Media Center

Press Release


  October 13, 2003

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) emphatically condemned the violence in Bolivia and expressed its support for the government of President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada “and for the maintenance of democracy and the rule of law in that country.”

During an urgent evening session convened to consider developments in Bolivia, the Permanent Council categorically rejected “any action designed to disrupt its democratic system.” In its resolution, approved unanimously, the Council deplored the loss of human life and called on all political and social sectors to help guarantee the stability of the country through dialogue and negotiation.

“Representative democracy is reinforced and deepened by ongoing, ethical and responsible participation on the part of citizens in a framework of laws in keeping with the constitutional system,” the 34 member states stated in the resolution. They also reiterated their “firm resolve” to ensure that the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
are upheld so as to preserve democracy.

At the beginning of the session, Bolivia’s Ambassador to the OAS, María Tamayo, updated the Permanent Council on the latest developments in her country, which she said “are threatening democratic stability, gains that have been made in institutional reform and prospects for social economic and development in Bolivia.”

Ambassador Tamayo stressed her government’s commitment to combat poverty and promote dialogue with civil society. However, she said, in recent days “radical and violent groups have come out openly against the democratic system” and have organized armed uprisings. She reminded the inter-American community that her government “is the result of a democratic election that has the majority support of the Bolivian Congress.”

OAS Secretary General César Gaviria, for his part, told the Permanent Council that he has been in contact with the Bolivian authorities about the situation and reaffirmed that the OAS remains willing to help strengthen democracy in Bolivia. Gaviria underscored the importance of “closing ranks” around that country’s democratic institutions.

In the session, which was chaired by Honduran Ambassador Salvador Rodezno, member state representatives expressed solidarity with the people and government of Bolivia, reaffirming the principles of the Democratic Charter.

Reference: E-199/03