The Struggle for Peace in Central America

The Struggle for Peace in Central America

The Struggle for Peace in Central America

The Struggle for Peace in Central America

Synopsis

"[Moreno] guides the reader through the complex and uneven processes by which the five Central American nations arrived at a commonly acceptable, but not uncontested, peace agreement.... A considerable achievement, and its value is enhanced by a balanced tone that is rare."--Frederick S. Weaver, Hampshire College, Amherst

For two decades U. S. politicians obsessed about the Central American crisis. Its exit from the top of their global agenda is testimony to the success of the Central American Peace Plan designed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez and signed by the other Central American presidents on August 7, 1987.
This book captures the complicated web of domestic and international actors involved in the political crisis and of the various attempts to negotiate acceptable terms of peace.
Moreno, who conducted personal interviews with many of the key players in the conflict, argues that the five Central American nations share a common history based on their mutual desire for unification, on the pervasiveness of U. S. influence throughout the region, and on their dependence on a limited number of agricultural exports. The peace plan takes advantage of their interdependence and rests on two pillars: that all Central American states accept the legitimacy of each existing government and that each regime commit itself to progressive democratization of the region. Moreno maintains that the plan succeeded because it recognizes the fundamental link between domestic and foreign politics in Central America.
Describing the 1990 defeat of the Sandinistas in elections in Nicaragua and the disarming of the contras, Moreno continues his analysis to the end of the decade as the nations of Central America attempted to comply with the agreement. Dario Moreno is associate professor of political science at Florida International University. He is the author of U. S. Policy in Central America: The Endless Debate (UPF 1990) and was a Fulbright scholar in Costa Rica in the fall of 1990.

Excerpt

Central America has disappeared from the daily headlines. the Central American crisis, which obsessed U.S. policymakers for a decade, is now over. the passion that characterized the endless debate over how to resolve the economic, political, and social turmoil in the region has subsided. the removal of the Central American conflict from the global agenda is silent testimony to the success of the Central American peace process. the Central American Peace Accord was unique because it achieved peace in the isthmus by recognizing the complicated web of domestic and international actors involved in the Central American crisis.

In recounting the story of the Central American peace process, this book attempts to answer the question that James N. Rosenau asked of his graduate 'students: "What is this an instance of?" in other words, what does the struggle for peace in Central America tell us about Central American politics and inter-American relations at the end of the cold war? the book's central thesis is that the Central American peace plan succeeded because it acknowledged the fundamental link between domestic and foreign politics in Central America. the plan's chief architect, President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, appreciated how the region's mounting interdependence required the democratization of the region if peace were to be achieved. the plan rested on two pillars: all the Central American states were to accept the legitimacy of each of the existing governments, despite their sharp ideological differences, and each of the regimes was to commit itself to the progressive democratization of the region. the accord was unique because not only did it attempt to regulate the external behavior of the Central American states, but its most important provisions were those requiring each of the regimes to open up its internal political system.

To analyze the complex web of interdependency that made the peace process possible, we need a fresh approach that goes beyond the . . .

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