Date of Award/Publication

4-2003

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in International Studies

Department

International Studies

Abstract

The intention of this work is to illustrate that evolving Latin American cultures have begun to support political democracy within the context of each individual state's definitions and styles of democracy. The argument asserts that political systems must evolve within the context of each individual political culture and allow for self-determination. While the countries that make up Latin America share many characteristics such as language, history and colonial experiences, they remain diverse in other respects. As a result, we cannot speak of the Latin American region as one with completely analogous situations, cultures and values. The nature of such commonalities and differences within Latin America are notable and are considered individually when analyzing government and political culture. Democracy is precarious in Latin America due to the collective impact of historical and economic legacies, culture, values and beliefs that derive from the region's political culture. Widespread poverty and a small ruling elite class combine to form hi-class societies that pose special challenges for evolving democracies. Economic, social, cultural and political changes continue to take place in Latin America, as evidenced by the Venezuelan case.

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