VOL. 5, NO. 1, PGS. 17–23


Democracy in Weak States
The Situation in Latin America and Mexico in Particular
Alberto Arellano Ríos

Alberto Arellano Ríos is a Professor-Researcher at El Colegio de Jalisco. He is also coordinator of Jalisco en su transición política.

This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy.

In the study of the political processes that have taken place in Latin America there are, analytically speaking, two main strands, at least since the 1990s. On the one hand, a classical theory was established to understand political change. On the other, a variety of analytical frameworks have recently emerged to try to understand the state of democracy in the region. In the first group are authors such as Samuel Huntington, Guillermo O’Donnell, Philippe Schmitter, Juan Linz and Leonardo Morlino. In the second, and from the field of political science, are authors such as Leonardo Morlino himself, with his concept of a hybrid regime1 , Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way, with their notion of competitive authoritarianism2 , and Andreas Schedler, with his approach based on the idea of electoral authoritarianism3.

Maxwell Cameron has identified four historical phases of political transition in Latin America from the 1980s to the present. The first corresponds to transitions from authoritarian to formally democratic rule. The second is the consolidation of democracy. The third is the improvement in the quality and diversity of democracy. And fourth, the emergence of hybrid regimes4. In the present situation, and all things being possible, the region has closed the door to military dictatorships. Democracies have been forming, in which power is formally acceded to by popular vote, although the governments that emanate from them manifest authoritarian practices, which is a problem. This problem of the state of democracy in the region has kept the academic community busy trying to understand its dimensions and characteristics.

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