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

Pedro Castillo and his cabinet of ministers

Shifter: “Many in Peru remain concerned by [Castillo’s] agenda and his party’s platform”

Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, examined the political conditions in Peru during an interview with Al Jazeera as the Andean nation swears in President Pedro Castillo on July 28. The interview highlighted the distrust and division among Peruvians during this contested election as well as the importance of pragmatism and cooperation for the Castillo administration as they push for their reformist agenda. 

Press Mentions See all

The pandemic has exposed and accentuated the region’s Achilles’ heel — extremely high levels of income equality. Latin America’s youth crisis — it is not hyperbolic to refer to a possibly ‘lost generation’ — is a powder keg for the region.
There is no question that social fault lines were widening in many nations of Latin America prior to the arrival of Covid-19, but it is also clear that the pandemic has reinforced and increased the income, wealth, and education gaps among the region’s rich, middle class, and poor, the largest setbacks were among the most vulnerable groups—who lived in more crowded spaces, worked in the most precarious jobs, suffered the highest rates of unemployment, often were forced to live from hand to mouth, and had the least adequate access to health services and education for themselves and their children.