Democracy and Human Rights in Latin America

by Richard S. Hillman, ed., John A. Peeler, ed., Elsa Cardozo a Silva, ed.


The complexity of democratic transitions in Latin America and the importance of how human rights and democracy are linked is evaluated by top scholars.

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November 2001


Pages 240
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/Comparative Politics
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Questions about democracy and human rights have emerged in the advent of the 21st century, a time in which the prospects for progress in these areas have never been greater. This book is designed to respond to some of these questions with reference to Latin America, where democratic regimes have alternated with authoritarian governments and the human rights record is inconsistent at best. Taken together, these essays reveal the complexity of democratic transitions, the importance of support for human rights, and the way in which democracy and human rights are linked in Latin America.

The first part of the book includes chapters that cast a critical eye on democracy and human rights trends in Chile, Venezuela, Columbia, and Brazil. Part two gauges the impact and prospects of foreign initiatives promoting democracy and human rights in the region, focusing especially on those efforts made by the United States in Haiti and Cuba. Each chapter reaffirms the essential linkages between procedural democracy and substantive human rights, and argues that states with authoritarian pasts must reorient their political cultures, and that these initiatives must come from both domestic and international agents. Students and scholars interested in the problems and prospects inherent in democratic transitions in contemporary Latin America will find this collection enlightening.

Table of Contents

PrefaceCritical Perspectives on Democracy and Human RightsIntroduction by Richard S. Hillman, John A. Peeler, and Elsa Cardozo Da SilvaPreserving Memory: The Past and the Human Rights Movement in Chile by Louis N. BickfordVenezuela and Colombia: Governability as the Social Construction of Democracy by Elsa Cardozo Da SilvaCitizenship and Human Rights Policy in Brazil by Isabel Ribeiro de OliveiraThe United States and the International Promotion of DemocracyPloughing the Sea? International Defense on the Age of Illiberal Democracy by Christopher SabatiniU.S. Policy for the Promotion of Democracy: The Venezuelan Case by María Teresa RomeroDemocracy and International Military Intervention: The Case of Haiti by Irwin P. StotzkyRe-Thinking U.S. Policy Toward Fidel Castro: Can Implementation of "Best Business Proctices" Better Promote Political and Economic Liberalization in Cuba? by Edward DrachmanConclusion by Richard S. Hillman, John A. Peeler, and Elsa Cardozo Da SilvaIndex



This important work examines the obstacles confronting Latin American countries in pursuing the goals of democracy and human rights, with a focus on Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, and US policy toward Latin America. The writers in this edited collection note that the military is no longer the main threat to democratic government, replaced today by weak economies, corruption, crime, voter apathy, and the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor. When the masses see democratic government as a facade for rule by a privileged elite, they are ready to accept autocratic leaders who appear capable of solving socioeconomic problems. In their focus on US policy toward Latin America and the collective security apparatus of the Organization of American States, the writers--who are collectively committed to the promotion of democracy and human rights--bemoan the timidness in addressing the undermining of democracy and human rights under democratically elected governments. In the unique example of Cuba and the Castro regime, the suggestion is to end the US trade embargo and to convince private business to attach human rights conditions to investment in Cuba. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above.—Choice

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