San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

El Salvador’s Funes Calls for Coup Prevention System

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes Monday proposed the creation of a hemispheric early response system to allow the Organization of American States (OAS) to prevent future coups in the region and establish criminal sanctions for those who break democratic order.

“The inter-American system demands a profound reform and we should at least start to discuss the creation of an alert mechanism and criminal sanctions for any ruptures to institutional democracy,” Funes said during a meeting of the Permanent Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Political Parties (Copppal), held yesterday in El Salvador’s capital city of San Salvador, according to EFE.

Funes said the June 2009 coup in Honduras showed the “weaknesses” of the inter-American system and the need to reform the Democratic Charter of the OAS.

“The OAS and its member states should intervene at the opportune moment to avoid the germination of a military coup or any other situation that could translate into ungovernability and destabilization,” Funes said.

The Salvadoran president added that the OAS needs to create a system that will “not only prevent military coups, but any other situation that generates instability and pushes a country towards a rupture in its institutional democracy.”

Funes said last year’s coup in Honduras could have been avoided if such a preventive, early alert system were in place.

In neighboring Nicaragua, the opposition and legal analysts have been asking the OAS to intervene for months. On April 30, four opposition political parties sent a joint letter to the OAS asking for help to “prevent the establishment of dictatorship” under President Daniel Ortega.

Former Supreme Court President Roberto Argüello (1979-1985), who served as the top judge during the revolutionary Sandinista government in the1980s, has also made public calls for the OAS to intervene in Nicaragua.

Following the Orteguistas’ takeover of the Supreme Court in August, Argüello told The Nica Times, “The OAS should intervene because this is a coup d’état against the court. The entire judicial branch of government does not work.”

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza last week warned of the risk of future coups in Latin America – a worry shared by Ortega.

Still, critics claim Insulza and the OAS have been very soft on Ortega, even after the Sandinista government demanded the removal of the OAS ambassador to Nicaragua last month for alleged “meddling.”

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