Twisted Roots: The Historical and Cultural Influences That Shaped Latin America

Twisted Roots: The Historical and Cultural Influences That Shaped Latin America

Twisted Roots: The Historical and Cultural Influences That Shaped Latin America

Twisted Roots: The Historical and Cultural Influences That Shaped Latin America

Synopsis

Social Security is no bargain, but few Americans are aware of the staggering waste and inequities built into the system. This easy-to-read, opinionated and thoroughly documented book expands the debate to the areas of disability abuse, fraud, and inequita

Excerpt

In the first days of the year 2000, a group of Ecuadorian colonels attempted to seize power, repeating a scenario that had been played out a dozen times throughout history in every capital of South America. To paraphrase Marx, it was like the performance of a well-known farce that almost always ended in tragedy.

It often seems as if in that part of the world, democracy—that is, government ruled by laws and elected with the free consent of the majority—is the exception, not the rule. Is there anything more Latin American than the shameful spectacle of pistol-waving soldiers bursting into the presidential palace as government officials flee out the back door? At the close of the 20th century, only one country in the hemisphere, Costa Rica, was exempt from these afflictions, though twice it witnessed the collapse of institutional order. In 1917, General Federico Tinoco staged a coup that lasted two years; and in 1948, chaotic, disputed elections resulted in a revolution marked by armed conflict and executions. Fortunately, the latter episode ended with the constitutional dissolution of the armed forces and the conversion of barracks into schools, a change of which ticos (familiar term for Costa Ricans) are rightfully proud.

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