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Economist Debate: 'Latin America has regular elections but lacks citizens' democracies'

This event is complimentary, however seats are limited so please register (see below).

The spread of democracy across Latin America during the 1980s was one of the great global achievements of the dying days of the Cold War. Now, the quality and even permanence of democracy in the region is increasingly questioned. Political instability has risen: since 1999, seven Latin American presidents have left office before the end of their term. Others, although democratically elected, have governed as autocrats. According to Latinobarómetro, a region-wide opinion poll, only one Latin American in two is a convinced democrat while some 55% of those polled said they would not mind an undemocratic government if it solved economic problems. Last year's United Nations Development Programme report concluded that while Latin America enjoys regular and mainly free elections it has failed to advance towards “a democracy of citizenship”. So is democracy failing Latin Americans? Or are unrealistic expectations to blame for the disillusion? Amidst the turmoil, are broader and stronger democracies slowly being built?


Prof. Victor Bulmer-Thomas, Chatham House | talks
Prof. Fernando Cepeda Ulloa, University de los Andes | talks
Prof. Guillermo O'Donnell, University of Notre Dame | talks
Michael Reid, The Economist | talks


Date and Time:

18 October 2005 at 6:45 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Chatham House
10 St James's Square
+44 (0)20 7957 5700
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Organised by:

The Economist
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Available from:

To register, or for more information, please email: debates@economist.com

Additional Information:

Organised by The Economist in conjunction with the Inter-American Development bank and Chatham House.

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