The United States seeks democratic, inclusive, prosperous, and secure nations in the Western Hemisphere. These goals are reflected in a common hemispheric agenda shaped by the Summits of the Americas. The principle of representative democracy is enshrined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which states that:
- The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it; and
- Democracy is essential for the social, political, and economic development of the peoples of the Americas.
Our strategy recognizes the transformational power of democracy and the central roles that open, economic systems and social inclusion must play within democracy. Both bilaterally and in collaboration with such entities as the Organization of American States (OAS) and other Inter-American institutions, we are working to attack poverty, inequality, and political marginalization and exclusion. By focusing on the following key priorities, we will work to make all citizens of the Americas full participants in the economies and political life of their nations. Moreover, by assisting the peoples of the Western Hemisphere, our closest neighbors, we create growing markets for U.S. exports and help assure secure, stable societies that contribute to our own security and prosperity.
Consolidating Democracy: The United States will continue to work together with our regional neighbors in strengthening democracy throughout the hemisphere. We will support efforts to create competitive and inclusive political systems so that all citizens have access to political power. With greater competition, less corruption, greater accountability of elected officials, and better stewardship of state resources, citizens of the region will enjoy an improved quality of life. To achieve this, we will work to strengthen judicial independence and capacity, internal controls, and effective prosecution of corruption. We will also help the region strengthen institutions of representative democracy, such as political parties, legislatures, executive agencies, media, and civil society. (Strategic Goal Linkages: 2 and others)
Promoting Prosperity: Access to economic opportunity and the social mobility that it creates are fundamental components of social justice. We will work with governments to reduce poverty in the region by reducing the obstacles to entering the formal economy; implementing free trade agreements in Central America, the Dominican Republic, and the Andes; and improving weak investment climates. We will support programs that enhance the ability of countries to improve income equity by increasing access of the poor to productive assets. We will support programs that improve the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises, especially in the rural sector, to participate in and benefit from trade-led growth in a competitive, global environment. We will continue to press for market reform, transparency, and regulatory and legal environments conducive to opening and expanding the domestic private sector, as well as attracting investment—domestic and foreign—that will expand employment opportunities. We will improve access to energy and explore possibilities of alternative fuels both as a way to create renewable energy as well as a source of employment. We will work to strengthen institutional capacities to reinforce labor rights, reduce corruption, and improve the overall environment for investment. (Strategic Goal Linkages: 4 and others)
Access to Opportunity: Poverty, inequality, and social and political exclusion have denied many in the Americas access to opportunity. The United States will continue to invest in people through improved access to and quality of basic and advanced education, training, and health care; reduction of disease and disability; improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation services; better protection and management of natural and environmental resources; and security for families and their property. The United States will provide life-saving humanitarian relief to refugees, internally displaced persons, and other vulnerable populations facing violent conflict, crisis, natural disasters, famine, persistent dire poverty, and HIV/AIDS, and also prepare for possible pandemics such as avian influenza. Our programs will also focus on environmental protection and preparation for natural disasters. These efforts will continue to help unlock the vast potential of the peoples of the Americas and will contribute to the sustainability of democracy and economic growth. (Strategic Goal Linkages: 2, 3, 5, and others)
Protecting the Democratic State: With all but one of the hemisphere's governments elected democratically, the principal security threat is no longer state-to-state warfare but terrorism, organized crime, and trafficking in people and illicit goods, including illegal narcotics. The United States, working through the Summit of the Americas and the OAS, will continue to help reshape the hemisphere's security agenda and institutions. Through law enforcement and intelligence cooperation, we will create the ability to respond to new threats. We will continue building a new understanding of the linkage between security, economic prosperity, and the well-being of democratic institutions. We will continue efforts to reduce trafficking in persons and illicit goods, and provide alternatives to rural livelihoods built on the production of illegal narcotics. We will also continue to build upon our relationships with militaries and strengthen hemispheric protection against WMD. (Strategic Goal Linkages: 1, 2, and others)