Liberal institutionalist and constructivist IR scholars have emphasized the reliable role that ROs play in promoting democracy. This article finds that by examining the Organization of American States (OAS) role in recent cases of authoritarian backsliding, those theories encounter significant barriers in explaining OAS pro-democracy actions in the Americas. By evaluating authoritarian backsliding in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Honduras, I argue that authoritarian repression makes OAS members consider initially these undemocratic actions in backsliding cases. However, repression by itself falls short to induce members to promote democracy. Only when repression occurs at the same time that most members are ideologically and politically distant from autocratic countries will the OAS collectively promote democracy in backsliding cases. Consequently, because the OAS depends on this complex interaction between repression and ideological-political distance to promote democracy in the hemisphere, institutionalist and constructivist theories face important limitations in the Americas context.


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pp. 233-263
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