Region: Latin America and the Caribbean

July 2006, Volume 17, Issue 3

The Crisis of Representation in the Andes

Despite a significant expansion of citizenship over the last few decades, the Andean nations face a severe crisis of democratic representation. The root of the problem lies not in the mechanisms of representation but in poor state performance.

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Lula’s Brazil at Midterm

Many saw the election of Workers' Party leader Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva to the Brazilian presidency in October 2002 as the beginning of an era. Two years into his first term, Lula has yet to live up to that expectation.

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Costa Rica: Paradise in Doubt

Once routinely praised as the "Switzerland of Central America," Costa Rica has in recent years begun to show troubling signs of having a political system that citizens feel is not keeping faith with them.

January 2005, Volume 16, Issue 1

The Referendum in Venezuela: Elections versus Democracy

While charges of electronic fraud in the actual voting or vote-counting are unproven, the dubious and even illegal tactics that the Chavez regime used throughout the larger process point to rampant "institutional fraud" that is undermining Venezuelan democracy.

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October 2004, Volume 15, Issue 4

Latin American Presidencies Interrupted

Over the last two decades, Latin America has seen more than a dozen presidencies come to a premature end. It is time to consider changing constitutional designs that promote conflict rather than more consensual ways of doing politics.

July 2004, Volume 15, Issue 3

Curbing Central America’s Militaries

Since the end of the Cold War, Central America has seen a regionwide diminution of military influence that bodes well for democratic governance and healthier civil-military relations.

January 2004, Volume 15, Issue 1

Fox’s Mexico at Midterm

Mexico’s 2003 congressional elections confirmed both the transition to fully competitive politics and the persistence of structural deficiencies associated with a multiparty presidential system.

April 2002, Volume 13, Issue 2

Argentina: Crisis and Democratic Consolidation

Argentina made headlines around the world last December as its presidency changed hands no fewer than four times in less than two weeks. Lost amid the chaos, however, were hopeful signs that the country has now turned the corner of democratic consolidation.

January 2001, Volume 12, Issue 1

Democracy as a Starting Point

Democracy by itself does not put an end to injustice or inequality, but it establishes the most favorable conditions for making progress in the struggle to achieve a just society.

July 2000, Volume 11, Issue 3

Democratizing Civil Society in Latin America

As the experience of Latin America makes clear, a strong civil society is not necessarily a democratic one. Democratic deficits within civil society jeopardize its ability to perform its proper social functions.

April 2000, Volume 11, Issue 2

Latin America at the Century’s Turn

Recent disappointments have led to excessive pessimism about Latin America’s economic and democratic prospects. International recognition of the region’s diversity and a sense of perspective about its setbacks will improve its chances for further success.

April 2000, Volume 11, Issue 2

The “Normalization” of Argentine Politics

The most striking thing about Fernando de la Rua’s presidential victory in Argentina was the routine-even boring-character of the elections. This turn toward normalization is a major break with the past.

April 2000, Volume 11, Issue 2

Chile’s Elections: The New Face of the Right

The unexpectedly strong showing of media-savvy rightist candidate Joaquín Lavín in the 1999 presidential elections and the move to the center by Concertación candidate Ricardo Lagos suggest that Chile has begun to put the ghosts of Allende and Pinochet to rest.

April 2000, Volume 11, Issue 2

Chile’s Elections: Change and Continuity

Lavín’s strong showing did not represent an “earthquake” or a dramatic change in the electoral landscape. Voting patterns have remained basically unchanged since 1988, giving Lagos a clear mandate to lead Chile into the next millennium.

April 2000, Volume 11, Issue 2

Electoral Reform and Stability in Uruguay

In the November 1999 presidential election, Uruguayans reaffirmed their strong commitment to democracy, while adjusting to a set of constitutional reforms that profoundly altered the electoral system.

July 1998, Volume 9, Issue 3

Octavio Paz (1914-1998)

The death of Mexican poet and essayist Octavio Paz on April 20 was (in the words of Mexico’s president Ernesto Zedillo) “an irreplaceable loss for contemporary thought and culture—not just for Latin America but for the entire world.” Born in Mexico City on 31 March 1914, Paz published his first book of poetry while still…

July 1995, Volume 6, Issue 3

Venezuela Falters

A review of Strong Parties and Lame Ducks: Presidential Partyarchy and Factionalism in Venezuela, by Michael Coppedge and Democracy for the Privileged: Crisis and Transition in Venezuela, by Richard S. Hillman.

January 1994, Volume 5, Issue 1

The Role of Elites

A review of Elites and Democratic Consolidation in Latin America and Southern Europe, edited by John Higley and Richard Gunther.