A disconnect between Bolivia’s old party system and the country’s deeper social-cleavage structure led to a massive shift in politics there. What lessons might be drawn for other nations?
Over the last decade or so, Bolivia has made great progress at wider political and social inclusion, but at some cost to civil liberties and horizontal accountability.
Latin America’s much-discussed political “left turn” has taken two very different forms. Why has the region’s commodities boom led some left-turn states to move toward “plebiscitarian superpresidentialism,” while others have resisted this temptation?
Bolivia now finds itself locked in a stalemate between forces bent on “refounding” the country and an eastern region insisting on greater autonomy.
Where indigenous peoples constitute a smaller share of the electorate, their recent inclusion denotes a more generalized opening of the political system to excluded and vulnerable sectors of society.
Despite recent progress in the government's negotiations with rebel groups, Colombia's problems remain acute: continued violence, growing human rights abuses, severe income inequality, and a depressed economy.
One key source of the weakness of democracy in the Andean region is the isolation of the "political class" from the rest of society. There are growing signs that this problem is becoming more serious in Bolivia.