With the election of Marício Macri in Argentina, defeating the candidate of the ruling party of Cristina Kirchner, a strong new voice for democracy throughout the hemisphere may be entering the scene.
President-elect Macri has called for applying the MERCOSUR’s democracy requirement to Venezuela, which would lead to suspension of that country from participation in the organization which it joined in 2012. Macrí has promised he will seek to honor the commitment undertaken in 1998 by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile with the signing the Protocol of Ushuaia, a treaty which established full effectiveness of democratic institutions as an essential condition for membership in MERCOSUR. The Protocol provided, moreover, that any rupture of the democratic order in one of the states parties should lead to its suspension from the organization.
See Javier El-Hage, “Marurício Macri y la posible resurrección de la OEA,” El País, 26 de Noviembre 2015 (00:39 CET).
Citing the example of Rómulo Betancourt, the democratic leader of Venezuela in the 1950’s and 1960’s, El-Hage suggests that Macri might not only push for the suspension of the despotic government of Venezuela of Nicolás Maduro, but also push for application of the democratic norms of the Organization of American States (OAS).
El-Hage quotes “the Betancourt Doctrine”, enunciated by a new Venezuelan president in his first speech to Congress in 1959, which calls for the exclusion of non-democratic states. It finally became a legal obligation on September 11, 2001, he reports, with the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The Charter is now binding on all 34 member states of the OAS.
After observing that the OAS has not applied the Charter as it should have, El-Hage suggests that with Macrí’s election in Argentina, and the election of a new Secretary Genral of the OAS, Luís Almagro, this long period of negligence may soon end. The democracy requirement could be applied not only in the MERCOSUR but within the OAS itself.
This result, of course will depend on the votes of the member states of the two organizations. Macri’s election is undoubtedly the product of complex political forces in Argentina, but it may also be a sign of new democratic winds blowing in South America. These could have substantial impacts on the current governments of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua.
The Trenchant Observer