Democracy and Accountability: Making the Transition from an Authoritarian Regime

Democracy and Accountability: Making the Transition from an Authoritarian Regime

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The need to acquire human rights can, at times, motivate social and political groups to move mountains. In the 1980s, authoritarian regimes were representative of these large obstacles. This struggle is not new to Latin Americans. Throughout their history, from slavery, which still exists today, to political and religious oppression, Latin Americans have continually fought to gain basic human rights. Americans have come to see these rights as rooted in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, expanding social-political views have extended views of basic human rights into the realms of education and healthcare, to name a couple. In countries such as Brazil, the authoritarian regimes that began to crumble in the 1980s had forced decades of barbaric repression upon peoples deemed dangerous to the state. It is only when the repressed of Latin America chose to help themselves, chose to confront the brutally corrupt military regimes, and chose to accept the accountability of their own actions and inactions, the states of Latin America found that authoritarian regimes could give way before democratic principles.
In order to understand why countries are likely to transition to democratic regimes from authoritarian regimes, it is important to understand how many Latin American authoritarian regimes arrived in the 1960s and the role their militaries have played, both politically and historically. The arrival of authoritarian regimes can be viewed as having come from four issues in Latin American governments in the 1960s: weak multiparty systems, polarization, fear of guerilla armies, and weak central institutions. A decade prior to the totalitarian regimes that came to define muc...


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...ressed of Latin America chose to help themselves, chose to confront their brutal regimes in an active manner, and chose to accept the accountability of their own actions and inactions that nations such as Chile and Brazil found that authoritarian regimes would give way before the demand of democracy.



Works Cited

Favela Rising. Directed by Matt Mochary and Jeff Zimbalist. Sidetrack Films, All Rise Films,
Stealth Creations, 2005. DVD.

O’Donnell, Guillermo. “Tensions in the Bureaucratic-Authoritarian State and the Question of
Democracy.” In The New Authoritarianism in Latin America, edited by David Collier,
35-47. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979.

No. Directed by Pablo Larrain. Fabula, Participant Media, Funny Ballons, 2012. DVD.

Skidmore, Thomas E., Peter H. Smith, and James N. Green. Modern Latin America. New York:
Oxford University Press, 2010.

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