Understanding Central America

Understanding Central America

Understanding Central America

Understanding Central America

Synopsis

In this new edition of a widely praised book, two of the most respected writers on Central American politics explore the origins and development of the region's political conflicts and efforts to resolve them. Highlights of the third edition include an analysis of the 1992 Salvadoran peace accord, the 1996 Nicaraguan national election and prospects for consolidation of democracy in Nicaragua, and Guatemala's troubled transition toward greater democracy, as well as a new chapter that examines how U.S. foreign policy during the 1970s and 1980s was shaped by the Cold War.

Excerpt

This edition of Understanding Central America has been extensively revised from the second edition. We have taken into account the dramatic transformation of the region in terms of the formal democratization of several countries, the end of several civil wars, and rapid new economic changes wrought under the pressures of international economic neoliberalism. These processes were incomplete or in early stages when we published the second edition. Our effort to incorporate these phenomena has led us to restructure the theoretical heart of the book, expressed in Chapter 5, around the theme of regime change. Earlier editions concentrated on explaining the paradox of violent civil conflict in three Central American nations while two others remained relatively peaceful. This edition retains the explanation of the violent civil conflict of earlier editions but subsumes it under a broader theory of regime change laid out in Chapter 5. Other chapters have been revised to address the regime change theme and to provide more detailed coverage of recent events in individual countries as they bear upon the issue of democratic transformation. Hence we now have separate chapters on El Salvador and Guatemala, previously combined into one chapter. We have also greatly updated our economic analysis of the region, with an extensively revised appendix of tables of socioeconomic data and detailed attention to economic developments affecting the politics of each nation.

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