The Organization of American States recently passed a resolution aimed at strengthening democracy in Latin America. Ambassador John Maisto is the U.S. representative to the O-A-S:
"That... resolution establishes an early warning system for democracies in danger in which the secretary general can bring to the council's attention those situations that may lead to action under the Inter-American Democratic Charter."
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the resolution is just a beginning:
"It gives the [O-A-S] secretary general a mandate to develop proposals for promoting and defending democracy."
"The dramatic gains for democracy," says President George W. Bush, should not be taken for granted. He says that Communist Cuba is the only country in in Latin America that sits "outside this society of democratic nations." But elsewhere in the region, there are signs of disillusionment with democratic promises. People in many Latin American countries are frustrated with corruption and the slowness of political and economic reform.
In June, President Carlos Mesa of Bolivia was forced to leave office. In April, President Lucio Gutierrez of Ecuador was removed and left the country. And in Venezuela, there is concern that President Hugo Chavez is seeking to set up a Cuban-style government.
Mr. Bush says that the U.S. is committed to promoting political liberty, free trade, and prosperity throughout the region:
"When the people of the Americas see that opportunity and social mobility are real, they will know that in a free and democratic society, the only limit to how far they can go is the size of their dreams."
In Latin America, says Mr. Bush, the U.S. "has an obligation to help build this better tomorrow for all the citizens."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.