Latin American Politics and Society

Latin American Politics & Society
Volume 48, Number 3, Fall 2006



    Goldfrank, Benjamin.
    Schneider, Aaron.
  • Competitive Institution Building: The PT and Participatory Budgeting in Rio Grande do Sul
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    Subject Headings:
    • Budget -- Brazil -- Rio Grande do Sul -- Citizen participation.
    • Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) -- Appropriations and expenditures.
    • Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) -- Politics and government.
    • Institution building.
      In the late 1990s, the Workers' Party (PT) government of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul introduced participatory budgeting, a process in which citizens establish annual investment priorities in public assemblies. This innovation was one of several attempts by incumbent parties to structure political conflict using budget institutions. The character of participatory budgeting is most evident in its policymaking processes and policy outcomes. The process circumvented legislative arenas where opponents held a majority, privileged participation by the PT's voter base, and reached into opposition strongholds. The outcomes favored the interests of potential supporters among poor and middle-class voters. The political project proved vulnerable to its own raised expectations: it failed to sustain the image of clean government; brought tax increases along with fiscal insecurity; and left unfulfilled the participants' expectations for targeted investments. This article highlights the role of participatory budgeting, indeed all budgeting, in partisan actors' institutional choices.
    Beer, Caroline C., 1972-
  • Judicial Performance and the Rule of Law in the Mexican States
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    Subject Headings:
    • Justice, Administration of -- Mexico -- States -- Evaluation.
    • Judicial independence -- Mexico -- States -- Evaluation.
    • Courts -- Mexico -- States -- Evaluation.
      What determines how judicial institutions perform? Prominent theoretical approaches, such as international political economy, institutional rational choice, social capital, and structural theories, suggest that international economic actors, political competition, political participation, and poverty may all be important forces driving institutional behavior. This study analyzes these various theoretical approaches and uses qualitative and statistical analysis to compare judicial performance in the Mexican states. It provides evidence to support the institutional rational choice hypothesis that political competition generates judicial independence. Poverty, political participation, and an export-oriented economy seem to influence judicial access and effectiveness.
    Negretto, Gabriel L.
  • Minority Presidents and Democratic Performance in Latin America
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    Subject Headings:
    • Presidents -- Latin America.
    • Executive power -- Latin America.
    • Executive-legislative relations -- Latin America.
    • Latin America -- Politics and government -- 1980-
      A widely accepted argument among scholars of Latin American presidential regimes is that interbranch cooperation is impaired when the president's party falls short of a majority of seats in the legislature. This argument fails to consider three factors that affect the performance of minority presidents: the policy position of the president's party, the president's capacity to sustain a veto, and the legislative status of the parties included in the cabinet. This article argues that the greatest potential for conflict in a presidential regime occurs when the president's party lacks the support of both the median and the veto legislator and no cabinet coalition holding a majority of legislative seats is formed. This hypothesis is supported using data on executive-legislative conflicts and on interrupted presidencies in Latin America during the period 1978–2003.
    Levitt, Barry Steven.
  • A Desultory Defense of Democracy: OAS Resolution 1080 and the Inter-American Democratic Charter
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    Subject Headings:
    • Organization of American States.
    • Democracy -- America.
    • Democracy -- International cooperation.
    • International organization.
      This article evaluates the effectiveness of OAS mechanisms for safeguarding democracy through multilateral diplomacy, what some scholars have dubbed the interamerican defense of democracy regime. Drawing on a range of international relations theories, this study derives competing hypotheses about member states' responses to democratic crises in the Americas. It then analyzes all instances in which a collective response—that is, an application of Resolution 1080 or the Inter-American Democratic Charter—was debated in the OAS between 1991 and 2002. Patterns of state behavior suggest that domestic politics, rather than the structural or systemic traits of the interamerican system, best explain foreign policy responses to crises of democracy in the region. The OAS record in confronting such crises is uneven.
    Alemán, Eduardo, 1969-
  • Policy Gatekeepers in Latin American Legislatures
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    Subject Headings:
    • Legislative bodies -- Latin America -- Leadership.
    • Parliamentary practice -- Latin America.
    • Legislative calendars -- Latin America.
    • Latin America -- Politics and government -- 1980-
      Legislators who control the congressional agenda have a significant advantage over the membership at large. Policy gatekeepers can restrict change to outcomes they prefer over the status quo and can use this prerogative to keep a legislative party or coalition unified. This article examines agenda-setting rules in 26 Latin American chambers, shows why the institutional structure is theoretically relevant, and reveals some implications for policymaking with evidence from Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. Majority leaders in the Argentine and Chilean lower chambers have successfully blocked passage of legislation opposed by most of their fellow partisans despite the lack of codified gatekeeping rights. Since 1997, none of the major Mexican parties has benefited from the gatekeeping rights established in the rules. Instead, the benefits have come from the parties' advantageous position with respect to the other parties on the steering committee setting the plenary agenda.
    Holmes, Jennifer S.
    Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, Sheila.
    Curtin, Kevin M.
  • Drugs, Violence, and Development in Colombia: A Department-Level Analysis
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cocaine industry -- Social aspects -- Colombia.
    • Drug control -- Social aspects -- Colombia.
    • Political violence -- Columbia.
    • Colombia -- Economic conditions -- 1970-
      Observers say that drug production fuels violence in Colombia, but does coca production explain different levels of violence? This article examines the relationship between coca production and guerrilla violence by reviewing national-level data over time and studying Colombia by department, exploring the interactions among guerrilla violence, exports, development, and displacement. It uses historical analysis, cartographic visualization, and analysis of the trends in four high coca-producing and four violent Colombian departments, along with a department-level fixed effects model. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the department-level analysis suggests that coca production is not the driving force of contemporary Colombian guerrilla violence. Instead, economic factors and coca eradication emerge as prominent explanatory factors.

Critical Debates

    Serbin, Ken.
  • Memory and Method in the Emerging Historiography of Latin America's Authoritarian Era
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    Subject Headings:
    • Costa, Caio Túlio. Cale-se: a saga de Vannucchi Leme, a USP como aldeia gaulesa, o show proibido de Gilberto Gil.
    • Dinges, John, 1941- Condor years: how Pinochet and his allies brought terrorism to three continents.
    • Feld, Claudia. Del estrado a la pantalla: las imágenes del juicio a los ex comandantes en Argentina.
    • Fernandes Júnior, Ottoni. Baú do guerrilheiro: memórias da luta armada urbana no Brasil.
    • Gaspari, Elio. Ditadura envergonhada.
    • Gaspari, Elio. Ditadura escancarada.
    • Gaspari, Elio. Ditadura derrotada.
    • Gaspari, Elio. Ditadura encurralada.
    • Huggins, Martha Knisely, 1944- Violence workers: police torturers and murderers reconstruct Brazilian atrocities.
    • Haritos-Fatouros, Mika, 1930-
    • Zimbardo, Philip G.
    • Jelin, Elizabeth, 1941- Trabajos de la memoria.
    • Leme, Alexandre Vannucchi -- Death and burial.
    • Chile -- Politics and government -- 1973-1988.

Book Reviews

    McConnell, Shelley A.
  • The Financing of Politics: Latin American and European Perspectives (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Malamud, Carlos, ed. Financing of politics: Latin American and European perspectives.
    • Posada-Carbó, Eduardo, ed.
    • Campaign funds -- Europe.
    Wise, Carol.
  • Learning from Foreign Models: Latin American Policy Reform (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Weyland, Kurt Gerhard, ed. Learning from foreign models in Latin American policy reform.
    • Latin America -- Social policy -- Case studies -- Congresses.
    Falleti, Tulia Gabriela.
  • Decentralizing the State: Elections, Parties, and Local Power in the Andes (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • O'Neill, Kathleen, 1970- Decentralizing the State: elections, parties, and local power in the Andes.
    • Decentralization in government -- Andes Region.
    McNulty, Stephanie.
  • Fujimori's Coup and the Breakdown of Democracy in Latin America (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kenney, Charles (Charles Dennison) Fujimori's coup and the breakdown of democracy in Latin America.
    • Peru -- Politics and government -- 1980-

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