This collection of interviews with 26 contemporary political leaders from 11 Latin American democracies focuses on why and how the region turned so strongly toward participatory politics during the 1980s. A unifying theme is the "tempered realism of a democracy of lost illusions," a moderation of the demands and expectations of both leaders and followers. The book includes capsule profiles of the interviewees and a final essay on the U.S. role in Latin America's democratic openings by the editor, a retired foreign service officer now heading the Institute of the Americas, a California-based center on western hemisphere affairs.
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