Democratic institutions and civil society continue to face serious challenges in several countries in the Western Hemisphere. During the year, endemic corruption and inefficiency, internal violence and rising polarization threatened democratic stability in Bolivia and Haiti. In both countries, the elected presidents resigned from office followed by a constitutional transfer of power to their respective successors. Protection of fundamental human rights, including core labor rights, needs continued strengthening, especially in the 15 Latin American countries highlighted in this report. Weak judicial and political systems in the region often fail to enforce the rule of law equitably and protect the fundamental human rights of all citizens. Reconciliation and accountability for past abuses, including support to human rights investigations of abuses during military dictatorships and other non-democratic governments, remain critical issues. The rights and political inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable populations in the region, including the indigenous, Afro-Latinos, women and children vulnerable to labor and sexual exploitation continued to be a primary concern for the United States. This document explains how the United States focused on consolidating democratic institutions, including the democratization and decentralization of political processes, and on promoting transparency and respect for human rights in the Western Hemisphere.
United States Department of State, http://www.state.gov
Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2003-2004, Western Hemisphere