Problems of Latin American Democracy as Interpreted by Researchers

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-3-101-109

L. D'yakova, Institute of Latin American Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ILA RAN), 21/16, Bolshaya Ordynka Str., Moscow, 115035, Russian Federation (

Abstract. The article deals with problems of the modern Latin American democracy in the context of various research methods, factors of stability and proneness to conflict, as well as new challenges for democracy set by the developing modern society. The author analyzes the leading experts' opinions in the field – mainly Spanish and Latin American researchers involved in modern social and political problems. Much attention is given to: political development issues in the region; transformation of the political parties' and civil society's role in response to consolidation of Latin American democracies; the youth activity as a new political phenomena; the increase of social protests, and the phenomenon of exaggerated social expectations. The important role of the social policy in stabilization of the political situation in the region, as well as in a successful democratic consolidation process is noted. Almost all countries of the region used the period of economic prosperity and growth (2003–2013) to develop and implement a targeted social policy aimed at the social sphere development, employment growth, and the improvement of education and public health systems. But the majority of successful social projects were devoted mainly to solving the most daunting and morbid problem of the Latin American society – poverty, which has been significantly lowered. Thus, the state targeted social policy played a significant role in shaping a positive attitude towards democracy. However, even over a ten-year period of economic growth, a state was unable to solve all problems accumulated. These challenges have been left unattended. It poses a serious threat to political stability. It is noted that the assessment of the democratic development prospects in the leading countries is closely related to social pessimism, which has been spreading among different classes of the Latin American society in recent years, and is associated not only with the worsening economic situation, but also with the growing disappointment in possibilities of democracy itself. Ineffective public administration, bureaucratization of state agencies and corruption cause irritation and discontent among the population. At the same time, along with criticism and emphasis on the subject of “disappointment” in politics, the commanding view among researchers is that the liberal democracy must be defended despite all its drawbacks and weaknesses, as the challenges for democracy set by the modern developing society, however serious they may be, are merely the tests of its prospects and possibilities, and not the evidence of its inconsistency. 

Keywords: democracy, stability, conflicts, social policy, social protest 

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For citation:
Dyakova L. Problems of Latin American Democracy as Interpreted by Researchers. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 101-109.

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