Cross-Currents in Latin America

Issue Date January 2015
Volume 26
Issue 1
Page Numbers 114-127
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Trends in democratization have been mixed in Latin America. Four trajectories are discernible in the current century: stable, high-quality democracies (Chile, Costa Rica, and Uruguay); stable democracies with more salient shortcomings (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Panama); low-quality, stagnant democracies (Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, and Paraguay); and cases of democratic erosion and even backsliding into authoritarianism (Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, and Nicaragua). The twenty-first century democratic erosions occurred where presidents with hegemonic ambitions confronted poorly institutionalized party systems and ultimately gained control over weak state institutions, including pliant courts and low-capacity agencies unable to check the executive.

About the Authors

Scott Mainwaring

Scott Mainwaring is Eugene and Helen Conley Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.

View all work by Scott Mainwaring

Aníbal Pérez-Liñán

Aníbal Pérez-Liñán is professor of political science and global affairs at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author (with Scott Mainwaring) of “Cross-Currents in Latin America,” which appeared in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of Democracy.

View all work by Aníbal Pérez-Liñán