In the last 25 years, however, the Member States of the Organization of American States have allowed democracy to play an even stronger role in the operation of the Organization. Several resolutions, declarations, and an amendment to the OAS Charter have made a non-democratic transition of government a ground for suspension of a Member State's right to participate in either the Organization of American States or Summit of the Americas. This process started with Resolution 1080 on "Representative Democracy" in 1991, and was further grounded and developed in the Protocol of Washington of 1992, the Declaration of Quebec City of 2001, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter of 2001. Through these acts the states of the Americas have accepted that unconstitutional alterations or disruptions of their democratic orders may provide the grounds for intense scrutiny, and perhaps intervention, by the OAS or the Summit of the Americas. Further, this scrutiny may in turn result in suspension of their rights to participate in those bodies. This paper briefly examines the practical implications of such democratic procedures in the Americas. It suggests that despite the availability of these potentially robust checks on non-democratic transitions, their meaningful implementation remains problematic. Focusing on the legal actions taken by the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in response to the departure of Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti in late February 2004, this paper suggests that regional organizations in the Americas and Caribbean continue to face both substantive and procedural challenges in their implementation of the "right to democracy" of the peoples of the Americas.



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