Latin America’s ‘Liberals, Rogues and Enablers’


Despite the majority of Latin America’s governments being (at least nominally) democratic, there is no clear pattern of support for democratic institutions and rights, neither among neighboring states nor in much of the developing world, says a new report from Global Americans.

In existing global multilateral bodies (the UN Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council), countries such as Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia tend to abstain or vote against any form of comment or criticism in the name of defending political and civil rights in countries from Belarus to China to North Korea. Even countries like Brazil and Colombia, at times, toned down their public commitment to human rights and democracy when it came to China, Russia or Turkey. In contrast, countries like Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Uruguay remain stalwart defenders of human rights in the UN, says the report, Liberals, Rogues and Enablers:

In the OAS inter-American system of human rights, those countries that have been strong advocates for human rights in the UN tend to be so in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR or Commission) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Court), with the exception of Argentina. That difference came in the refusal of the previous Argentine administration to accept civil society’s complaints to the Commission concerning judicial independence. Overall, the inter-American system has been under attack from other corners as well, as we discuss, including from an alliance of countries led by Ecuador to weaken the IACHR in 2011, and from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, which have refused to accept the system’s jurisdiction over domestic cases, effectively removing themselves from the system.


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