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News > Latin America

After Coup, OAS Finally Says It's Worried About Due Process

  • Dilma Rousseff during a final Senate session on her impeachment trial in Brasilia

    Dilma Rousseff during a final Senate session on her impeachment trial in Brasilia | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 September 2016

The Organization of American States, instead of denouncing the coup before and during the trial, issues a bland statement after.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said Friday it was concerned about a lack of due process in the trial that ousted Dilma Rousseff as president of Brazil, a statement that comes much too late for the South American nation's last elected head of state.

OAS Has Nothing to Say After the Right Topples Dilma Rousseff

The commission is part of the Organization of American States (OAS), an institution intended to protect democracy in the region.

The parliamentary coup in Brazil violates the first four articles of the OAS, which call for the protection of democracy in all its member states, and the protection of the legitimate exercise of power, as well as protecting the population’s right to choose their government. Rousseff was elected in 2014 while her Senate-imposed successor, Michel Temer, is legally barred from standing in an election.

The commission "expresses its concern about claims of irregularities, arbitrariness and the absence of due process guarantees in the process," it said in a statement.

According to article 19 of the OAS, the secretary-general could invoke the organization’s Democratic Charter and call for an emergency meeting to assess the situation in the case of an “unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order or an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order in a member state."

While slow to criticize the de facto coup in Brazil, the OAS has published two press releases in the last three days crtical of the Venezuelan government.

Evo Morales Says the OAS Is Biased Against Latin America's Left

Leftist governments in the region have criticized Luis Almagro, current secretary-general, for saying he would use the Democratic Charter to suspend Venezuela from the OAS, due to the current political crisis.

After the Senate voted to oust Rousseff from office on Wednesday, the representatives to the OAS from Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, which make up the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America (ALBA), denounced the coup.

Nicaragua’s representative, Luis Ezequiel Alvarado, said the Brazilian Senate had put a dramatic end to 13 years of leftist governance in the country.

This "shows that the regressive forces in the hemisphere continue to work with the aim of destabilizing and provoke coups against progressive governments in the region," Alvarado said.

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