Democratic Governance

In recent years, the state of democratic governance in Latin America has been decidedly mixed. Discussion has turned away from elections and the leftward swings in several countries. Electoral contests are increasingly a matter of routine, and ideology has become notably less salient. The debate now centers on how leaders and institutions confront the complicated tasks of managing their economic and social affairs while representing heterogeneous societies with heightened demands and expectations.

The Inter-American Dialogue closely monitors the state of democratic governance and the rule of law in the countries of the Western Hemisphere. Our analysis, reports, and exchanges serve to encourage compliance with regional and international democratic commitments. In recent years, the Dialogue has placed emphasis on elections, press freedom, public opinion within Latin America’s growing middle class, and the implications of political shifts.

Analysis See all


Political Turmoil in Bolivia: Evo Morales Steps Down

Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, spoke with the BBC about the latest in Bolivia. Shifter weighed in on the state of democracy in Bolivia, the significance of the military’s role in the resignation of Evo Morales, and differences between this situation and the case of Venezuela.


Evo Morales steps down: “The people of Bolivia took to the streets to defend their democracy, but the military gave Morales the final push.”

Michael Camilleri, director of the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program at the Inter-American Dialogue, spoke with France24 about recent events in Bolivia. Camilleri commented on the military’s role in the ouster of President Evo Morales as well as Morales’ legacy and motivations. He concluded by noting the importance of a peaceful and swift democratic transition towards free and fair elections.


Michael Shifter: “La región está convulsionada”

Michael Shifter, presidente del Diálogo Interamericano, habló en el programa La Tarde de NTN24 sobre la crisis social y democrática que vive Latinoamérica en los últimos meses. Comentó en particular sobre las protestas en Chile y también sobre la salida de Lula da Silva de la cárcel.

Press Mentions See all

Bolivia's polarization needs to healed by new leadership. The temptation for any vengeance against Morales supporters needs to be resisted. That would be a recipe for continued conflict and chaos that could well put at risk some of the country's undeniable socioeconomic gains over the past decade.
Es probable que los manifestantes enojados en otros países interpreten el caso boliviano como evidencia de que la presión sostenida en la calle puede tener éxito en derribar gobiernos, lo que podría agregarse a un cóctel ya inflamable en Chile y otros países. Al mismo tiempo, hay una lección que aprender para otros gobiernos presos del conflicto social. El giro de los acontecimientos en Bolivia po­dría empujar al gobierno de Piñera en Chile a responder de manera más efectiva y presentar propuestas serias pa­ra responder las demandas de los ciudadanos.