By Deborah Yashar
The author's clean reinterpretation of those circumstances demonstrates that sooner than the 1950's, the 2 nations commonly comparable styles of political swap and improvement, together with seven many years 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 pursuits 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 ancient trajectories? Demanding Democracy argues that the democratizing coalition's good fortune in Costa Rica and its failure in Guatemala rested upon its skill to redistribute elite estate early on and to workout powerful political regulate of the countryside.
The book's designated theoretical strategy integrates an research of the stipulations fostering democracy with these conducive to its persistence. In doing so, it bridges arguments that target democratic transitions and people who specialise in their consolidation. in addition, it strikes past debates in regards to the function of constitution and supplier in those techniques by way of concentrating on the interaction among historic 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 info for Demanding Democracy: Reform and Reaction in Costa Rica and Guatemala, 1870s-1950s
Liberals also founded an agricultural bank and invited foreign investment. But most significantly, the government issued a series of measures to enhance the emerging coffee producers' access to lands and labor. Coffee producers sought rich agricultural lands in the west and the Verapaces provinces to the north of Guatemala City. These regions proved particularly well-suited for coffee production. Indigenous communities, however, largely owned and/or cultivated these lands. Consequently, the Liberal reformers enacted a land reform, Decree 170 (January 1877).
Liberals sought to overcome these obstacles and to establish incentives to promote coffee production. They improved the country's infrastructure, including its roads, railways, dams, bridges, and communication networks. 11 By the end of the 188os, telegraphic communication was possible throughout the country (McCreery I990: no). Liberals also founded an agricultural bank and invited foreign investment. But most significantly, the government issued a series of measures to enhance the emerging coffee producers' access to lands and labor.
8 The Guatemalan Liberal state treated the Church more harshly than did the other Central American Liberal republics (Holleran I949; Chea Urruela 1988; Handy 1984:62-63; Perez Brignoli 1985 :76; Woodward 1985: 167-71; Dunkerley 1988: 25). The Liberal dictators sought to replace the Church's dominant role in the countryside through the centralization and institutionalization of military power. Barrios, for example, increased the policing capacities of local military chiefs and state political agents, who monitored local events on behalf of the dictator (McCreery 1990: 1IO-II).