This article evaluates the effectiveness of OAS mechanisms for safeguarding democracy through multilateral diplomacy, what some scholars have dubbed the interamerican defense of democracy regime. Drawing on a range of international relations theories, this study derives competing hypotheses about member states' responses to democratic crises in the Americas. It then analyzes all instances in which a collective response—that is, an application of Resolution 1080 or the Inter-American Democratic Charter—was debated in the OAS between 1991 and 2002. Patterns of state behavior suggest that domestic politics, rather than the structural or systemic traits of the interamerican system, best explain foreign policy responses to crises of democracy in the region. The OAS record in confronting such crises is uneven.


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pp. 93-123
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2007
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