Joining efforts to protect democracy in Latin America

People wearing masks along Calle Luna Pizarro, in Lima, Perù, during Covid 19 pandemic

Latin America has been one of the world’s worst-hit regions from the pandemic. It has suffered from some of the highest death rates from Covid-19, and widespread lockdowns have contributed to one of the worst economic downturns in decades. 

Image of South America with text: "Cuidemos la democracia"
Image elaborated by International IDEA.

In a joint effort led by International IDEA, the Fundaçao Fernando Henrique Cardoso and the Fundación Democracia y Desarrollo (led by former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos) to commemorate the International Day of Democracy on 15 September, more than 160 leaders from Latin America, including 21 former presidents, signed the joint declaration ‘Let Us Take Care of Democracy Lest it Fall Victim to the Pandemic’, calling to defend democracy in the region. The document, initiated by renowned pro-democracy organizations, warns that our cherished civil freedoms are threatened by political actors who could use the crisis to illegitimately tighten their grip on power. The declaration was part of the global campaign ‘A Call to Defend Democracy’, launched in 2020 to raise awareness of the threat to democracy posed by the pandemic. 

Thanks to the boundary partners with which International IDEA has worked (particularly with important civil society organizations like the Fundação Fernando Henrique Cardoso and the Fundación Democracia y Desarrollo), it was possible to reach many leaders in several countries in the region. The declaration was published in more than 150 media outlets across Latin America and the Caribbean, including prestigious news media such as Clarín, La Nación, Globo, Página Siete, Reforma, La Prensa, El Comercio and El Nacional.

Through this declaration, International IDEA and the co-organizing foundations attracted the commitment of several former presidents from the region, starting with the leaders of the organizations that launched this initiative—former Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Ricardo Lagos, International IDEA Secretary-General Kevin Casas-Zamora and former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla.