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Today, most countries in Latin America are experiencing the longest uninterrupted period of democracy in their respective histories. Yet while Latin American democracies may be surviving, few are thriving. Public-opinion surveys reveal waning satisfaction with democratic systems, which Latin Americans have expressed by voting against the political establishment. Public anger at established parties is in some cases a response to poor governance, but also has deeper structural causes that include persistent social inequality, state weakness, and weak political parties. Latin American democracies also face new challenges from a resurgent illiberal right; rising partisan polarization; and a changing international environment. Nonetheless, the continuing robustness of core democratic institutions—together with the poor recent track record of the region’s autocracies—offers some grounds for democratic optimism


Issue Date: 
October 2018
Volume: 
29
Issue: 
4
Page Numbers: 
102-113

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