So what should happen to put some of these ideas into practice? The second Summit for Democracy is coming up March 29-30 in Costa Rica, one of the standout nations in the hemisphere in adherence to democratic norms. This summit is not only hosted by the Biden administration but by the Netherlands, South Korea and Zambia.
While the heads of state and senior officials will do most of the speech-making, for the Americas, it would be a good idea for the hosts to bring together hemisphere civil society, business leaders and the next generation of political party leaders. They rarely sit down together. This would be a good occasion for them to try and define a common agenda that includes advancing the rule of law and confronting corruption; supporting security measures that respect constitutional rights and agreeing on economic plans, including taxes, to assure public services, access to jobs and inclusive economic growth in this digitalized world.
One other thought. Business as usual, clearly, has not been working. The summit host governments also might think about pledging to a new Democracy Fund at the level of $10 billion for Latin America and the Caribbean over the next decade that specifically pursues the political and development goals vital to supporting democracy. Those monies would be over and above what the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and donors currently plan.