Book Review: Intervention Without Intervening: The OAS Defense and Promotion of Democracy in the Americas
Intervention Without Intervening: The OAS Defense and Promotion of Democracy in the Americas. Andrew F. Cooper and Thomas Legler. : Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 192 $65.00
Reviewed by Richard Feinberg, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007
Two Canadian academics laud recent additions to the Western Hemisphere's tool kit for defending emergent democracies. Students of multilateral diplomacy will welcome the expert exegesis of the landmark Inter-American Democratic Charter (2001) and the insider assessment of the interventions by the Organization of American States to help guide Peru (2000) and Venezuela (2004) through dangerous threats to democracy from incumbent governments that, initially, had come to power through free elections. In both countries, the OAS delved deeply into domestic politics to bring to the negotiating table not only representatives of the local governments but also opposition and civil-society leaders. The result in Peru was an unambiguous triumph of innovative multilateralism: the OAS cunningly facilitated the ouster of President Alberto Fujimori and the strengthening of democratic institutions. Ironically, in Venezuela, the OAS, in close association with the Carter Center, validated a disputed public referendum that fortified President Hugo Chávez -- one of the most virulent critics of the OAS and its collective defense of democracy. The hemisphere is still weathering the consequences of this inadvertent outcome.