The Problem of Democracy in Latin America

By Martin C. Needler | Go to book overview

9
Regionalism in
Plural Societies

The basic fact about the Indian societies of the high Andes- Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia—is that in them the Spanish conquerors established neo-feudal societies in which the mass of indigenous inhabitants were assigned a servile and exploited role.What is immediately apparent to the observer is not this social and economic cleavage, but rather the overlapping cultural one, the gulf of language, customs, and dress (see Table 8). While these are thus plural societies in the sense that a considerable gulf, both social and cultural, divides Indians from non-Indians, they are also societies marked in addition by strong regional divisions.


Regionalism in Ecuador

During the colonial period, Ecuador, the most northerly of the three countries, was at different times ruled from both Lima, in Peru to the south, and Bogotá, the capital of present-day Colombia to the northeast. During the last half-century, however, relations with Peru, never especially good, deteriorated further, following Peru's invasion and seizure


Table 8
Major Indian Populations of South America, 1978
Country
Indigenous Population (thousands)
Total Population (thousands)
Indian Population (percent)

Ecuador

2,564

7,563

33.9

Peru

6,025

16,372

36.8

Bolivia

3,526

5,956

59.2

Source: James W. Wilkie and Stephen Haber, eds., Statistical Abstract of Latin America, Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center, 1983, vol. 22, p. 97.

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The Problem of Democracy in Latin America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Problem of Democracy in Latin America *
  • Contents *
  • Figure and Tables *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • 1: Premises and Preconceptions *
  • 2: The Latin American Tradition *
  • 3: Change and Development *
  • 4: The Hegemonic Factor *
  • 5: The State *
  • 6: Revolutionary Regimes and the Case of Mexico *
  • 7: The Politics of Coffee *
  • 8: External Dependence *
  • 9: Regionalism in Plural Societies *
  • 10: Echoes of Europe *
  • 11: The Colossus of the South *
  • 12: Conclusion *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
  • About the Author *
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