-American system of human rights, and their participation in the Union of South American Republic and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. Spoiler alert, despite the majority of governments being democratic, there was no clear pattern of support for democratic institutions and rights (is this any surprise?).
Times are changing, even if voting patterns on human rights are not. In this follow up to our first report, we continued to see an unfortunate decreased support in democratic institutions and rights by self-pronounced democratic governments (Mexico, we’re looking at you). The inclusion of anti-corruption and election observation efforts throughout Latin America in this report supports our previous findings. The standards of election observation have deteriorated, especially in Venezuela and Nicaragua, and anti-corruption conventions and governmental transparency has stagnated if not regressed. One bright spot though is the Organization of American States’s (OAS) ability to convene a discussion on the situation in Venezuela, a first step (hopefully) to defending human rights and democracy in the country.
The saga continues! In our third and latest report, Solidarity with the People?, Global Americans confirms what we suspected all along: while the number of “enablers” in the Western Hemisphere may have shrunk, those who count themselves among the “liberals” has shrunk as well. But unlike the last two reports, there is more than one bright spot. Countries like Mexico, Argentina and Chile have stepped up in the Organization of American States (OAS) to express their concern on the situation in Venezuela. Even longtime Venezuelan allies like Honduras and the Bahamas are starting to vote in favor of human rights and against the Venezuelan government. This time around we also include sections on femicide, Latin America’s compliance with the International Labour Organization 169, and a series of proposals for reforming and strengthening international and regional human rights bodies and international norms.
This is our fourth report monitoring the foreign policies of countries in the Americas regarding democracy and human rights. As we have in our previous reports, in the following pages we report on how Latin American representatives on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have voted on key human rights resolutions. What we find is that while Panama, Brazil, El Salvador, and Paraguay voted to support a resolution expressing concern for the continued systematic abuses of human rights in Syria, the latter three abstained on a key vote to have the UN High Commission continue presenting reports on the human rights situation in Ukraine. (The resolution was approved anyway.) And true to form, Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela voted against both resolutions, as they have on all major human rights resolutions before the UNHRC.
Already, it has been a tumultuous year in inter-American policy regarding human rights and democracy. The fifth of our reports on hemispheric adherence to international norms regarding democracy and human rights demonstrates a series of schisms and global shifts that we did not foresee when we started this project. For one, while the VIII Summit of the Americas, held in Lima in April 2018, addressed head on the issue of the deterioration of democracy in Venezuela, a combination of the Peruvian government’s disinvitation of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to the Summit.