Dictatorships are a crime which the international system has the obligation to end

Carlos Sánchez Berzaín

By: Carlos Sánchez Berzaín - 09/05/2024

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To subject peoples by force and violence, to concentrate all power onto a person or group through the use of State-terrorism that violates all human rights and individual basic freedoms in order to indefinitely wield power, is dictatorship and in this 21st century it is the most heinous crime against humanity, peace, and security. The existence of dictatorships is the main cause of currently existing crises that the international system has the legal obligation and political necessity to end.

The international legal order is based upon the acknowledgement and guarantee of each person’s inalienable human rights with the objective of maintaining international peace and security. As a result of World War II, the States, as principal subjects of international law, surrendered the concept of absolute sovereignty and birthed an international legal system they acknowledge to be under that governs their behavior and that of their governments, and is obligated to the fulfillment of existing universal principles and standards that are not devoid of persuasion.

The polarization between the United States (US) and the United Republic of Soviet States (USSR) ended with the fall of the Berlin wall and the disappearance of the Soviet Union and is best summarized as the triumph of capitalism over communism. The dissolution of the Soviet Union formally ended between 11 March of 1990 and 26 December of 1991 with the independence of the fifteen (15) republics that were part of it. This was also the end of the largest communist dictatorship of the world that also ended the Cold War.

The so-called “triumph” of capitalism over communism is basically a political fact that marks the victory of freedom against dictatorship, it is proof that under freedom a person can live better, produce more, and have superior development. It is not solely an economic matter, it is about a system of political organization, it is the triumph of democracy over dictatorship, the triumph of freedom over the concentration and abuse of power, it is the triumph of human nature over crime.

The implosion of communism and the dissolution of the USSR was the defeat of dictatorship as a system and proof that wielding power under such system ends in misery, under-development, violence, and dependency. This is best summarized as the failure of a criminal system that is based on the continuous commission and institutionalization of crime that is indefinitely repeated with the objective to continue wielding power and have impunity.

With all this clear evidence, the question that comes up is; why then, dictatorships in the 21st century instead of disappearing have expanded in the Americas and have repositioned themselves throughout the world? At the beginning of this century the only dictatorship that existed was that from Cuba who with 21st Century Socialism changed Castroism into Castrochavism that expanded into Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and at one-time controlled Ecuador under Correa and now controls the Para-Dictatorial governments from Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Brazil. Throughout the world dictatorships have been reaffirmed in China, North Korea, Iran, and have been established in Russia and its satellites. Beyond this, Africa has an alarming situation wherein over half of the countries can be identified as dictatorships with over seven coups d état in the past few years.

Dictatorships devastate the peoples, they are an anomaly, they are illegal, but above it all they are a crime. The criminal nature of dictatorships is identified by the United Nations charter, by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by the constitutive documents of regional organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), by the Rome Statute, by the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime or Palermo Convention, and many other international treaties and standards. Regionally, in the Americas, the criminal nature of dictatorships is identified by the Interamerican Democratic Charter, the Interamerican Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) and more.

The fact that laws are not enforced does not at all mean they do not exist, it basically shows that those charged with the responsibility to enforce them are not meeting their obligations due to their own convenience, their own political -or other- decisions, that in just about every case, when is all said and done, their neglect turns detrimental to them. The existing international standards, violated by dictatorships, are so valid that are useful to identify dictatorships and place them in the realm of crime.

In an attempt to disguise their criminal nature, dictatorships propound and sustain falsified narratives. Those Castrochavist dictatorships of the Americas declare them to be “antiimperialist,” those from Africa and Russia call them “nationalist,” China’s is labeled as “Popular and Communist,” the one from Iran is “Theocratic,” the North Korean is “national self-reliance” or “familiar.” Different labels but one same feature; the violation of human rights and freedoms, the total concentration of power, the practice of State-terrorism and the resulting existence of political prisoners, the use of torture, exile, and crimes.

*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Translation from Spanish by Edgar L. Terrazas

Published in Spanish by infobae.com Sunday May 5, 2024

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