Where we stand, and what is the problem – a summary
Over the last decades of the twentieth century the western hemisphere witnessed important advances in representative democracy and individual freedom. The forces for freedom have revelled in the collapse of the dictatorships of the past; working hard to see them transformed into representative democracies that are increasingly stable, inclusive, and respectful of rule of law and the basic rights of their people. The Southern Cone; Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile, for instance, have shed their military dictatorships for democracies – replacing Generals for civilian leaders freely elected by their people through periodic, representative elections.
In the Andes, the political chaos that plagued the mountain nations for so many years has calmed – assuring that elected presidents can at a minimum complete their constitutional mandates. In Central America the violence emanating from the un-ending civil wars has given way to a tenuous peace.
Tragically, the democratic status quo in the Americas has not been preserved. The region is again being menaced by two important forces that threaten the democratic stability and well being of the citizens of the hemisphere: the emergence of a reactionary bloc of states that seek to upend the recent democratic transformation and the rising influence of non-state actors like FARC that threaten to plunge the region into chaos. If these two forces are not successfully counteracted, decades of progress on political and civil rights will be lost. Read More…