WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today joined colleagues in introducing the Upholding the Inter-American Democratic Charter Act of 2022. Co-sponsored by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., 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).
Among these initiatives is programming alongside and member states to uphold the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which also addresses ongoing and emerging threats to democratic governance in the hemisphere, corruption, and disinformation.
“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.”
“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 Chairman 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.”
Among its key provisions, the legislation would:
- Require a U.S. strategy to uphold and strengthen the Inter-American Democratic Charter and assess threats to the Charter’s democratic principles.
- Strengthen 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.
- Support 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.
- Support the establishment of a special rapporteur on corruption at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.