Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe por la Democracia, Integrante del Movimiento Mundial para la Democracia

Rosario Citizen Declaration on Full Democracy and Social Cohesion

Our Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy has travelled a long, intense and
edifying road from its birth in 2009 in Panama City to its second General Assembly in the city of
Rosario. In Panama we made the commitment to work together, setting aside our ideological
differences and other factors which separate us, with a dedication to democracy. From that time
we have grown as a network and as a platform which permits solidarity, the coming together of
ideas and working collectively.

In Rosario, we are evaluating the present situation, and in light of the challenges in our
countries and region, we make commitments to meet the challenges and move forward, based
on our statement issued the 15 of September, 2010 on the occasion of the International Day for
Democracy. We have proposed a set of values and principles for the members of our network,
to help lead the way forward.


I. Always perfectible, democracy is the best system we know. The great challenge is to practice
democracy, as rulers and ruled, as civil society and political society, as givers and receivers,
and in particular, with the people;

II. It is not possible to realize the benefits of democracy, without being real Democrats. It must
be defended without exception and without adjectives;

III. The democratic system can promote the exchange of ideas, citizen participation, the
alternation of political power and the full exercise of fundamental freedoms and human
rights. Democracy is the system that gives us better tools to address underlying social
pressures such as poverty, exclusion, marginalization and inequality;

IV. The Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, formed and supported by more
than 248 Civil Society Organizations of all countries of the region, met to celebrate the Second
Assembly of the Network and the twentieth anniversary of the Fundación Nueva Generación
Argentina. We also meet to contribute ideas and recommendations for the strengthening of civil
society in our region, contributing to the strengthening of democracy and regional areas, to
assist with other global platforms such as the Community of Democracies and the World
Movement for Democracy;

V. The time is right to raise awareness of the undemocratic practices that are developing in
many countries, report them, and renew our commitment to the defense and promotion of
democratic values and principles, and democracy as a form of government and life . It is also
important to recognize the progress in many countries and the democratic commitment that
many governments in the region are showing;

VI. Democracy requires constant observation and strengthening. But first, to consolidate
effectively, it indeed important to ensure that it is understood which implies much more than
regular and transparent elections;

VII. Democracy also involves subjection to the rule of law, real separation of public powers,
transparency and accountability, encouragement of checks and balances, full freedom, firm and
impartial application of the law, a system of administration of justice which can be trusted;
opportunities for citizen participation, consultation and agreement, robust institutions, full
respect for the right of association and effective measures to guarantee all human rights which
advance economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, reducing poverty, violence and
social exclusion. Similarly, an engaged citizenry is essential to public life, which is aware of its
rights and obligations. It also requires strong and independent institutions in government, civil
society and political society, as well as a business sector that work in solidarity with societies
where we all belong;

VIII. Democracy requires a government to ensure the exercise of civil, political, economic,
social, environmental, cultural rights and in general all rights without drawing distinctions
according to gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, religious and ideological
orientation. It requires governments to respect civil society and freedom of association, which
are guarantors of freedom of information and expression and to generate spaces for permanent
dialogue between all sectors, without discrimination or exclusion;

IX. Hence the importance of taking advantage of the occasion of this celebration to review and
assess the progress and setbacks with regard to the underpinnings of full democracy in order to
improve, define and design challenges needed to consolidate the same in the region.
This debate will result in the formulation of proposals and recommendations that will guide the
work of the network and its members and commitments that tend to strengthen our obligation to
democracy. The practical proposals will be presented to governments at the next Ministerial
Meeting of the Community of Democracies, to be held in Vilnius, Lithuania from June 30 to July
1, 2011.

These proposals and recommendations will also be presented other multilateral fora such as
the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) to be held soon in San
Salvador (El Salvador), the next General Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy
(WMD) to be held in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2012 and at the Summit of the
Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012;

I. It is not possible to speak of democracy in countries that restrict freedoms, ignore human
rights, concentrate political and economic power in few hands, do not really respect the
democratic system, neglect social cohesion, do not taken seriously consultation and
coordination mechanisms, and which make difficult and restrict citizen participation, civil society
and which pursue and create divisions and exclusions;

II. There are governments that do not practice democratic rules, that do not firmly reject
corruption, which favor cronyism, political patronage and nepotism, that violate the constitutional
separation of powers; reforming the laws and constitutions for the personal benefit of the ruling,
abuse power to intimidate, persecute and punish those who dare to think differently. We have
democratic governments that opt for a demagogic populism, whether left or right pretending to
be democratic, that openly abuse public procurement, without greater transparency in the
process of recruiting and selecting contractors;

III. A government is not truly democratic that uses military or police force to intimidate and
undermine freedom of expression, information, organization and press, that allows violence to
prevail and allows for "narco-democracy", organized crime and extremism, if it does not
guarantee effective policies and concrete actions that effectively reduce poverty and eliminate
exclusion, that does not properly manage public affairs and govern for all.
Such practices weaken the democratic system and pave the way for undemocratic and
unconstitutional actions that create lawlessness, to the detriment of social welfare and peace.
Let Us Pledge Ourselves to Human and Social Development, in full democracy and


I. We commit ourselves as members of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for
Democracy, to work for the strengthening of democracy, respect for civil society and its right to
operate freely, freedom of expression, social cohesion and the exercise of citizens' rights in our
countries and at the regional level;

II. We are going to work for an independent civil society, which is active and vigorous as a
fundamental actor in the processes of democratic governance;

III. We will promote dialogue and consensus as the best mechanisms that democracy offers us
to overcome together the main social, economic, environmental and political constraints, based
on a shared vision;

IV. We will advocate jointly, in the above sense, for intersectoral dialogue, based on a common
agenda to target proposals and initiatives in partnership with appropriate verification and

V. We also commit ourselves to continue to actively involving young people in Network
activities, recognizing the lack of democratic participation in which is found and the difficulties
they face in exercising their rights and full inclusion in society;

VI. We want to recognize the democratic exercise held recently in Haiti and we support the
struggle of the citizenry in the countries in North Africa and the Middle East to achieve high
levels of democracy;

VII. We strongly call for solidarity in order to immediately release political prisoners and end the
practice of political persecution and forced disappearances. True democracy is inconceivable
while things like this persist.

VIII. We call for joint efforts between governments, organizations, economic sectors, civil
society, academia, trade unions and political society to combat the scourge of organized crime,
drug trafficking and violence that attacks many of our countries;

IX. We call for democratic governments to join forces with civil society and advance together a
strategy to promote democracy in countries where authoritarianism prevails. Let us stop
autocracies elected under dubious manipulation of constitutions or laws, or those which profit
from poverty to build new forms of authoritarianism.

X. Finally, we commit to promoting South-South effective strategies for the defense of civil
society and the integration of efforts so that all peoples of the Americas enjoy the right to live in
full democracy. We aspire to full democracy for all peoples of the Americas, without exception
and without exception.

City of Rosario, Argentina, Eight (8) April Two Thousand Eleven (2011).
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