The central question I want to address is: What is being constructed in El Salvador? Is it what I have elsewhere labeled a "hybrid regime?" Is it a democradura, that is, a "hard" democracy, or a dictablanda, a form of "soft" authoritarian rule? Is it, perhaps, a full-blown, consolidated democracy?
How do we characterize the nature of the Salvadoran transition?
The type of transition matters a great deal. This may seem obvious to many people, but it goes against the arguments of some who claim that the type of transition from authoritarian rule has no lasting effects. Some scholars have maintained that it doesn't matter how countries "transition" to another regime type because, after 10 or 15 years, the results tend to be similar. I do not believe this is correct; El Salvador illustrates why.