Forging Democracy: A Comparative Study of the Effects of U.S. Foreign Policy on Central American Democratization

Overview

Regional hegemons can and do determine the political evolutions of countries within their respective spheres of influence. This study propounds and tests this new theory by examining the influence of U.S. foreign policy on Central America regime formation in the late 1940s and 1980s. By dissecting and comparing the modern histories of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, this book provides a fresh analysis of these countries' histories and of U.S. influence in their political development. Forging Democracy ...

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Overview

Regional hegemons can and do determine the political evolutions of countries within their respective spheres of influence. This study propounds and tests this new theory by examining the influence of U.S. foreign policy on Central America regime formation in the late 1940s and 1980s. By dissecting and comparing the modern histories of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, this book provides a fresh analysis of these countries' histories and of U.S. influence in their political development. Forging Democracy contributes significantly to the theoretical debate over democracy at a crucial time when Washington is reconsidering its role as a promoter of democracy all over the world (especially in Latin America). In addition, this theory provides a framework within which to study the effects of other hegemons' policies on their respective spheres of influence (i.e. the French in Africa). This seminal work extends the understanding of past events, present debates, and possible future ramifications of U.S. foreign policies. Contents: Abbreviations; Preface, by Dwight H. Perkins; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Democratization and Its Factors; The United States in Costa Rica: The Stabilizing Effects of U.S. Foreign Policy; The Eagle and the Quetzal: The United States in Guatemala; The Lasting Effects of U.S. Foreign Policy on Nicaragua; Conclusion; Epilogue; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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Editorial Reviews

Professor Robert A. Pastor
...an intelligent inquiry into the subject of the relative influence of internal and external...factors in explaining the rise and decline of democracy in Central America.
Journal Of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs
...significant and interesting....Zarate's contribution is refreshing....Zarate's work may be particularly important now as Washington grapples with defining a new post-Cold War policy for the Western Hemisphere.
Democratization
The book will be useful as a resource and tool of reference for undergraduates in Latin American Studies, U.S. foreign policy students, and for those interested in comparative democratization and international relations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819195272
  • Publisher: University Press of America
  • Publication date: 9/6/1994
  • Pages: 174
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Juan Carlos Zarate is a Researcher at The University of Salamanca in Spain.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
I Democratization and Its Factors 7
Definition of Terms 8
Precondition Literature 9
Political Crafting 20
Latin America in Theoretical Perspective 21
The Role of Foreign Actors in Democratization 24
The Theory of Hegemonic Power 26
II The United States in Costa Rica: The Stabilizing Effects of U.S. Foreign Policy 29
Definition of Terms 31
The Four Alternative Explanations 32
Synopsis of Key Trends in U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Latin America 38
The Revolution of 1948 40
The Crisis in Costa Rica: 1979-1985 46
III The Eagle and the Quetzal: The United States in Guatemala 55
Period of Reform and the 1954 Coup 57
The Economic Crisis and Political Transformation (1979-1985) 62
IV The Lasting Effects of U.S. Foreign Policy on Nicaragua 75
The Guardia Nacional and Somoza 77
The Democratic Wave and the Coup of 1947 79
The Caribbean Legion and the Nicaragua-Costa Rica Border Dispute 85
United States Policy (1979-1985) 88
Conclusion 103
The Other Central American Countries and Possible Applications 105
Democracy's Viability 106
The U.S. Role in Consolidation 108
Epilogue 111
The Nicaraguan Hostage Crisis 112
The Guatemalan Auto-Golpe 114
The Rest of Central America 118
Notes 121
Bibliography 143
Index 155
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