Mike Pompeo speaking at lectern (State Dept./Freddie Everett)
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers remarks to the Organization of American States on January 17. (State Dept./Freddie Everett)

The U.S. government wants a Western Hemisphere free of authoritarian regimes and remains committed to working with allies in the region to achieve this goal.

“Sleepwalking elements of the international order must wake up,” said Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo at the Organization of American States (OAS) on January 17. “Our citizens are trusting us to defend them — and to defend their liberties.”

Pompeo congratulated countries in Central and South America who work together to achieve representative democracy throughout the hemisphere.

This is multilateralism, nations coming together in a way that truly does work,” he said.

Throughout the past year, a tangible wave of democracy has swept across Central and South America. Bolivians, for example, demanded a free and fair election in their country — after OAS electoral observers found proof of widespread fraud. The Bolivian government is now working to establish a new date and conditions for a truly democratic election.

“Only in Cuba and Nicaragua and Venezuela do we face stains of tyranny on a great canvas of freedom in our hemisphere,” Pompeo said.

It is the responsibility of the leaders of the international community, such as the OAS, to continue to fight for everyone’s democratic rights, Pompeo said.

“It’s up to each of us to protect dignity and rights,” he said. “It’s up to us to conduct diplomacy as brothers — and sisters — of the citizens that we each represent.”