Media Center

Press Release


  April 30, 2003

Chile’s Foreign Affairs Minister, María Soledad Alvear, told Organization of American States member country delegations today that democratic governance in the Americas, the focus of the Foreign Ministers’ dialogue at the upcoming thirty third OAS General Assembly scheduled for Santiago June 8 – 10, “holds the key to the future of our region.” She said “action by the OAS could certainly help advance this collective initiative.”

The Chilean official told the Permanent Council that the return to representative democracy during the 1980s and 1990s “was among the most significant gains for the peoples of the Americas,” which she suggested must be reaffirmed on an ongoing basis “if democracy is to become an important avenue for the citizens of the Americas, through institutional governance and political participation.”

Alvear cited the 1991 Santiago Commitment and the Inter-American Democratic Charter adopted in 2001 in Lima, Peru, as evidence that “this Organization has not been oblivious to the dynamics of a global system where governance is at the heart of stability in the effort to attain development and peace.”

The Chilean Minister however cited indifference by the elite, corruption, ineffective institutions and poverty as examples of “serious frustrations” that have caused disenchantment over policy and with respect to democracy itself. “Such developments are of great concern and as policy-makers we cannot afford to ignore them.”

She argued that “democracy and governance are complementary and interdependent concepts,” and said that a major challenge facing the Hemisphere is how to press ahead with formulating and implementing a democratic governance agenda for the Americas to serve as a guide to consolidate democracy, the rule of law and total respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Chilean Foreign Minister called for increased access to a public service that is more open and responsible in combating corruption. “Our concern is now to create a more intelligent, open and just state where civil society and the private sector are better connected.”

Before addressing the Permanent Council members, Alvear helped inaugurate an exhibition, “Getting to Know Chile,” at the Hall of the Americas. The display, ahead of the OAS General Assembly in Chile next June 8 through 10, was mounted in collaboration with the Tourism Promotion Corporation of Chile.

Reference: E-096/03