Latin America’s Surprisingly Resilient Democracies

Anti-government demonstrators march during a national strike in Bogota, Colombia, Dec. 4, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).
Anti-government demonstrators march during a national strike in Bogota, Colombia, Dec. 4, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).
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Pro-democracy activists once held up Latin America as a crowning achievement, a region notorious for 19th-century caudillos and Cold War military strongmen that was almost universally electing its leaders by the early 1990s. In 2001, the Western Hemisphere’s premier political institution, the Organization of American States, adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which commits members to uphold and defend democracy. Nowadays, it is more common to hear about Latin America as a cautionary tale, a flashing red light reminding us of the fragility of new democratic institutions and the allure of old habits. The overachiever of what Samuel Huntington called the […]

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