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Models Of Development: Overview Of Central And South America


“Liberal Democracies” - Models of Development? The “Other Worlds” of Comparative Politics, Theories of Modernization,- RP-2,  POICS (1) 1-92

RP Section 3.

Section 3

Overview of Central and South America

History and Culture:

The nations of Latin America more closely resemble the United States in their history and circumstances than do most of the developing nations of Africa, Asia, or the Middle East (with the possible exception of Israel in the last case.) Most of these nations are the product of European expansion in the western hemisphere that resulted in the native populations being largely overwhelmed and displaced from elite positions in government and civil society. The political and cultural institutions are predominantly European or European mediated through the influence of the United States. The predominant languages and religion are also those of Spain and Portugal. Although native cultures, languages, and religious forms do continue, as is also true in the United States, they have a more marginal influence compared to the impact of European colonization even when the native population continues to make up a majority of significant portion of the population of the country, as is the case in Guatemala.

The other respect in which certain of the Carribean nations and Brazil resemble the United States is through the existence of a large component of population of African origin due to the institution of slavery beginning early in the colonial era and lasting into the nineteenth century. In the case of Haiti the native and European colonial elements were completely displaced by the persons of African origin. In Cuba, Guyana and Brazil people of African origin form a significant minority group. These nations, no less, than the United States, have had to deal with issues of discrimination and civil rights.

The great point of difference between most of the nations of Latin America and the Untied States lies in the religiously homogeneity of Roman Catholicism and in the more authoritarian traditions of Spanish colonial rule. Norms of toleration and accommodation of differing viewpoints may well have been enhanced in the thirteen British American colonies due to the fact than no one Protestant denomination predominated. England’s geographic isolation and protection from Europe allowed it the luxury of not having to maintain a large standing army and so it did not develop the highly centralized monarchies that went hand-in-hand with having to maintain large standing armies. By contrast Spain, which had been totally occupied by Arab Muslim invaders in the eighth century c.e., had only completed the final “re-conquest” of its lands from the Arabs by 1492 c.e. The Spanish experience was one of greater monarchical authoritarianism and also a marked degree of religious conformity and intolerance of heterodox views and beliefs. The Spanish Inquisition, which hunted down covert Jews, Muslims and suspected Protestants in Spain, was also active in Mexico and Latin America. According to Frank Brandenburg’s Making of Modern Mexico, the Inquisition maintained a court, referred to as the “House of Burning,” in which suspected heretics were tried, tortured, and occasionally burned at the stake. In terms of modern political culture this heritage has led to several peculiarities not seen in the U.S. experience:

First, the imposition of regulations from the royal court in Spain that were oblivious to the realties of life in the Americas lead to a tradition of contempt for the rule of law and passive resistance to authority. For instance both Britain and the Untied States, in order to reduce the costs of maintaining several customs houses along with many customs officers on the payroll, mandated that their subjects had to import and export only through a few designated ports with the required custom houses. In the case of New England that often meant bringing goods to Boston rather than using a more convenient seaport. In the case of the residents of Lima it meant transporting all goods to and from Buenos Aires. Of course the reality was that colonials instead often disregarded regulations and dealt with local smugglers and pirates instead. In Latin America this attitude of passive contempt for law was summed up in a Spanish phrase meaning, “I shall obey but not comply!” Even today there is an attitude found among the elites, whether of left-wing or right-wing opinion, of feeling oneself above the law and being free to do whatever one can get away with. In the United States by contrast there has been a stronger tradition of moral-legalism. Following independence the Philadelphia Convention inserted a prohibition on the national government forcing states to direct all their commerce through preferred ports. Whenever possible we have tried to make laws which we could obey and live with, rather than follow the Latin American expedient of simply ignoring those laws we don’t like. Another anecdote, which I owe to Edwin G. Corr, the former U.S Ambassador to Bolivia: One night one of his Embassy staffers was driving home late at night in largely empty streets of La Paz but came to an intersection just as the light turned red. He put on his brakes but then was rear-ended by a car that was behind him that obviously had not anticipated that he would stop. When he got out of his car to exchange information the other driver, a very upset Bolivian, exclaimed “For Heaven’s sake, why did you stop?” Most Bolivian drivers would have proceeded through the red light without even slowing down if it were obvious that there was no cross-traffic and no traffic cops around.

The other aspect in which Latin American nations have differed from the United States is that norms of toleration of different political, social and religious views are much weaker. During the Sandinista period in Nicaragua leftists justified attacks on LDS missionaries on the ground that missionaries wore suits, white shirts, and ties. The leftists were offended by what they regarded as “bourgeois” North American fashions. During the FMLN insurgency in EL Salvador much of the U.S. diplomatic effort was aimed just at getting representatives of the transitional government and representatives of the FMLN just to sit down and talk with each other. The more serious problem was that of “death squads” who would target and murder people for nothing more than holding the wrong political views. While Salvadoran death squads were largely right-wingers targeting students, unionists, priests and others suspected of leftist tendencies in Nicaragua so-called “turba divinas” - “Divine Mobs” of leftist supporters of the government would attack anyone suspected of opposing the Sandinista regime.

Because of the strong Spanish colonial authoritarian norms there has been a more open acceptance of statism among Latin Americans. Politicians, both of the right and the left, have been much more willing to use the coercive powers of the state to nationalize foreign firms and properties, to break strikes or enforce labor legislation, or to co-opt private associations into obedience to the state. Trade barriers, import substitution, and top heavy bureaucratic-authoritarian administrations could be found throughout Latin America.

In spite of some of these striking differences in the political culture of Latin American nations from that of the United States over time there has been an increasing commitment to democratic and constitutional norms among both the intellectuals and the political leaders in Latin America. Statism, whether in its Marxist-Leninist forms or conservative bureaucratic-authoritarian forms, has become increasingly discredited and there is a greater willingness to engage in free trade regimes, to privatize public enterprises and to permit more free market competition.

Current Developments Within Latin America and U.S. Concerns

An overview of development of Latin American requires not just an overall perspective of the intrinsic problems of Latin America as but also some discussion of the intricacies of U.S. relations with the various countries in Latin America. In what follows I seek to create some sense of relative proportions in discussion of Latin American affairs by emphasizing some of the differences in scales of economy and population between certain nations and regions, such as between Mexico and the rest of Central America, and between Brazil and the rest of South America. Also we need to note the relative importance of Latin American countries to U.S. policy given each's close proximity to the United States or lack of such proximity, or else in terms of each's relative degree of involvement in the world economy.

A good source for gaining an overview of development in Latin America is Abraham F. Lowenthal’s Partners in Conflict: The United States and Latin America (John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 1990). Lowenthal and others believe that U.S. policy makers have tended too much either to neglect the region as a whole or else to focus excessively on one nation/region to the neglect of all others with the result that Americans arrive at distorted assessments of our interests in Latin America and so generate unbalanced policies. In particular our recent preoccupation with Central America distracted our attention from potentially more dangerous conditions in Mexico and South America.

Two major realities that have emerged in Latin America from the 1960s to the end of the 1990s: First, there has been rapid economic growth that has given way to a severe economic crisis. Second, there has been much replacement of authoritarian regimes with more democratic systems throughout Latin America.

Political and Economic Developments:

One of the most striking institutional developments to be seen in Latin America during the past generation has been the growth of the state. While Marxist and populist socialist experiments have been consistently unsuccessful, observers have tended to wrongly equate bureaucratic authoritarianism with capitalism proper. As Michael Novak pointed out in Will It Liberate?, his response to liberation theology's critique of Latin American 'capitalism,' what is often called 'capitalism' in Latin America actually is a mixed economy in which command elements have co-existed with oligarchic mercantilism: many thriving private concerns really lean heavily on the state for monopolistic control of internal markets or else for protectionist tariffs to exclude foreign competition. While there has been an undeniable expansion of the private sector in Latin America the lack of internal capital has put the developing Latin American economies into a precarious position: capital has had to be imported in the form of loans but whenever lower growth rates coincide with higher interest rates, which was a common situation in the previous decade, up to one-third of the export earnings of these economies may end up being re-exported as interest payments.

During the Reagan and Bush (I) administrations (1980-1992) there was too much imbalance in U.S. policy towards Latin America: We focused too much on the Nicaraguan and Cuban threats to U.S. national security and spend too little time on the economic problems of such nations as Mexico and Brazil, as well as the non-Communist part of the Caribbean basin. The progress that many of these countries have made toward democracy could become unraveled if these governments cannot meet the rising expectations of their peoples due to their credit dilemmas. If these democracies were to dissolve into ultra-nationalist, populist or socialist autarchies, hostile to the United States, then we would have security problems that would make Cuba and Nicaragua appear Lilliputian affairs by contrast.

Mexico: The root causes of Mexico's problems are internal: while the Institutional Revolutionary Party had succeeded in creating industrialization and high growth rates up until the late 1960s, since then Mexico has reached the stage where state intervention in the economy is producing only marginal results. Although jealous of its independence and very suspicious of the United States, Mexico's economy is strongly tied to that of the United States, being the third largest trading partner of the United States with 60% of her exports flowing north and a similar amount of her imports coming from the United States The NAFTA regime only increases this reliance on trade with the United States. Many of Mexico’s recent internal troubles, such as the insurgency in Chiapas State, are indirect results of the NAFTA accord: In order to allow foreign investment in landed properties the Mexican government had, in effect, to renege on commitments of land reform and restitution of land claims of native peoples.

Brazil: Brazil's gross domestic product of $886 billion in 1997 represented a little under one-half (47%) of the total of all of Latin America ($1,865 billion). However Brazil has also

NationGDP 1997 ($U.S. GDP 2004 ($U.S. 

Billions) Billions)

Argentina 271.0 483.5

Bolivia 18.3 22.3

Brazil 886.0 1,492.0

Chile 98.0 169.1

Colombia 172.0 281.0

Ecuador 41.1 49.5

Guyana 1.4 2.9

Mexico 694.0 1,006.0

Paraguay 15.4 29.9

Peru 73.6 155.3

Suriname 1.2 1.9

Uruguay 23.0 49.3

Venezuela 178.0 145.2

been among the world's largest borrowers of foreign capital. Grappling with this financial dilemma may entail much conflict between the United States and Brazil that could follow from a U.S. failure to help Brazil overcome these problems: In addition to the threat to U.S. investments in Brazil (currently there is more U.S. investment in Brazil than elsewhere in South America) there would also be the danger of a 'demonstration effect' if Brazil were to go populist and to refuse to honor its debt obligations.

Caribbean Basin: Lowenthal and other observers have been generally critical of the United States's preoccupation with Central America. Developments in Central America should be kept in perspective and that Central America not be divorced from the context of the Caribbean region as a whole. The argument is that it is the region as a whole that impacts U.S. national security, e.g. roughly half of U.S.-bound foreign cargo tonnage and half of our oil imports sail through the Caribbean waters while the poor economies and population explosions in many of these islands have led to a large influx of illegal aliens into the United States. In spite of Cuban involvement in the former insurgencies in El Salvador, other Central American nations, as well as its role in the coup against the democratic government in Grenada, which lead to the U.S. invasion of that island in 1983, the collapse of the Soviet Union and resultant loss of Soviet aid to Cuba have made Castro’s regime much less effective in attempts to support communist-style insurgencies elsewhere. Development in the Carribean Basin, no less than elsewhere in Latin America, requires integrated economic, diplomatic packages that promote the mutual security interests of the United States and Latin American countries as well as being a package that promotes democratic values over authoritarian or totalitarian ones. In the case of the Caribbean basin recent U.S. foreign policy has neglected the diplomatic and economic side of the house in the name of protecting national and regional security.

American Foreign Policy:

The history of U.S. development policies with respect to Latin America has lacked continuity of policies and personnel, as was shown in particular in the lack of follow-through with the Alliance for Progress. Henry Kissinger's global policy quite neglected Latin America. U.S. security interests surely include import-export relations, immigration and narcotics control, and the promotion of at least the minimum of democratic values and human rights among our hemispheric neighbors. Complementarities in the U.S. economy with Latin American industrialization could provide the basis for expanded inter-American cooperation, if potential mutual interests are recognized and acted upon. Many policy analysts, such as Lowenthal, insist that if Latin America is to continue its remarkable growth both foreign capital and improved markets are needed for its products as well as considerable internal reforms and adjustments. My own comment on the foregoing is that the Latin Americans are, and must be, the parties most responsible for their own fate. The United States is limited in what it can do for others. Sometimes there is too much of a 'cornucopia' complex here, as if the United States can always 'do something' and therefore is to be blamed if solutions are not forthcoming.

The Reality of Authoritarianism in the Developing Nations

Many, if not most, of the political regimes in the various "newly-industrializing countries" and "less developed countries," are authoritarian, or quasi-authoritarian. Most of these nations have well-written documents called "constitutions" with an impressive number of explicit guarantees or personal rights and liberties and human rights. However, in many of these nations such written constitutions play even less of a role in the actual operation of the political system than is played by the British monarch in the current British political system. At least British government officials pay Queen Elizabeth a sort of deference that most Third World officials seldom paid to their own official written constitutions.

Authoritarian rule is characterized by, 1) a monopoly, or near-monopoly, of political power by a ruling elite, which is not shared, or circulated or made accountable to the rest of society by any democratic or constitutionalist process, and 2) a partial subordination of society to the political system which leaves many areas of social life with substantial freedom so long as the leaders perceive those aspects of society as being politically non-threatening to their rule.

Two devices used by several modern regimes to maintain their authoritarian control include 1) the use of a single legal political party, or a "dominant" party in a supposedly multi-party system, as a means of containing and controlling domestic politics and competing interests, and 2) requiring those groups, which would otherwise be considered private and voluntary associations in a liberal democracy, to enter into a formal relationship with the regime as a means for regulating their activities. This system of co-optation, known as corporatism, was also an aspect of the totalitarian systems devised by Germany's Nazi Party and Italy's Fascist Party, but it can be used for the more limited purposes of authoritarian rule: either to enlist important segments of society into actively supporting the regime or at least regulating them in such a manner that they do not become an open threat to the regime's monopoly of power. It should be noted that even in some liberal democracies there are some features that resemble corporatism, such as granting rights of collective bargaining to specific unions, or allowing professional associations to set the legal requirements to hold a license as a member of that profession. In either case the government is in effect lending its coercive powers to a private association to compel others to join or support those associations.

The single, official party device is actually a hallmark of totalitarian regimes in which those associations that would have remained as co-opted private groups in an authoritarian and corporatist system would actually become branch organizations of the central, ruling party. While the single, official party system predominates in most totalitarian regimes, and only a few authoritarian regimes, there are also some unusual cases in which the official state party co-exists with other minor parties. In the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) there were actually four officially-recognized non-Communist opposition parties. In the late part of the twentieth century Mexico the Institutional Revolutionary Party allowed a number of opposition parties to compete in national elections and to win up to 49 percent of the popular vote. The telling test of whether or not such "multi-party systems" really are democratic or not is whether any of the non-official parties are allowed to win an election or whether members of the minority parties are allowed to participate in the executive administration of the country.

During the 1960s many American political scientists, including Samuel P. Huntington, believed that many developing nations were incapable of carrying own both economic modernization and political modernization simultaneously. Instead many development theorists, with Huntington at their lead, proposed that such authoritarian societies should first concentrate on economic modernization and top-down social reforms. After two of three decades of successful development then the people of these developing nations would be sufficiently educated and sophisticated enough to be allowed to participate in the development of a functioning democracy. The actual economic and political development of some countries, notably Spain, Chile, and Turkey, followed this model. In this pattern of staged development it seemed to make sense to allow one political party to function as a quasi-democratic official party. In retrospect an examination of those nations that opted for a single, officially-sponsored party does not reveal that they made more rapid economic or social progress or that they democratized more quickly than authoritarian regimes that permitted a multi-party system to emerge. In fact much of the available evidence suggests that those countries that opted for one-party states experienced significantly more "crony-ism," nepotism, graft and corruption than did those nation-states in which political parties were subjected to the disciple of the popular vote.

One reason developing nations were captivated by the one-party system as a vehicle of economic progress and development was the apparent dramatic progress made in the Soviet Union under the one party dictatorship there. Even though leaders and elites in many developing nations were not attracted to the Marxist-Leninist ideology of communism they were spell-bound by the apparent dynamism, zeal, and efficiency of the one party system. Therefore many developing nations, particularly Mexico and post-Ottoman Turkey, tried to create their own non-communist version of a one-party state, part of which involved creating some version of corporatism in order to "co-ordinate" the rest of society with the party program. However towards the end of the Soviet system it had become blatantly apparent that crony-ism, nepotism and corruption had become endemic even within the "vanguard of the proletariat," the Communist Party. With the collapse of the Soviet system the spell of the "one-party state" affixation has finally been broken in most areas of the world where it formerly held sway.

Why Have Some Democratic Experiments Failed?

From the foregoing discussion it should be clear that having a well-written constitution and a sound economy are not sufficient in order to create a stable and effective democracy. There must be supporting history or values, attitudes, expectations and beliefs as well. When Germany and Japan briefly became parliamentary democracies after World War I both these nations had two of the better written constitutions in the world. Both nations were also industrial leaders and strong military powers: Japan had defeated the Russian navy in the Pacific in 1905 while German military forces still held one-third of France and all of Poland and the Ukraine at the time of the 1918 Armistice. All that Japan and Germany lacked were those elements of a political culture needed to sustain democracy and, unfortunately, in their place there were instead long-standing Imperial and feudal authoritarian and militaristic traditions as well as political and military leaders with a minimal commitment to democracy or peace.

The recent democratization of several Third World and formerly Communist nations has renewed debate about what conditions are necessary for securing the transition to democracy. Between 1918 and 1945 Japan and Germany's transition to democracy obviously failed. Since 1945 not only has democratic rule re-emerged in these two nations but both Japan and Germany are now held to be model examples of liberal democracies.

The development of democratic regimes in previously non-democratic states seems desirable, not simply for the dated and negative Cold War purpose of stopping the spread of Communist regimes, but also for the very good reason that democratic regimes seemed less inclined to undertake warfare against each other or against us. The moral-ethical sentiment that lies behind any public consensus backing up U.S. foreign policy also argues in favor of democracy. Americans like the idea of promoting democracy as a good in itself. As much as Americans have disliked the idea of Communism they have also felt much ambivalence over supporting right-wing non-democratic regimes such as Somoza's Nicaragua, Franco's Spain, the Shah's Iran, or Pinochet's Chile.

Democracy and Regime Legitimacy

The essential problem then is that of the stability of newly-created democratic regimes. Democratic regimes are toppled only when their legitimacy is undermined. Legitimacy is the perception by the public, or of key groups of the public, that the government institutions have the right to rule. We must distinguish between:

Crises of Legitimacy in How Typically


Most Ruler/Executive and/or Elections 

Superficial Government/Administration Impeachment

level Resignation

More Regime/Constitution Constitutional

Important Political System type Amendment/

Level ratification

Most Nation-State identity Civil War/Secession

Fundamental Annexation/

Level War/Secession Genocide/ Ethnic


Problems in legitimacy in Level One can be solved by elections. Problems at Level Two may entail violent or non-violent transformation of the regime. Regime crisis can be solved peacefully through a constitutional convention. If the attempt to reform the constitutional system through convention and negotiation fails and the old regime still has its defenders either it will defend itself by force of arms or else will be replaced through a coup or revolution.

A democratic state will experience a regime crisis when a majority or its citizens or else key insider elites come to regard it as illegitimate. Defending itself by force against the wishes of a law-abiding opposition or majority opinion would mean that the government would be repudiating its own commitment to democracy. Democracies are seldom overthrown by "outsider" minority opposition groups or leftist revolutionaries but are usually destroyed by military interventions or coups by key elite groups from within the system.

Legitimacy can be undermined when the regime is perceived as ineffective in guaranteeing basic public order and personal security; arbitrating and adjudicating conflict(s); or providing answers to the basic needs of the society.

Examples:Chile in 1973 [public security in disorder]

Turkey in 1980 [public security gone]

Fair Adjudication of Conflicts Gone [Colombia 1960s, Lebanon 1970s]

Democratic regimes are more vulnerable than non-democratic regimes since they will permit all kinds of criticisms of its public record. Usually what is questioned is the performance of the government (or administration) rather than the regime itself. The regime will be perceived as effective if it allows the government to be changed in favor of another government with more effective policies. New democratic regimes are more vulnerable on two counts:

1) There is no successful record of "democratic regime" performance to point to....the first democratic regime is the only democratic regime in its nation's history. Criticism of the government tends also to be perceived as criticism of the democratic regime itself.

2) There is no prior tradition of an "open society" debate in which a "loyal opposition" is recognized. All criticism tends to be viewed as disloyalty. Whereas in older democracies the government will often co-opt the opposition by compromise and incorporation of its demands into the government program, governments in new democratic regimes will often repudiate the legitimacy of criticism and so both alienate their opposition and cut themselves off from valuable feedback.

Of course, all newly democratized nation-states face not only the hatred of die-hard adherents of the former regime and (opposition from other opponents) but also face the high and dangerously unrealistic expectations of their supporters. High expectations coupled with low performance due to post-democratization administrative upheavals means more de-legitimation when high expectations are disappointed. Non-democratic transitional regimes have the option of silencing their die-hard opponents or disaffected former followers through censorship, persecution, or execution but democratic regimes cannot resort to the same tactics.

Role of Political Parties in Destabilizing Democracies

The classical analysis of instability in democracies is that of Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan in their Breakdown of Democratic Regimes (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1978). They view the role of internal political actors as being the most crucial in determining whether or not a democracy will survive. If the greater mass of people are indifferent or uncommitted to the democratic regime this itself is not of decisive importance. If the new government and regime carry out their duties effectively and refrain from a politics of revenge and exclusion against groups of marginal loyalty to the new regime (i.e. former regime's bureaucrats and administrators, the remaining military, and anyone else not obviously an outright enemy of the new regime) then they will win the confidence of that public over time. If key insider political actors lack commitment to the democratic regime then it may well be doomed.

Two-party systems only do well if there is already a basic consensus within the country about the political system. This does not describe most new democracies. Multi-party systems similarly require at least these conditions:

- minimal POLARIZATION of extremes, that is, there most be a 

commitment of most parties to seek compromise in search of 

a political center

- responsible behavior by opposition parties

- loyalty to the democratic regime by all main parties, whether in 

the ruling coalition or opposition, and acceptance of each other 

as being loyal, whether in "the government" or the opposition.

The nature of the opposition is often the crucial problem that determines whether or not a democratic regime will survive. Openly disloyal opposition groups are not the threat...the diehard partisans of the former dictatorship, or secessionist rebels, or extreme leftists are usually too marginal to the government or to the society at large to be able to do much. It is secret disloyalty of insider elites that critically hurts a regime.

The democratic regime's stability is seriously threatened when key political and non-political actors question its legitimacy. These include the military, ruling political parties or ruling coalitions of parties, and the opposition parties. Linz and Stepan (pp. 36-37) state that belief in the legitimacy of the democratic regime means in practical terms the following:

* 1. Unequivocal public commitment to the principle that political power will be attained only through electoral processes. 

* 2. Rejection of the use of force except to defend the regime against internal aggression. 

* 3. Rejection of all attempts to use the nation's Armed Forces [or else private militias] to settle political questions. 

* 4. Abstaining from approving of illegal actions or political vigilanteeism by groups of whose politics one approves. 

* 5. Commitment to support the system even when one is out of power and also not to boycott elections or to sabotage work of government through strikes, desertion, sabotage and the like. 

* 6. Willingness to support the government, even when in opposition, when the democratic system itself seems endangered. 

* 7. Willingness to compromise with ideological foes to save the constitutional system. 

* 8. Rejection of all contact, cooperation or conspiracy with open enemies of the democratic regime. 

* 9. Readiness to denounce and expose all such conspiracy by others. 

* 10. Commitment to reduce the role of non-democratic institutions (the Armed Forces, judiciary, bureaucracy, extraordinary actions by the titular head of state) in politics to a minimum. 

The essential condition for stability in a democratic multiparty system is MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF SYSTEM PARTICIPANTS AS BEING LOYAL to the democratic order. This means that those who are disloyal to that regime must be regarded by loyal elements as their common and public enemies. This means that system participants must agree on whom or what is disloyal.

Pitfalls That May Compromise Internal Commitment to Democracy

In the formative stages of a new democracy terrible errors can be made in this regard.

* 1. Avoiding the Politics of Resentment and Exclusion: The first pitfall is to seek revenge or retribution against all who were perceived as enemies of democracy. A witch-hunt aimed at all members of the former government may cause valuable civil servants to flee the country or to be purged from useful government service. A witch-hunt aimed at military officers may result in a coup. Politicians who served as members of a rubber stamp legislature or as members of token opposition parties may provide valuable links of symbolic continuity. The new constitution may seek to enshrine all of the policy preferences of the new democrats with the result that other parties committed to democracy, but not to those policies, are soon vilified as disloyal for "opposing the constitution." This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Such a politics of exclusion will turn revolutionary allies into enemies. e.g. Sandinista exclusion of other anti-Somoza alliance partners who then took to the bush as the Contras. In Iran in 1978-1981 the Islamic fundamentalists' exclusion of the leftist People's Mujahideen group led the latter into a futile and bloody revolt.
Contrary examples would be Germany after 1945 and the United States after the Civil War. De-nazification extended only to Wehrmacht or SS officers guilty of actual war crimes or else Nazi Party officials charged with political responsibility for the war. Similarly in the period of post-Civil War reconstruction all southerners and Confederate Army war veterans who were not political executives or commissioned officers of the Confederacy regained full civil rights.

* 2. Embracing Unrealistic Agenda: Being Set Up for Defeat The governments of new regimes have to embrace realistic political agenda and not demonize all social problems as intentional evils of the old regime. Too often they will have to live with the same social and economic problems and their accusations against the former regime may shortly be turned against them by disloyal non-democratic opponents. Worse yet, one may disappoint one's own supporters who may become disloyal or cynical about the democratic regime, 

* 3. Avoiding Foreign Policy Pitfalls Democratic regimes sometimes are born from the defeat of the prior regime in war. As the successor states these regimes are still responsible for the debts and liabilities of prior regimes. In the case of Germany in 1918-19 the concessions by the Weimar Republic reached under the Versailles Treaty to make reparations to the Allies damaged the legitimacy of the Weimar Republic. The Irish Free State's accommodation with Britain regarding the northern six counties damaged its credibility in the eyes of maximalist Irish nationalists. Iranian Prime Minister Ali Amini's accommodation with the British in restoring their oil concessions in Iran following the overthrow of Mussadiq and defeat of the oil nationalization movement damned him and his government in the eyes of Iranian nationalists. 

Mexico: Transition from Authoritarian to Democratic Rule

Map of Mexico

People and Land: As of July 2005 Mexico had around 106.2 million people of whom 60% are mestizo (half-Spanish, half-Indian in origin), 30% are Native American, 9% are white, and 1% “other.” The land mass of Mexico is a little less than three times the size of Texas.

History: Following the conquest of the Aztecs and other Indian groups by Cortez in 1519-1521 Mexico became part of the Spanish Empire in the Americas until its independence in 1810. Through war with the United States in the 1846-1848 it lost its possessions in much of what is today the western United States including California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Texas. Post war internal chaos and a large debt owed to French and other European creditors led to French intervention and occupation lasting until 1867. Following the restoration of independence Mexico became a dictatorship under Porfirio Diaz (1876-1910) under which modernization proceeded through concessions to foreign investors and in which political liberty and public participation were severely limited. Revolution in 1910-1920 leads to a populist government with socialistic and nationalistic ideals. Foreign owned properties and those of the Catholic Church were expropriated. A land reform program was initiated and foreign oil concession nationalized. Following 1940 the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) effectively acted as a one-party state. In the 1970s and 1980s the participation of non-PRI parties was allowed. With the conclusion of the NAFTA treaty in 1993-1994 Mexico in effect renounced its economic nationalism and protectionism in favor of a free trade regime. Inequities in the land reforms promised to Indians in Chiapas State and the fear that NAFTA would led to sales of Indian lands to private investors helped spark an uprising in Chiapas State which is as yet unresolved.

Economy: Mexico has a declining public industrial sector and is largely a free-market economy. Income distribution is very uneven and severe underemployment exists although government statistics boast an unemployment rate of 3.7% Since NAFTA was implemented in 1994 trade with the Untied States has doubled. Mexico’s GDP in 1997 was about $694 billion which is equivalent to roughly one-third the total of all of South America in the same year.

Political Culture: Described by Almond and Verba as characterized by high participant competence and low subject competence. While education and the Catholic Church are held in high respect Mexicans have historically had little trust in, or respect for, governmental institutions. Mexicans have expressed desire for increased popular participation in politics and for democratizing their political system but levels of tolerance for opposing political and social views is rather low compared to those in advanced industrialized economies. In short it is a much more "closed society" than one would expect of a democracy.

Executive: There is a unitary executive, a President elected by direct popular vote on ballots separate from those of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. Presidents may serve one six-year term.

The Presidency is the dominant institution in was often described as an "elective dictatorship," however, the limitation on the term of service of the President limits each elective dictatorship to six years. With every election scores of the cronies of the former President are swept into retirement or, in some cases, into prison.

Legislature: The Congreso de la Unión (Congress of the Union) has two chambers. The Cámara de Diputados (Chamber of Deputies) has 500 members, elected for a three year term, 300 members elected in single-seat constituencies and 200 members elected by proportional representation, 300 members in single-seat constituencies and 200 members by proportional representation. The Cámara de Senadores (Chamber of Senators) has 128 members, elected for a six year term in four seat constituencies, three seats going to the plurality winner and one to the first runner-up.

Judiciary: The federal judiciary is patterned after that of the United States with the power of judicial review reserved for the Supreme Court. In fact this court almost never exercises this power because of the requirement of a unanimous vote. Judges seldom challenge the President or government because they serve at the pleasure of the President and could be removed from office.

Mexico's courts follow a canon law rather than case law system of jurisprudence, i.e. exercises of judicial review by the Supreme Court do not establish precedents binding future court decisions or the decisions of lower courts. The Amparo is a special decree that grants injunctive relief from executive actions to individual plaintiffs on grounds of equity. Electoral System: Voting is compulsory for all citizens. As in Germany citizens vote 1) for the candidate of choice in their district and 2) for their favored party. Balloting in Presidential and state elections are separate from Congressional ballots. Four Senators are elected from each of the 31 federal states and four also from the Federal District. As Mexico has a federalist system there are also gubernatorial elections in which PRI has carried most races.

Political Parties: The dominant party from 1929 to 2000 had been the PRI, the "Institutional Revolutionary Party," which represents a mixture of socialist ideology blended with Mexican nationalism. The PAN (National Action Party) was the main opposition party advocating free market reforms and more democratic participation. It attained a parliamentary majority through an unlikely alliance with the Mexican “Green” Party from 2000-2003 but lost that majority in the 2003 Congressional elections when the Greens re-aligned themselves with the PRI Party. The FDN, "National Democratic Front" is the coalition of opposition parties to the left of PRI. Although there is a formal separation of powers under the current Mexican constitution due to the fact that all three branches of the government had been dominated by the PRI (which had manipulated elections in the period1920-1999 to maintain its power) in effect the government often really behaved more like a unitary government. The function of opposition parties appeared to be to allow critics of the government to blow off steam without actually challenging PRI's power and serves to legitimize PRI's dominance through maintaining the appearance of a multi-party system in which democratic competition takes place. As of July 2000 the PAN Party won the Presidential and Congressional elections in which international observers were permitted for the first time in national elections. However in 2003 the PAN Party lost its majority in the House of Deputies and PAN Presidetn Vicente Fox experienced a loss of seats to his own party in mid-term elections, a pattern also observed in many midterm Congressional elections in the Untied States, and he must now deal with the headaches of “divided government.” In short the system of separation of powers in the Mexican system is beginning to work more like its U.S. counter-part.

Interest Groups: The military, the Church, intellectuals, businessmen and unionized workers and campesinos constitute distinct interest groups in Mexico. Through corporatism many interest groups actually have entered into a formal relationship with the state (or, to be more precise, the PRI party) which subverts their capacity to operate as independent voices for their constituents. Through co-optation the PRI government in effect buys off those interest groups that do not have a direct formal relationship with the state.

Special Features: The Mexican state has often been described as "corporatist," that is, most groups which would ordinarily be private associations in the civil society of an advanced industrial democracy are actually tied to the state in some formal relationship. Unions, the PEMEX oil corporation, certain key banks, university faculties were often organized as extensions of the PRI party. The constitutional prohibition against re-election of the President means that there is considerable turnover in the personnel who make up the elites of each Mexican administration.

Another feature that goes hand-in-hand with corporatism is a policy of "co-optation" of non-state groups and individuals, e.g., although most Marxist intellectuals and professors openly oppose the ruling party or state their opposition usually does not pass a certain point due to their dependence on state grants and salaries for their incomes.

Another feature is that in Mexico the military is subordinate to the civilian-dominated government. Military officers abstain from participation in politics in a manner remarkably similar to the political neutrality of the U.S. Armed Forces officers corps. In most other Latin American countries the military often plays the role of a "praetorian" political force that would periodically take over the government by force whenever the officers' corps disapproved of government policy.

Mexico has an authoritarian system dressed in the trappings of a liberal democracy. If a democracy is a "political system in which political power is acquired and held by those who win a majority of the popular vote in freely contested and competitive elections" (J. A. Schumpeter) then Mexico is not to be considered a true democracy. In recent years, however, the PRI has relaxed its grip on elections to allow its share of seats in the Congress to reach a low of 51% in 1994. Many Mexicans earnestly seem to desire democracy but it remains to be seen whether PRI will ever voluntarily step down from power if it should lose a future election.

Beginning in Zedillo’s presidency and continuing during Fox’s presidency the Mexican government has been undertaking an extensive overhaul of its electoral system to make elections much more transparent and protected from the fraud and manipulation that characterized elections in most of the twentieth century.

Most Serious Issues of Development:

Transition to democracy without major social and economic upheaval. Inflationary pressures, underemployment, and demands of disenfranchised groups, such as the Indian peasants of Chiapas make the Mexican case a promising but problematic transitional state.

Exploring the Limits to Friendship through Candor and Dialogue:

A review of Limits to Friendship: The United States and Mexico , by Robert A. Pastor and Jorge G. Castenada (Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1988)

This joint work by Pastor and Castaneda is particularly welcome since it is an attempt to examine the problematic areas in U.S.-Mexican relations from both Mexican and U.S. perspectives. Since the two writers agreed not to try to seek an artificial unity of views beforehand, the results are uneven, sometimes looking more like a debate and at other times being much more complementary. In their final chapter, however, the two collaborate to reach a basic minimum of understanding between the two nations that they believe would be essential to achieve productive and cordial relation in the future.

If the book has one overarching theme it is the fact of the increasing economic integration of the two nations due to their physical proximity and in spite of their many cultural differences. Rather, as it becomes clear in the many separate discussions within the text, culture and national aspirations are increasingly being dictated by economic realities which themselves are behaving almost autonomously. The question then becomes, given the reality of the on-going economic integration of the United States and Mexico, can the leaders of both countries arrange matters so that this forced marriage can be a happy, or at least, a liveable one, or are both partners going to have to live together with non-stop bickering and fighting?

Castaneda reviews complaints that Mexicans have regarding the United States which revolve largely around fears of "intervention" and the asymmetry between both nations. The Mexicans find that minor bureaucratic decisions in the United States can entail major consequences for Mexico's economy, however they also impute a certain crafty cunning to the American officials with whom they must deal. Pastor, for his part, points out that the asymmetry makes Mexicans so sensitive to anything the United States says or does that even editorial criticism of Mexican policies by bush-league newspapers in the United States will lead to charges of United States meddling in Mexican affairs by Mexican Foreign Ministry officials. Pastor also points out that Mexican fears of United States manipulation has led them to adopt a "principle of non-reciprocity" in their official dealings with the United States This means that if Mexico undertakes some sacrifice to appease Washington on some point of contention, e.g. Mexico seeks out and destroys more marijuana fields, then the Mexican government expects its actions to be recognized and appreciated by Washington and to get some quid for pro in other areas of disagreement. However if the United States makes some concessions to Mexico then Mexico does not feel obliged to reciprocate equally since it would be demeaning to their sovereignty to be forced to concede some point in response. Also, given the sense of the asymmetry in their relationship with the United States, Mexicans can convince themselves that whatever Washington does for them is far too little while whatever Washington expects of them is far too much for them to bear.

The policy implication of this calculus of mutual antagonism is that, while it is inevitable that Mexico and the United States must cooperate across a wide range of issues, the mere necessity of this collaboration will not make it any easier. Indeed the Mexican resentment over their perceived loss of "self-determination" and over the perceived "intervention" by the United States will likely heighten the sense of antagonism in the relationship. What Mexicans fail to appreciate is that this forced relationship equally entails Mexican "interventions" in America affairs e.g. as when the city of Tijuana decides to send its raw sewage down the Tijuana River into San Diego Bay.

Among the "warts" that Alan Riding, the former New York Times bureau chief in Mexico City, had discussed were the questions of Mexico's role in the international narcotics trade and the problem of "undocumented laborers," better known as illegal immigrants. Since Pastor and Castaneda did a more thorough job and one that allows the Mexican side some opportunity for a self-defense, these issues can be more profitably discussed in this review.

Castaneda claims that many of the pressures and criticisms being directed at Mexico, by Americans concerned over Mexico's apparent indifference to the drug trade from its territory into the United States, have not taken into account the fact that the rise of cocaine consumption caught both Mexico and the United States unprepared. Yet while Mexico does not produce coca leaf it still shares a largely indefensible border with the United States that makes Mexico a natural route and point of entry for cocaine destined for the United States Castaneda points out that Mexico had devoted considerable resources to the detection and destruction of opium and marijuana fields in its territory in the decade preceding the cocaine-abuse explosion. Given the compactness of cocaine and the porous nature of Mexico's other borders and seacoasts, the introduction of cocaine-smuggling found the Mexican law enforcement officials without the right kinds of resources to act effectively. Castaneda's section on drugs makes for very confusing reading because he uses his discussion of the drug king-pins' money laundering in U.S. banks to digress to a discussion of the evils of the sacadolares (=”dollar-smugglers,” that is unpatriotic Mexicans who prefer to move their U.S. foreign currency back into U.S. banks and investments) and their baleful effect on the Mexican economy.

Pastor, for his part, points out that what had particularly incensed American public opinion was the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camerana, on February 7, 1985, and the false arrest and torture of DEA agent Victor Cortez, in August of 1986, by members of the Mexican national police and the foot-dragging of the Mexican government in seeking to answer American complaints over these abuses. Castaneda addressed these issues only to blame the United States for the corruption of the Mexican police indirectly by quoting Samuel del Villar, once chief drug enforcement adviser under President De La Madrid to the effect that the U.S. pressure on Mexican security officials to deal with the international drug trafficking problem led to their being corrupted and suborned in turn. Castaneda's treatment of the drug trafficking problem focuses less on Mexican responsibility for stopping trafficking activities occurring through its borders and within its territory and more on the United States for failing to control drug usage within its own borders.

Pastor points out that every drug or alcohol-abuse problem is both a supply and demand problem. No anti-drug program can be considered balanced and capable of much success that does not address both production and consumption. He stressed also that even if Mexico was not producing cocaine or its people consuming it, Mexico would still suffer terribly if it did not take more active measures to prevent the transport of cocaine through its territory since the corruption of its national police would entail other evils in Mexican civic life.

Regarding the issue of illegal immigration both Pastor and Castaneda share somewhat more agreement on the cause and nature of the "undocumented worker" phenomenon. In part, as Castaneda stresses, the use of cheap Mexican labor had been encouraged by the United States, especially during World War II, as a source of temporary labor. Mexico opposed the unregulated migration of its citizens north at that time and so Washington and Mexico agreed to the bracero program that essentially allowed the contracting out of Mexican labor in the United States When this agreement lapsed although the legal institutional framework for transferring excess labor north of the border had lapsed the supply of excess labor in Mexico remained high while the demand for it in the north also remained high. Pastor and Castaneda both agree that the phenomenon is also a manifestation of the uncontrolled economic integration of the two countries.

Pastor points out that an increase in illegal immigration was one of the unintended results of the maquiladoras programs started in the mid-1960s. In theory, U.S. firms would be allowed to run assembly plants in the northern Mexican states to use Mexican labor there in assembling U.S. components to be shipped back to the United States. This would exploit the best advantages that each country had to offer while providing employment opportunities south of the border that would, it was hoped, stem some of the tide of illegal immigrants. In reality the maquiladoras plants served more as stepping-stones and oases along the way facilitating the northward flow of immigrants who would work in these border-area factories for a time before pursuing even better wages north of the border. In short the very integration of the two economies creates supply-demand factors that ensure a supply of illegal immigrants.

In their jointly-authored conclusion, Pastor and Castaneda agree on certain proposals, without it being clear from the text which author sponsored which idea. This section therefore tends toward a vapid level of generality that, nonetheless, does not iron out every inconsistency. Among the proposals is one for Washington to preserve a special sensitivity for the effects of its policies on Mexico even if "all U.S. policies cannot be governed by its relationship with Mexico.” Another proposal is to seek a bilateral "package deal" accord between Mexico and the United States that would address several issues at once. I was perplexed by the logic behind this proposal: assuming it is difficult to negotiate over single items, like the U.S. domestic price for Mexican natural gas, how does it become easier to negotiate several such difficult items at once?

The other sets of proposals was for the United States to become more sensitive to Mexican needs in dealing with Mexico and for Mexico to become less demanding and insistent on its own viewpoint in dealing with the United States. A particular stress was laid upon Mexican reconsidering its "principle of non-reciprocity" in dealings with the United States. Pastor had noted earlier in this book that while,

“[t]here are more than twenty-two major centers for Latin American studies in the United States and almost one hundred smaller centers. In the last decade, centers specializing in Mexico or U.S.-Mexican relations have emerged in the Southwest and have expanded. In contrast, Mexico had one center that specialized in U.S. studies, and that was discontinued after a few years. It was supported by U.S. foundations and the Mexican government, but the latter withdrew support after the center asserted its independence. Two other institutions in Mexico are trying to establish U.S. study centers, but their efforts have just begun. (p. 88)”

Likewise he had noted that Mexico had yet to use its over forty consulates across the United States in order to inform itself more about American concerns and problems or to make Mexico's policies and concerns better understood by U.S. officials, businessmen and the general public. In short Mexico has yet to undertake sufficient efforts to help remove the antagonism between the two nations by looking outward from its preoccupation with its own concerns.

Suggested Readings:

Frank Brandenburg. The Making of Modern Mexico (Prentice Hall: New York 1964)

Abraham F. Lowenthal’s Partners in Conflict: The United States and Latin America (John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 1990)

Michael Novak. Will It Liberate?: Questions About Liberation Theology. (Madison Books; Reprint edition New York: 2000)

Robert A. Pastor and Jorge G. Castenada, Limits to Friendship: The United States and Mexico, (Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1988)

Overview of Latin America

1. Overview of Latin America

Formation of Nation-States - history, 

culture and political heritage

Formation of Political Systems

Recent and Current Politics including

impacts on economic and social 


2.Pitfalls of Democratic Transition

3.Mexico – Transitional State of Latin America

1. LATIN AMERICA - Historical Overview

Pre-Columbian Indian Civilizations of

Aztecs and Incas had created widespread 

Empires of subject Indian tribes and had 

a centralized and hierarchical fused traditional society. 

Formative Event in European History - The conclusion of the 

Reconquista of Spainrom the Arab Muslims with fall of Grenada 

in 1492. Now unemployed Spanish crusaders were sent off to 

New World with a lot of the ideological baggage of the late 

crusade against the non-Christians in Spain.

Spanish colonies recreated a form of feudalism 

and had a division of classes: peninsular Spaniards, 

Creoles, Mestizos, and Native Indians. 

Role of Catholic Church.

Conflict between colonials and government:

“I shall obey but not comply!” Exceptions.

Second Formative European Event: French Revolution and 

Napoleonic Conquests

Between 1808 and 1814 Spain and Portugal occupied by 

France. Creoles declared independence in New Grenada 

and La Plata viceroyalties leaving Mexico and Peru under 

Spanish control until 1821.

Portuguese court fled to Brazil and after the court returned 

to Portugal Crown Prince Dom Pedro remained in Brazil and 

upon the death of his father declared Brazilian independence 

under his rule rather than return to Portugal to assume 

kingship there.

Since independence most nations adopted modified versions 

of the U.S. Presidential-Congressional system but first fifty 

years marked by chronic instability, periodic military takeovers, 

and definition of nation-state boundaries. Attempts of 

federalism in Central America and New Grenada failed.

Praetorian military systems became a quasi-constitutional 

feature of the political systems of many of these nations.

Norms of the rule of law and of toleration of dissent very low . . .

Cliché: “I shall comply but not obey!”

Formation of Political Systems:

Impact of Feudalism: Mexico, Peru, and Argentina 

(inter alia) witnessed development of latifundia system 

(latifundia=large plantations or farms with tenant farmers). 

Catholic Church also had its lands and a monopoly on religion and 

education. Several nations witnessed rise of opposing “Liberal” 

and “Conservative” parties which led to civil wars as late as 1960s.

1870s to 1900s - stable authoritarian regimes, boom-bust 

cycles of single resource-based economies, extensive 

foreign investments.

1920s-1930s - economic turmoil and development of strong 

nationalist/populist parties - World War II boosted economies 

and restored some stability.

1960s-1980s - Following Cuban Revolution a series of military 

takeovers occurred and “Bureaucratic-Authoritarian” state 

systems predominated.

Post-1974: Over next two decades most of the military 

regimes transitioned to democratic regimes under civilian rule. 

Other dramatic changes occurred:

At the 1967 Punta Del Este Summit of the Americas Conference 

held in Uruguay only 18 nations attended. 10 were headed by 

military dictators. The U.S.-written agenda focused on 

Foreign Aid for Development and Government-to-government 


But at the same conference held in December 1994, Miami 

34 nations attended, all with democratically- elected leaders 

and their agenda, written by conferees, focused on trade 

and investment.

Projected growth rates in Western Hemi-sphere have been 

4 to 8 percent per year - which were outstripping the Asian "tigers"

Leaders of current Latin American regimes have achieved

growth in three ways:

1. Economic Reforms

- shift from state-enterprises to 


- abandonment of protectionism in 

favor of free trade agreements e.g. NAFTA, 

MERCOSUR, and Central American Common Market

2. Political Reforms

-competitive party systems in place

-more open press freedom and criticism

-more transparent election processes

3. Legal and Judicial Reform

-reduction of canon law restrictions and centralization 

-ways to reduce official bribery being 

instituted e.g. Mexico's new laws 

regarding petitions to regulators

-New Ministry of Police Affairs to remove police from Interior 

Ministry corruption


Large gaps in income differences remain and large numbers 

(= over 50%) of the people remain in extreme poverty.

Many nations still have significant debt problems 

A number of nations have significant insurgency 

problems that detract from evelopment agenda; 

Mexico and the Zapatistas; Colombia and leftist rebels and 

narco-barons; and until recently Peru and the Tupac Amaru 

and Sendero Luminoso groups.

Brazil: Brazil's gross domestic product of $886 billion in 1997 

represented a little under one-half (47%) of the total of all of 

Latin America ($1,865 billion). 

NationGDP 1997 ($U.S. GDP 2004 ($U.S. 

Billions) Billions)

Argentina 271.0 483.5

Bolivia 18.3 22.3

Brazil 886.0 1,492.0

Chile 98.0 169.1

Colombia 172.0 281.0

Ecuador 41.1 49.5

Guyana 1.4 2.9

Mexico 694.0 1,006.0

Paraguay 15.4 29.9

Peru 73.6 155.3

Suriname 1.2 1.9

Uruguay 23.0 49.3

Venezuela 178.0 145.2

The Rocky Years of 1998 – 2005

While many Latin American countries had experienced 

tremendous growth (e.g. Brazil was the 7th largest economy 

in 2014 and accounted for 30 percent of Latin America’s 

economy) the region was highly vulnerable


Title: Models Of Development: Overview Of Central And South America
Length: 1 pages (327 Words)
Style: APA


Models of Development: Overview of Central and South America

History and Culture

 Most of the South American nations resemble the United States regarding historical events and cultural heritage. Besides, many of the Latin American nations came into existence due to European expansion. In fact, the cultural and political foundations are mostly European dominated and slightly influenced by the United States. As a result, many of the Latin countries have their citizens speaking Spanish and Portuguese. More so, slave trade led to cultural assimilation by the Caribbean countries from the United States of America.


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