Exchange on Nicaragua


Friday, January 1, 2010

Learning the Wrong Lessons About Nicaraguan Democracy: A Response to Anderson and Dodd

By Samuel R. Greene

Samuel R. Greene, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Politics at the Catholic University of America, comments on Leslie Anderson and Larry Dodd’s July 2009 essay on Nicaragua’s 2008 municipal elections:

Leslie Anderson and Lawrence Dodd reach a curious conclusion in their analysis of Nicaragua’s 2008 municipal elections in the pages of this journal. Despite widespread fraud in the 2008 election, they argue that the landslide Sandinista (FSLN) victory is evidence of the ability of local FSLN leaders to meet constituent needs in Nicaragua’s relatively decentralized government. The election should thus be understood as a sign of the growing autonomy of FSLN municipal leaders. For Anderson and Dodd, this independence serves as an indicator that despite the well-documented problems with Nicaragua’s democracy and institutions at the national level, Nicaragua’s democracy may yet be advancing…read more (PDF).

Taking the Study of Nicaraguan Politics Seriously: A Response to Greene on the 2008 Municipal Elections

By Leslie E. Anderson and Lawrence C. Dodd

Leslie E. Anderson, University of Florida Research Foundation Professor, and Lawrence C. Dodd, the Manning J. Dauer Eminent Scholar Chair in Political Science at the University of Florida, respond to Samuel R. Greene’s comments on their essay:

We have been invited to respond to Samuel Greene’s review of our July 2009 article, “Nicaragua: Progress Amid Regress?,” and we have accepted the invitation. Our response is informed by 1) careful field work inside the country, including extensive interviews with mayors and council members at the municipal level and legislators and presidential candidates at the national level; 2) extensive original survey data on citizen opinion in Nicaragua, nationwide and in selected municipalities; 3) attention to core arguments within political science about the nature of democratic politics, including the role and value of citizen participation, policy delivery, and accountability in democratic politics; and 4) a perspective on democratization in general that places Nicaragua’s process in that broader picture…read more (PDF).