Democracy and Human Rights in the Caribbean

Democracy and Human Rights in the Caribbean

Democracy and Human Rights in the Caribbean

Democracy and Human Rights in the Caribbean

Synopsis

The Caribbean, like regions else-where, is caught in what has been called democracy's global "Third Wave." In this volume, contributors examine the nature of democratization in the region together with its accessory, human rights. The emphasis is to extend the analysis & debates beyond political democracy & civil & political rights to consider also economic democracy & economic & social rights. Because the democracy & human rights challenges & dynamics vary across countries, the work also offers extensive single-country assessments. Contributors: Francis Alexis, Damian J. Fernandez, Anselm A. Francis, Dorith Grant-Wisdom, Clifford E. Griffin, Ivelaw L. Griffith, Elizabeth A. Houppert, Robert E. Maguire, Trevor Munroe, David J. Padilla, Betty N. Sedoc-Dahlberg, W. Marvin Will, Larman C. Wilson.

Excerpt

Ivelaw L. Griffith and Betty N. Sedoc-Dahlberg

In 1984 Samuel Huntington began to explore closely the question of whether more countries would soon become democratic. The question was a significant one, for many societies around the world were breaking away from authoritarianism and seemed to be heading along a democratic path; the world appeared to be in the throes of democratic change. Huntington's question did not carry great import for the Caribbean since most countries there had functional, if not flourishing, democracies. Indeed, that same year--1984--the observation was made that "the Caribbean is the fourth most democratically ruled region in the world--after Anglo-America, Western Europe, and the Southwest Pacific." The democratization question was not entirely irrelevant to the Caribbean, however, for there were countries outside the democratic fold, namely Cuba, Haiti, and Suriname, as well as countries with the structural features of democracy but in which functional democracy was either in jeopardy or in crisis, such as Guyana and the Dominican Republic.

The course of events around the world since 1984 has shown that the response to Huntington's question has been in the affirmative. Whereas 34 percent of the independent nations of the world were declared "free," and 31 percent "partly free" by Freedom House in 1984, by 1994 the proportions had grown to 40 percent and 32 percent, respectively. The president of Freedom House also noted that "1994 saw a net increase in the number of democracies, from 108 [in 1993] to 114--the largest number in history and more than double the number of democracies since the early 1970s. Never before have there been as many countries attempting to play by . . .

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