OAS Permanent Council Approves Resolution on the Situation in Bolivia

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States meets to address the situation in Bolivia. (OAS Photo)

Remarks by Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative
Alexis F. Ludwig
November 20, 2019

Madame Chair, the United States firmly supports the draft resolution we are considering today.

It is the product of wide consultation and hard work among OAS member states that stand for representative democracy and unfailingly strive to uphold the principles that bind us together under the OAS Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

The draft is straightforward and simple.  Its only intent is to demonstrate this Council’s backing of the duty of this Organization to assist Bolivia in its quest to restore representative democracy after the previous government tried to steal an election and thwart the will of the Bolivian people.

The Bolivian people wanted to choose their President, as is their right in a democracy.  The opposition insisted on free and fair elections, as called for in Bolivia’s election law.  The work of the OAS, the experience and expertise it has gained from other episodes in the Americas (and I’m tempted to call them by name, but I won’t) has promoted and defended the right of the Bolivian people to democracy from a President desperate to maintain his power through election fraud.

Finally, Madame Chair, the United States calls on all parts of Bolivian society, including former President Morales and his party, to refrain from violence and to restore calm.  This is a very delicate and difficult situation.  We call on all Bolivians to support the Bolivian transitional government, electoral reform and new free and fair elections as soon as possible.


The document was approved with 26 votes in favor (Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, United States, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras , Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Venezuela), 3 votes against (Mexico, Nicaragua, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), 4 abstentions (Barbados, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay) and 1 absent (Dominica).

Text of the Resolution


RECALLING that Article 1 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter affirms that “[t]he peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it”;

RECOGNIZING the need to hold elections as soon as possible, in accordance with the Constitution of Bolivia;

UNDERSCORING the urgent need for all political, social, and institutional actors to act within a framework of respect for the rule of law and as stipulated by the Bolivian Constitution and law;

BEARING IN MIND that it must be guaranteed that the electoral process will be carried out with justice, freedom, transparency, and respect for the sovereign will of the Bolivian people;

TAKING NOTE of the concerns expressed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on November 12 and 16, 2019, in relation to the acts of violence in Bolivia and to the publication of Supreme Decree No. 4078 of November 15, 2019;


1. To call upon the Bolivian authorities urgently to call elections, as mandated by the Constitution and law of Bolivia, and to promptly adopt an electoral schedule that gives certainty to the Bolivian people about an electoral process with full democratic guarantees.

2. To urge all political and civil actors in Bolivia, including all authorities, civil society, the military and security forces, and the general public, immediately to cease from violence, preserve peace, and seek a frank dialogue to promote national democratic reconciliation.

3. To call on all Bolivian authorities to ensure full and unrestricted observance and protection of human rights and to ensure that any violation thereof is held to account, in accordance with international human rights law.

4. To support the initiative of the Secretary General of the OAS to deploy, at the invitation of Bolivia, a delegation to hold preliminary high-level meetings in a bid to ensure the holding of free, fair, and transparent elections with effective guarantees within a short time.

5. To instruct the General Secretariat of the OAS, through the Secretariat for Strengthening Democracy, to grant all the requested technical support necessary for the electoral process to begin immediately, in accordance with the principles of transparency, independence, credibility, and trust consistent with international electoral standards.