By J. Crabtree, L. Whitehead
The ebook strains the dual tactics of financial liberalization and political democratization in Bolivia because the Eighties, putting either of their old context. by way of targeting the problem of democratic 'viability', it seeks to elevate the wider query of the connection among democratization and the socio-economic context during which it happens. specifically, it examines the institutional reforms of the early Nineties - praised via the area financial institution and others - and considers their achievements and barriers.
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Additional info for Towards Democratic Viability: The Bolivian Experience
Different types of explanation could be advanced and since any one was in itself sufficient it would be superfluous to debate which was decisive. Three main ‘clusters’ of explanation can be invoked: geopolitical, socio-structural and those derived from the political economy. Here, we look at each retrospectively in the light of contemporary experience. 1. Geopolitical factors There were three main ‘geopolitical’ reasons for doubting Bolivia’s democratic potentialities, and all three were radically transformed from ‘negatives’ to ‘positives’ between the 1970s and the 1990s: the Cold War, Bolivia’s relations with its immediate neighbours, and the question of internal regionalism.
Indeed, it was Banzer, the former dictator, who assumed elected office in August 1997, fulfilling an ambition to shed the stigma of a de facto ruler that had caused him to open the way to competitive elections and constitutional rule in November 1977. Memories of the terror and injustices of his rule had apparently faded, or had been superseded by more recent traumas in ways faster than Polybius would have predicted. The next chapter provides an historical evaluation, and offers some grounds for reassurance that the Banzer presidency may not foreshadow an early reversal of Bolivia’s progress towards democracy.
Military rule, 1964–82 This tension between constitutionalism and mobilization permeated political life after 1952, surfacing on such crucial issues as the contents of the 1953 agrarian reform, the locus of managerial authority in nationalized enterprises and the distribution of firearms between the armed forces and the sindicatos. The conflict became more open and extreme after the 1964 military coup, with General René Barrientos (who had previously begun securing peasant support through the pacto militar campesino) constitutionalizing his seizure of power by holding the relatively clean and competitive elections of 1966, and the COB carrying its theory of revolutionary legitimacy to its logical conclusion with the Popular Assembly of 1971.