Iberia and Latin America: New Democracies, New Politics, New Models

In This Review

Iberia and Latin America: New Democracies, New Politics, New Models

By Howard J. Wiarda
Rowman & Littlefield, 1996
152 pp. $52.20
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Wiarda, a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts and a long-time observer of Iberia and Latin America, gives a useful and concise introduction to the complex connection between their histories, cultures, and policies. While fully acknowledging and enumerating the profound changes that have occurred in all these societies, especially in Spain and Portugal over the past 20 years, he also raises important questions about the democratization process and its completeness. Wiarda argues here, as he has before, that it is essential to "recognize that Latin American politics is often a hodgepodge, a crazy quilt of democratic and not so democratic practices." And that although it is true that Latin America has a strong liberal, republican, and democratic tradition and set of constitutions, there is also a set of traditions that are authoritarian, elitist, organic-statist, patrimonial, and corporatist. Any realistic analysis of the region's future, Wiarda argues, must reckon with both.