POR: Jean-Paul Ruszkowski

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Today experts on hemispheric affairs agree that an authoritarian current threatens democracy. 

Experts like Marie Claire Acosta, Diego Garcia Sayan and Eduardo del Buey have covered the reasons for the surge of authoritarian feelings since 2001. 

The question now is,  how can we reboot democracy in the hemisphere?

Here are some suggestions to help revitalize our democracies.

Ways and means to mobilize civil society

Civil society, academia, professional associations, business people, a free madia, and NGOs are essential in making democracy work.

Let us remind political parties that they need civil society’s consent to be elected. 

Authoritarian regimes always end. It is a matter of time.

Civil society plays an important role in generating wealth and creating jobs for young people.

Civil society plays an important role in generating wealth and creating jobs for young people.

Civil society brings cohesiveness and demands the rule of law.

Poverty and the erosion of public services are the cause for governments to collapse.

Whatever happens in our neighborhood will have an impact on us, thus it is essential that the International Community be engaged by sharing expertise and tools to enhance civil society’s capacity to contribute to democratic development.

To identify and select easily verifiable indicators to measure institutional strength

Each country in the hemisphere should be able to have an independent monitoring body to warn about weak performances in key institutions of the nation.

The Judicial Branch and the legislatures should be given particular attention.

As soon as the independence of the judiciary comes under attack, mechanisms allowing it to mitigate those attacks should be triggered. 

By monitoring the performance of legislatures, we are protecting the representative and oversight roles of parliament.  

Leadership matters

Over 200 hundred years, the Americas have been exposed to highly personalized leadership styles.

The 21 century requires leaders with a very different set of skills.

Leadership today requires team building, excellence  in building bridges among competing interest groups and negotiating skills to obtain win/ win results.

Citizens today are much more sophisticated and demand higher standards of transparency and integrity.

A government with poor performance in delivering basic services such as education, health, public safety becomes not only less relevant to them, but it increases the levels of tension in societies that are already vulnerable to divisions due to ethnicity, social status, cultural or regional differences which are now exacerbated by social media.

A government with poor performance in delivering basic services such as education, health, public safety becomes not only less relevant to them, but it increases the levels of tension in societies that are already vulnerable to divisions due to ethnicity, social status, cultural or regional differences which are now exacerbated by social media.

It is time to be ambitious, bold, and develop a massive programme to prepare a new generation of leaders for the 21st century.

This programme has to be innovative, inclusive by bringing youth from different backgrounds, representing the diversity of a 21st century population, including gender, rural-urban.

It has to be based on case studies and simulations as the most effective means of acquiring skills in a realistic setting.

An appeal to the international organizations concerned with sustainable development    

History in the Americas has taught us that authoritarian regimes are not successful at eliminating poverty nor violence. Lawlessness increases, as is the case in Venezuela.

This is not the path for sustainable development.

Democracy, however imperfect it may be, has had positive results in reducing poverty in bringing peace and stability.

President Biden has called for a conference to explore ways to revitalize our democracies.

President Biden has called for a conference to explore ways to revitalize our democracies.

It is time for institutions like the OAS, the Inter-American Bank, the Andean Development Corporation, the UNDP and other bodies to fund and support a massive program to develop new leaders, strengthen institutions and help civil society become more effective at demanding their economic rights and greater transparency from governments.  

Conclusions

There is no doubt that democracy in the Hemisphere is under attack.

The best way to face threats is to be strategic in how we can reboot our democracies.

Authoritarian regimes don’t last forever. What is needed is a major if not massive effort to mobilize pro-democracy forces by engaging our youth, providing them with tools to excel as leaders and enable civil society with the means to exercise their rights and conduct effective campaigns and push for transparency from their governments.

Some institutions need to undergo tests to ensure their capacity to resist interference by authoritarian governments, mainly the judiciary and legislative branches.

Today more than ever before, pro-democratic forces across the Hemisphere need to cooperate and benefit from support from important international organizations such as the OAS, Inter-American Development Bank, CAF (Corporacion Andina de Fomento), the UNDP and others.   

Let’s be ambitious, let’s be bold, let’s do it!


Jean-Paul Ruszkowski is a general practitioner with 40 years of professional experience.

He has held high-level positions in the private sector, the public sector and most recently as CEO of an NGO, the Parliamentary Centre, dedicated to strengthening the legislative power of the institution that represents citizens of various political leanings, legislates and oversees the executive.

His experience is multidisciplinary and multicultural.

In addition to his duties in Canada

He has worked in Africa, Latin America and Europe.

He is recognized by his peers as a team builder and a promoter of empowerment.

He has contributed to the dialogue and harmonization of multiple interests in the implementation of governance-strengthening projects.

Throughout his career he has sought to innovate.

He is a strong supporter of the importance of leadership in the sustainability of institutions.

As CEO of the Parliamentary Centre, he has participated in numerous knowledge exchange seminars with multiple stakeholders in governance.

He works in English, Spanish and French.

He likes to hike in the mountains and travel.


The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CEIM. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion. The content on this site does not constitute endorsement of any political affiliation and does not reflect opinions from members of the staff and board.

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FECHA DE PUBLICACIÓN

octubre 07, 2021

CONOCE MÁS DE LOS SERVICIOS EDUCATIVOS QUE OFRECE EL CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS INTERNACIONALES DEL MAYAB

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