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The International Journal
of Not-for-Profit Law

Volume 7, Issue 2, February 2005

A publication of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

Table of Contents

Letter from the Editor

Latin America

The Promise and Peril of Democracy (Full Text of Speech)
Jimmy Carter

The Promise and Peril of Democracy (Summary)
Joseph Proietti

Threat Resurges for Venezuelan NGOs [Spanish Translation]
Antonio L. Itriago and Miguel Ángel Itriago

Transparency Versus Government Supervision in Peru [Spanish Translation]
Beatriz Parodi Luna

Federal Law for the Promotion of Civil Society Organizations in Mexico
Consuelo Castro

Active Without Recognition: Obstacles to Development of the Colombian Third Sector
Adriana Ruiz-Restrepo

The Role of the Media in the Consolidation of Democracy in Latin America
The Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars

Articles

Philanthropy and Law in South Asia: Key Themes and Key Choices
Mark Sidel and Iftekhar Zaman

The Role of a National Donor Association: A U.S. Perspective
Robert Buchanan

California’s Nonprofit Integrity Act of 2004
Thomas Silk and Rosemary Fei

Progress on Civil Society Legislation in Turkey
Filiz Bikmen

Taxation of Grants in Russia
Yulia Checkmaryova

Reviews

Civil Society
By Michael Edwards
Reviewed by Stephan Klingelhofer

The Law of Charities
By Peter Luxton
Reviewed by Richard Fries

Does Civil Society Matter?: Governance in Contemporary India
Edited by Rajesh Tandon & Ranjita Mohanty
Reviewed by Bindu Sharma

Governing Nonprofit Organizations: Federal and State Law and Regulation
By Marion R. Fremont-Smith
Reviewed by Michael Bisesi

Balkan Identities: Nation and Memory
Edited by Maria Todorova
Reviewed by Gerald M. Easter

Something to Believe In: Politics, Professionalism and Cause Lawyering
By Stuart A. Scheingold and Austin Sarat
Reviewed by Patricia Lyons

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The Promise and Peril of Democracy (Summary)

By Joseph Proietti*

On January 25, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter addressed a panel of ambassadors to the Organization of American States as the inaugural speaker for the Lecture Series of the Americas.  

In a presentation entitled “The Promise and Peril of Democracy,” Mr. Carter called on American states to renew their dedication to the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The Charter, adopted on September 11, 2001, between all of the OAS states, was intended to promote a stronger commitment by member states to the principles of democracy, but Mr. Carter said that “the lofty ideals espoused in the Democratic Charter are not all being honored.” 

Specifically, the former President cited poverty and inequality in South and Central America as “the greatest challenge of our time,” for “about forty-five percent of people in Latin American and the Caribbean live under the poverty line.” President Carter addressed the problem partly as one of income distribution: “ Latin America has the most unequal income distribution in the world. And that the income gap has increased in the past fifteen years.” He suggested that government corruption and collusion with the private-sector have also contributed to the persistence of the problem. 

Mr. Carter suggested that a commitment to democracy may be waning in countries where poverty is prevalent. “When people live in grinding poverty, see no hope for improvement for their children, and are not receiving the rights and benefits of citizenship, they will eventually make their grievances known, and it may be in radical and destructive ways.” He further observed that, without action, “we run the risk that dissatisfaction with the performance of elected governments will result in the disillusionment with democracy itself.” 

To revive the commitment to democratic values in American states, Mr. Carter addressed the need for a clear definition of what constitutes an “unconstitutional alteration or interruption” to the democratic order, so as to hold governments in breach of the Charter accountable for their actions. Among the violations he proposed were the systematic use of public office to silence, harass, or disrupt the normal and legal activities of members of the political opposition, the press, or civil society; and systematic violation of basic freedoms, including freedom of expression, freedom of association, and respect for minority rights. 

Mr. Carter’s appearance inaugurated a monthly series of lectures sponsored by the Universidad de San Martin de Porres. The purpose of the series is to facilitate an arena for internationally acclaimed figures to discuss issues confronting the Inter-American states.                  

* Joseph Proietti is an intern at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

 

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