This balanced, clear study explores why democracy in Latin America is so troubled and why U.S. policy in the area so often goes astray. Howard Wiarda argues that because Latin America was built on a different basis than the United States and has a different history, political culture, and social foundation, it cannot possibly imitate the U.S. model of democracy. Indeed, U.S. policy in Latin America goes astray not just through neglect but through misunderstanding. Ultimately, the author argues, it is only with a renewed and respectful U.S. policy approach-one that includes engaging with the myriad histories and cultures of the region-can the United States hope to encourage a strong and effective democratic tradition there.
Howard J. Wiarda is Dean Rusk Professor of International Relations and head of the Department of International Affairs at the University of Georgia. He is also Senior Scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.
Chapter 1 Introduction: Democracy Ascendant? Part 2 Part I: Overviews and Interpretations Chapter 3 Latin America in Comparative Perspective Chapter 4 Three Paradigms for Interpreting Latin America Chapter 5 Civil Society in Latin America Chapter 6 Human Rights in Latin America Part 7 Part II: Country and Regional Cases Chapter 8 The Dilemmas of Democracy in the Dominican Republic: A Paradigm for All of Latin America? Chapter 9 Venezuela and Argentina: Development and Disintegration Chapter 10 Cuba and Marxism-Leninism Chapter 11 Democracy and U.S. Policy in the Caribbean Basin Part 12 Part III: Policy Implications Chapter 13 Reassessing U.S. Policy in Latin America Chapter 14 Neoliberalism and Its Problems Chapter 15 Transitions to Democracy-or Something Less Than That? Chapter 16 Conclusion: Democracy and Its Uncertain Future Chapter 17 Suggested Readings