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  • Documents on Democracy

The Americas

In December 1994, elected leaders from 34 nations in the Western Hemisphere met in Miami, Florida, to discuss the future of the region. The Summit of the Americas concluded with the issuance of two statements, a “Declaration of Principles” and a “Plan of Action.” Excerpts from the latter appear below:

The heads of state and government participating in the 1994 Summit of the Americas in Miami, Florida, desirous of furthering the broad objectives set forth in their Declaration of Principles and mindful of the need for practical progress on the vital tasks of enhancing democracy, promoting development, achieving economic integration and free trade, improving the lives of their people, and protecting the natural environment for future generations, affirm their commitment to this Plan of Action.

The strengthening, effective exercise, and consolidation of democracy constitute the central political priority of the Americas. The Organization of American States (OAS) is the principal hemispheric body for the defense of democratic values and institutions; among its essential purposes is to promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due respect to the principle of nonintervention. The OAS has adopted multilateral procedures to address the problems created when democratic order has been interrupted unconstitutionally. In order to prevent such crises, the OAS needs to direct more effort toward the promotion of democratic values and practices and to the social and economic strengthening of already-established democratic regimes.

Governments [OAS] efforts to promote democracy by:

  • • Encouraging exchanges of election-related technologies and assisting national electoral organizations, at the request of the interested state.

  • • Strengthening the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy so that it can provide assistance at the request of the interested state on such matters as legislative and judicial processes, government reforms...and other institutional changes. [End Page 183]

  • • Encouraging opportunities for exchange of experiences among member states’ democratic institutions, particularly legislature-to-legislature and judiciary-to-judiciary. . . .

A strong and diverse civil society, organized in various ways and sectors, including individuals, the private sector, labor, political parties, academics, and other nongovernmental actors and organizations, gives depth and durability to democracy. Similarly, a vigorous democracy requires broad participation in public issues. Such activities should be carried out with complete transparency and accountability, and to this end a proper legal and regulatory framework should be established.


Incumbent president Joaquim Alberto Chissano was reelected on 28 October 1994 in what the United Nations described as Mozambique’s first “free and just” multiparty elections. The balloting was the first to take place since the 4 October 1992 peace treaty ended 16 years of civil war. In a statement issued at a December 9 investiture ceremony in Maputo, President Chissano emphasized his commitment to a democratic Mozambique. Following are excerpts from his speech:

With the beginning of the mandate of the Assembly of the Republic yesterday and now the swearing in of the head of state, both sovereign organs freely elected by universal suffrage, we usher in a new era in the political life of our country, an era of multiparty parliamentary democracy, an era of political pluralism in which we all participate. . . .

As of now, conditions have been established for the consolidation of pluralist and multiparty democracy, which is in fact under way since the general elections of last October. The massive and exemplary participation at the ballot box, the serene exercise of the right to vote, and the acceptance of the election results unequivocally demonstrated the adherence of society and the political class to the democratic ideal.

In this moment of celebration of the victory of peace, we must not forget that this victory, while first of all a victory of the Mozambican people, is also the victory of all parties and political forces which for the last few years and particularly the last few months have been engaged in the political and civic education of their members and supporters. The victory of peace also belongs, therefore, to the leaders of all the political parties which ran in the general elections, for they assumed themselves as democrats and led their followers to adopt a posture of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for difference in the political debate and electoral competition.


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pp. 183-186
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