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POLSC324: Latin American/Caribbean Politics

Unit 3: Democratization   After enduring decades of dictatorships marred by political violence, human rights abuses and widespread political violence and revolutions, beginning in the mid-1970s, Latin America experienced a wave of democratization.  By the 1990s, almost all the countries of the region had democratically elected regimes and were continuing the process of consolidating and deepening their democratic reforms.  These transitions focused on building institutions that would encourage political participation and encourage the protection of fundamental citizen rights.  The first part of this unit will look at some indicators of democracy, to provide an overview of just how democratic the countries of the region have become.  Next, there is a set of readings that focus on key institutions such as presidencies, legislatures, and political parties and how the creation of these institutions has led to increased citizen participation and governmental accountability. Afterwards, special attention will be given to the role of women in the democratization process.  In recent years, Latin America has had several female presidents, more representation in elected offices, and a more influential role at the grassroots level—all of which point to a possible lessening of the traditional machismo culture that has long characterized the region. 

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 15.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.2: 10 hours ☐    Sub-subunit 3.2.1: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 3.2.2: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 3.2.3: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 3.2.4: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 3.2.5: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3: 4.5 hours ☐    Sub-subunit 3.3.1: 3.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 3.3.2: 1 hour

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Identify key indicators of democracy among the major countries of Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. - Explain the importance of institutions that encourage participation, including elections and political parties. - Identify differences among countries in the balance of institutional power among executive, legislative, and judicial branches. - Describe the role and impact of women’s participation in the political processes of Latin America’s major democracies.

3.1 Indicators of Democracy in Latin America   - Reading: Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance’s “2011 Latinobarometro” Link: Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance’s “2011 Latinobarometro” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this summary of the latest Latinobarometro
survey on Latin American public opinion and satisfaction with
democracy in the region.  Then, take notes and answer the following
questions:  

 1. Generally speaking, are Latin Americans more satisfied or less
satisfied than the previous survey?  
 2. Which country has the highest satisfaction with democracy, and
which country has the lowest satisfaction?  
 3. What are some major sources of dissatisfaction?  
 This reading and the questions should take about 1 hour to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above. 

3.2 Institution-building and Democracy   3.2.1 Role of the State and Politics in Latin American Development   - Reading: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: J. Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank: “Chapter 1: The Role of the State and Politics in Latin American Development” Link: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: J. Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank:Chapter 1: The Role of the State and Politics in Latin American Development” (PDF)
 
Instructions: The readings for sub-subunits 3.2.1 through 3.2.5 rely on various chapters from a single source, Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank.  You will need to click the “Full PDF” icon to download the book as a PDF file; this resource will be used throughout Unit 3, so it may be beneficial to save the PDF file to your computer for easy access to the material.  To cover the role of the state and politics in Latin America, please read Chapter 1, pages 1-14.  As you read this chapter, take notes and answer the following questions:

 1. Explain what is meant by “the price of the democratic
deficit.”  
 2. Democratization means more than holding free and fair elections
(which are largely in place throughout the region).  What other
changes are still needed to deepen the democratization process?  
 3. What kinds of economic problems threaten the process of
democratization?  
 4. What kinds of institutional reforms are still needed in many
countries?  
    
 This reading and the questions should take about 2 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. 

3.2.2 Balance of Powers: Executive vs. Legislatures   - Reading: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: J. Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank: “Chapter 4: Balance of Powers: Executives vs. Legislatures” Link: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: J. Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank:Chapter 4: Balance of Powers: Executives vs. Legislatures” (PDF)
 
Instructions: If you have not already done so, please download the PDF file of the complete textbook by clicking on “Full PDF” on the webpage linked above.  This textbook will be used throughout Unit 3, so you may want to save a copy to your desktop.  In considering the balance of executive and legislative powers in Latin America, please read Chapter 4, pages 81-116.  As you read this chapter, take notes and answer the following questions:

 1. What are the three main concerns about presidentialism and its
negative effects on the institutional balance of power in Latin
American democracies?  
 2. What are the advantages of presidentialism?  
 3. What are some of the legislative powers of presidents?  
 4. What are some of the non-legislative powers of presidents?  
 5. Look at Table 4.1 on p. 96.  In which country does the president
have the strongest legislative power?  In which country does the
president have the weakest legislative power?  
 6. Why does partisan fragmentation hurt democratic governability?  
    
 This reading and the questions should take about 2 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. 

3.2.3 Role of Political Parties   - Reading: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: J. Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank: “Chapter 6: Role of Political Parties” Link: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: J. Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank:Chapter 6: Role of Political Parties” (PDF)
 
Instructions: If you have not already done so, please download the PDF file of the complete textbook by clicking on “Full PDF” on the webpage linked above.  This textbook will be used throughout Unit 3, so you may want to save a copy to your desktop.  In considering the role of political parties in Latin America, please read Chapter 6, pages 149-168.  As you read the chapter, please take notes and answer the following questions:

 1. Do most Latin American have a majoritarian or pluralistic party
system?  
 2. What are some of the weaknesses of the party systems in Latin
America?  
    
 This reading and the questions should take about 2 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above. 

3.2.4 Elections and Citizen Participation   - Reading: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: J. Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank: “Chapter 9: Role of Political Parties” Link: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: J. Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank:Chapter 9: Elections and Citizen Participation” (PDF)
 
Instructions: If you have not already done so, please download the PDF file of the complete textbook by clicking on “Full PDF” on the webpage linked above.  This textbook will be used throughout Unit 3, so you may want to save a copy to your desktop.  In considering elections and citizen participation in Latin America, please read Chapter 9, pages 241-270.  As you read the chapter, please take notes and answer the following question:

 1. Has electoral participation increased in recent years?  

 This reading and the question should take about 2 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above.

3.2.5 Conclusion: Institutionalization of Democracy in Latin America   - Reading: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: J. Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank: “Conclusions” Link: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: J. Marc Payne et al.’s Democracies in Development, Inter-American Development Bank:Conclusions” (PDF)
 
Instructions: If you have not already done so, please download the PDF file of the complete textbook by clicking on “Full PDF” on the webpage linked above.  This textbook will be used throughout Unit 3, so you may want to save a copy to your desktop.  In considering how far Latin America has come in its democratization process, please read the “Conclusions” on pages 301-314 to cover this topic.  As you read the chapter, please take notes and answer the following questions:

 1. Have the institutions of democracy become more stable?  
 2. Has the balance of power between executive vs. legislature
shifted in recent years?  
    
 This reading and the questions should take about 2 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above.

3.3 Role of Women in Democracies Today   3.3.1 Women in Electoral Offices   - Reading: Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: Beatriz Llanos and Kristen Sample’s “30 Years of Democracy: Riding the Wave? Women's Political Participation in Latin America” Link: Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: Beatriz Llanos and Kristen Sample’s “30 Years of Democracy: Riding the Wave? Women's Political Participation in Latin America” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Once on the IDEA website, click on the “Full PDF” icon to download the PDF file of the article.  Read the entire article (56 pages), take notes, and answer the following questions:
 
1. How many female have become president of Latin American countries? (Note: in 2010, another female president was elected in Brazil, adding to the number mentioned in the article.)
2. What are some obstacles that Latin American women face in achieving electoral office?

 This reading and these questions should take about 3.5 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above.

3.3.2 Role and Women in Grassroots Movements   - Web Media: YouTube: Direct Action’s “Women in Latin America:” “Part 1” and “Part 2” Links: YouTube: Direct Action’s “Women in Latin America:” “Part 1”(YouTube) and “Part 2” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Women not only play an increasingly important role in formally institutionalized elected positions, but have also long organized themselves at the grassroots level (in neighborhoods and communities) to take direct action on issues such as education, healthcare, housing, safety, and others that confront them in daily life. Watch both parts of this video (7:35 and 7:34 minutes, respectively).
 
1. What are the major obstacles to gender equality in Latin America?
2. What kinds of political roles have women played in struggle for social justice?
 
This 2-part video and these questions should take about 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the webpage displayed above.