This article suggests eight lessons regarding democratic governance during the third wave of democratization in Latin America. First, creating effective democratic governance has proven far more difficult than analysts anticipated in the early 1990s. Second, the outcomes in democratic governance in contemporary Latin America have varied widely. Third, effective states are important for successful democratic governance. Fourth, institutionalized party systems facilitate effective democratic governance. Fifth, no set of formal institutions is clearly superior to others for promoting successful democratic governance. Sixth, although historical legacies shape the prospects for the subsequent success of democratic governance, countries have opportunities to break from the past and to establish new regime dynamics. Seventh, in the post-1990 period in Latin America, positive and negative outcomes have tended to go together. Finally, effective democratic governance does not always satisfy popular aspirations.