Democratic Transitions in Central America

In This Review

Democratic Transitions in Central America

Edited by Jorge Domínguez and Marc Lindenberg
University Press Of Florida, 1997
210 pp. $49.95
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In this innovative book the editors turned to ten active political leaders from Central America for their own perspectives on the processes of democratization in which they were participants. It makes for fascinating reading. The cast includes a former president, a former defense minister, two finance ministers, and a Sandinista commander. In an introduction that is one of the best short synopses available of the current debate concerning democratization and its precise application to Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama, Dominguez observes that "in the early 1980s no one would have forecast that onetime leaders of the opposition would govern all four of these countries in the early 1990s. No one would have forecast that fair and competitive elections would become routine across the region. No one would have forecast that every military coup attempted since 1984 in this region would fail. No one would have forecast the end of the region's wars." This excellent book goes a long way toward explaining those achievements.