Democracy in Latin America: Degrees, Illusions, and Directions for Consolidation


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Johns Hopkins University Press in "Beyond Sovereignty: Collectively Defending Democracy in the Americas", Tom Farer, ed., page(s): 52-104


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How can external actors - governments, regional organizations, the United Nations, financial institutions, nongovernmental organizations - affect the process of democratic transition and consolidation? In Beyond Sovereignty, leading scholars and policy experts examine the experiences of a variety of Latin American nations and the relevant characteristics of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations to draw lessons that can be applied globally.

The contributors begin by discussing evolving views of sovereignty, democracy, and regional security. They review the past efforts and present capacity of various international organizations - the United Nations, the Organization of American States, external financial institutions, and transnational nongovernmental organizations - to further efforts to deepen democracy. They also offer case studies of how these organizations related to democratic development in Chile, El Salvador, Haiti, and Peru.

The last section applies lessons learned to two problematic regimes: Cuba and Mexico. This timely and useful collection will be of interest to all who study democratic transition and consolidation, comparative politics, Latin American politics, international organizations, and international relations more generally.

Contributors: Domingo E. Acevedo, Larry Diamond, Jorge I. Dominguez, Denise Dresser, Stephanie J. Eglinton, Patricia Weiss Fagen, Tom Farer, David P. Forsythe, Alicia Frohmann, Claudio Grossman, Anita Isaacs, Anthony P. Maingot, Joan M. Nelson, David Scott Palmer, Karen L. Remmer, Kathryn A. Sikkink, and Fernando R. Tesón.

From the Introduction:

"Concern over democracy's uncertain prospects inspired the project that culminates in this volume. Two assumptions shaped the collective effort of its contributors: one, that external actors can contribute to the defense and enhancement of democracy, and two, that tolerance for such external action has increased dramatically--even measures that would once have been widely condemned as impermissible intervention are acquiring a remarkable aura of legitimacy. An increase in tolerance is least marked, however, for unilateral action of a coercive nature, which in the Western Hemisphere usually means action that the Unites States has taken on its own initiative."

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