First published: May 1990
The return of the ballot box in several key Latin American countries (a rarity in the last ten years) has been hailed as the return of democracy in the continent.
This is less than half the truth. While some of the most vicious dictatorships have gone, in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, and others have either been severely weakened or thrown into total disarray as in Paraguay and Haiti, this ‘democratic’ wave has not touched the decisive countries in Central America such as Guatemala and El Salvador, and the policies of the new civilian governments are determined by strict limitations imposed by the outgoing military and the utterly capitulating character of the parties coming to office. Besides, the ‘democracy’ that has been introduced is severely faulty, to put it mildly.