Demanding Democracy: Reform and Reaction in Costa Rica and by Deborah Yashar

By Deborah Yashar

This e-book examines the origins of democracy and authoritarianism utilizing a singular coalitional method of research questions: What are the stipulations below which actors discovered democracy? What are the stipulations conducive to its patience? The e-book explores those questions through reading the circumstances of Costa Rica and Guatemala. Costa Rica is the longest-standing and arguably the main good democracy in Latin the United States, whereas Guatemala has one of the longest and so much brutal files of authoritarian rule in Latin America

The author's clean reinterpretation of those situations demonstrates that sooner than the 1950's, the 2 nations greatly comparable styles of political swap and improvement, together with seven a long time of Liberal authoritarian rule starting within the 1870's, just below a decade of democratic reforms within the 1940's, and short yet consequential counterreform activities that overthrew the democratic regimes at mid-twentieth century. Why did Costa Rica emerge with a permanent political democracy and Guatemala with authoritarian rule following those greatly related historic trajectories? Demanding Democracy argues that the democratizing coalition's luck in Costa Rica and its failure in Guatemala rested upon its means to redistribute elite estate early on and to workout potent political keep an eye on of the countryside.

The book's particular theoretical strategy integrates an research of the stipulations fostering democracy with these conducive to its persistence. In doing so, it bridges arguments that concentrate on democratic transitions and those who specialize in their consolidation. additionally, it strikes past debates in regards to the function of constitution and service provider in those techniques by way of concentrating on the interaction among old associations that want authoritarian rule and the political coalitions that paintings to remake these associations in methods consonant with democracy.

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Extra resources for Demanding Democracy: Reform and Reaction in Costa Rica and Guatemala, 1870s-1950s

Sample text

Liberals argued against communally held lands and claimed that the privatization of property would promote efficiency and agricultural development (McCreery 1994:51 ). Decree 170 led to the titling of much of the previously untitled, communal lands held in censo. Although the decree formally offered tenants the ability to buy the land they had been cultivating, the interest rates were too onerous for most indigenous cultivators. The decree, therefore, enabled the privatization and concentration of lands.

Throughout this period, the state inhibited the growth of popular organizations or civic organizations and, in the 1930s, actively repressed any attempts at popular or elite organizing, demonstrating the increased autonomy of the state from the elite itself. By contrast, the Costa Rican coffee elite became more economically independent from the state and played a more direct role in national politics. It formed nascent, if ephemeral, political parties and chambers during the Liberal period. Throughout this period, middle and popular sectors created civic associations-which were repressed much less frequently than their counterparts in Guatemala.

The smallholders, in turn, depended on the large coffee producers to sell and process their crop. Smallholders also became increasingly dependent on the large coffee and financial elites for cash or credit advances. Commercial capitalists advanced credit to coffeeproducing smallholders in installments before and during the growing season and at the sale of the harvest. This financial relationship enabled creditors to transfer losses to smallholders, who generally bore the costs of a poor market.

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