On behalf of the people of the United States, I wish the citizens of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru successful elections on April 11 that are fair, free, accessible, and peaceful. As we strive to protect and strengthen democracies, we must recognize that free and fair elections for all citizens are only one step in the process; respect for results, fundamental freedoms, and accountability must accompany the free and fair vote. Democracy flourishes when citizens and governments actively promote equality under the law and human rights for all, and democracy thrives when we carefully and vigorously tend to such fundamentals. History here in the Americas and beyond has shown that societies that follow a non-democratic path struggle to reclaim lost ground. To avoid that, we all must remain vigilant in strengthening our democratic institutions to support the rule of law, a free press, and good governance, and build systems that solve the problems and move us towards a better future. Twenty years ago this September, the nations of the Americas gathered in Lima to sign the Inter-American Democratic Charter which affirms that, “democracy is a way of life based on liberty and enhancement of economic, social, and cultural conditions for the peoples of the Americas.” Our best regards to those celebrating and preserving that democratic way of life this Sunday and beyond.