The past two decades have seen the establishment of democracy in South America. There has been a growth of the political maturity in the countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela. These countries have shunned military regimes that had defined their politics. In the 1980s, South Americans believed that democracy would result into the freedom of choice, security and prosperity (McCaughan 189). However, there still exists the considerable dissatisfaction with the democracy in some South American countries (McCoy and Myers 207).
The South American countries have a long history of authoritarianism. The independent governments followed a path with the common markets and increased the dependence on the financial investments from Great Britain, the United States of America and France. The leaders of these regimes used their military dictatorships to hold on the power (Stoan 29). This led to the discontent in the population and gave a rise in the political upheavals. The upheavals brought in such new leaders like Lázaro Cárdenas of Mexico who had some revolutionary ideas of establishing democracy (Thomas 189).
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Corruption, drugs and violence are the main threats to democracy in South America (Dean 19). For instance, in Mexico, the corruption exists in all levels of government and leads to the attitudes of distrust and dishonesty (McCaughan 190). The case is the same for Argentina and Brazil (McCoy and Myers 207). The researchers have cited the need for a strong judicial system and free press as a part of the solution (McCaughan 27). There is also the need for the political will for exemplary governance (Stoan 30). These factors are missing in countries like Columbia and Mexico (Dean 22). However, Venezuela has introduced the reforms that boost its democracy.
Venezuela experienced the political turmoil and authoritarianism in the 19th century. The first democratic rule was created from 1945 to 1948. A regime of dictatorship had continued during this period until 1958. An increased poverty and high indebtedness culminated into riots and killings in 1989, coup attempts in 1992, and the 1993 year impeachment of the 10th President Carlos Perez due to corruption (McCaughan 5). Hugo Chavez came into power due to his promises of a progressive, participatory and distributive democratic impulse (McCoy and Myers 207). Chavez’s government has tried to reduce the inequality gap between the rich and the poor populations (Stoan 29). Besides, the recent democratic success in Venezuela is a result of the 1999 year adoption of a prodemocracy Constitution and the constitutional election of public officers. Besides, there is the upholding of democratic principles as seen from the recall referendum of 2004.
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