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Latin America - the struggle for democracy

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Tony Litherland

on 27 October 2013

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Transcript of Latin America - the struggle for democracy

Latin America - the struggle for democracy
1820's tp 1930
Elite control, constitutionalism, caudillos
what is autocracy? Mexico 1823, 1862, 1867, revolution
One elite vs another elite with no movement towards demcoracy
Agriculture elites fought Export elites and all of them exluded the middle class. Contrast this scenario to the 13 colonies.

Democracy was highjacked for the benefit of the few at the top ......

1930 to 1982
State led development
The reality of economic developement was state control of modernization. This fact was often obscured or buried under neath the constant bickering between bullets and ballots.

ISI - Import substitution Industrialization -- trying to grow local industry and thus reduce the negatives of importing everything. Argentina, Ford Falcon cars

Urban dwellers received benefits so as to forestall union disruptions. The Elites used the welfare state to purchase compliance; pacifying the angry mobs. On the surface, it appears good but it does nothing to build lower class capacities.

1982 to 2008
Export led small state development
free the market to attract private investments
control the supply of money (stop inflation)
cutting wages
increased interest rates
devalue the currency
greatly reduce union powers
The STATE was to be apolitical and stop working towards any additional democratic steps

The struggle for democracy is the struggle for stability and consistency
Brutality of the colonial era, the struggle for consolidation was often brutal, the emerging democracy, autocracy of the 1930's and 1940's, restoration of democratic norms, the new brutality of the neo-socialist systems modeled after PRC (capitalism under socialist controls).
If a country grows its economy but only the top 25% gain any net worth, what can you predict?
The charade of the welfare state did nothing to help people.

The end came when interest rates skyrocketed and nations began to default on payments on their international debt.
The Results was 10 years of economic shrinkage
Local economy integrated into the global economy
Bahia Blanca, Disco replaced by Wal-Mart
MNC buy up telephone service and fire people
WTO has become like a supra -constitution that limits the people's right to control their own economy
The STATE is unable to prove or take vigorous steps, etc.
Makes inequality worse (my friend who can travel anywhere to follow world cup soccer)
"No one in Argentina owns anything" hence support for socialism has skyrocketed - Spanairds own the airlines, Americans own the oil, and the French own the telephones
huge increase in debt

failure to improve the common man's plight
1. nothing is permanent (one of the hardest things to understand) all things political are always in FLUX
2. Patterns are everywhere
a. Elite rule written into constitutions
b. minimalize democratic participation
c. keep the state weak and
d. a preferance for or at least accept strong leaders
3. Embedded in the organizational structure are political cultural tolerance of: exclusion, exploitation, clientelism, patrimonialism, and crony capitialism
4. neo-liberalism was adopted to help the elies not to create deeper democracy: the inequality of wealth was not tackled and then on top of that cut welfare to shreds
5. The pink tide acknowledges the injustice and yet the reforms adopted do not rearrange the structural inequalities.

The End
Is there a rainbow in the future?
1977 to present Democratizing Latin America
1999 - the rise of the pink tide
You cannot claim to be a Christian and then act like the devil: you cannot claim to be a democracy and then embed authoritariansim everywhere you turn. At some point you really have to practice democracy for all
Ascunsion, Paraguay - bull dozers ripping up slums so they can build a new modern riverfront for hotels, casinos, five fork resturants , and luxury apartments.
Illiberal democracy
There are free elections and widespred participation but no civil liberties; The consequence is that there are no limits on government and no protection from abuses

NEO-liberalism raises expectations but does not create the necessary government to make it happen
The weak state lacks autonomy from the elites that is needed to make dramatic changes
limited reforms is a tactical move to absorb protests with no real intent to reform

Re-invent an ethos or morality
The market cannot solve all of the problems

Inceased the state and power to get things done that the elites do not like
It is too early to tell how these reformers will turn out.
Neoliberal w/ minimal democracy
ISI strengthened the alliance between the owners and the elies, and obsorbed complaints
THis is direct contradition with modernization theory: Once people become wealthier (X), they demand political control over their lives. (Similar to the warrior classes demanding the right to vote)
There is no correlation: economic development does not force a regime change
War preparation has not caused regime change
Groups that resisted military abuses have seldom formed enough partnership to force regime change.
ELITE PACTS is the best explanation as to why there is more deomcracy

There is a stubborn belief that reforms can move a country towards deep democracy
Hugo Chavez 1999 - 2012 Venezuela
Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva 2002 - 2011 Brazil
Alejandro Toledo 2001 -2006 in Peru
Nestor and Cristina Kirchner 2003 - present in Argentina
Evo Morales 2006 -2010 in Bolivia
Daniel Ortega 2006 to present -- Nicargua
Fernando Lugo 2008 to 2013 in Paraguay (coup)
Mauricio Funes 2009 to preent in El Salvador
Michelle Bachelet 2006 to 2010 in Chile (Socialist Party)

da Silva
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