WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), in introducing the Upholding the Inter-American Democratic Charter Act of 2022. Unveiled in advance of the Ninth Summit of the Americas—scheduled to take place in Los Angeles next month—the new bipartisan legislation proposes a series of initiatives to strengthen the United States’ cooperation with the Organization of American States (OAS) and member states to uphold the Inter-American Democratic Charter and address ongoing and emerging threats to democratic governance in the hemisphere, including on issues related to election interference, dis/misinformation, and corruption.
“The path to prosperity in the western hemisphere requires a commitment to democracy and uprooting corruption,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill reinforces our commitment to free and fair elections and the rule of law in the Americas.”
“While important progress has been made to advance good governance and the rule of law since the signing of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, we must recognize the fact that the Western Hemisphere is not immune to the current wave of democratic decline and creeping authoritarianism facing the world. From Havana to Caracas, Managua to San Salvador, now is the time to bolster the United States’ diplomatic strategy to help confront challenges that are threatening the underpinnings of the Charter’s norms and principles,” said Senator Menendez. “To that end, I am proud to be joined by my colleagues today in introducing this critical legislation to advance regional efforts in coordination with the OAS to confront democratic backsliding and threats to free and open society, and to affirm the United States’ leadership as a champion of the shared democratic values enshrined in the Charter.”
“As we grapple with new global challenges, the U.S. must strengthen our partnerships in the Americas,” said Senator Kaine. “This legislation will help ensure continued cooperation in the region, and reaffirm our commitment to promoting democratic processes.”
“The Americas are a cornerstone of our national security, economic prosperity, and collective commitment to the rule of law,” Senator Wicker said. “Deepening regional ties at the Organization of American States through this legislation would prove an important step in securing a better future for our hemisphere.”
“Working together with our neighbors to preserve the rule of law and free and fair elections, we will strengthen democracy in the Western Hemisphere,” said Senator Cardin. “Building on previous legislation, including the OAS Legislative Engagement Act, this bill recognizes the value of bringing legislators together to solve problems across our region.”
- Requires a U.S. strategy to uphold and strengthen the Inter-American Democratic Charter and assess threats to the Charter’s democratic principles.
- Strengthens U.S. cooperation with OAS and OAS member states to develop and reinforce initiatives to enhance the integrity of electoral processes in the Americas and address the challenges to democratic governance posed by election interference, dis/misinformation, corruption and criminality, and the malicious activity of undemocratic actors.
- Supports the creation of an OAS working group, as well as an OAS resolution, on the impact of dis/misinformation on democratic governance and human rights in the Americas.
- Supports the establishment of a special rapporteur on corruption at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.