Written by former President of Ecuador Osvaldo Hurtado, Dictatorships in Twenty-First-Century Latin America explores the most important Latin American political phenomenon to emerge in the first two decades of the twenty-first century: democratic governments elected by citizens have become autocratic governments through the manipulation of the constitutional order and the legislative and judicial functions. Unlike traditional Latin American dictatorships, those of the twenty-first century have not been established by the military but by civilian politicians who were voted into power by the people to govern their countries subject to the provisions of the constitution and the law. Once the leaders assumed the presidency, however, they ignored the constitution under which they were elected and replaced it with one tailored to their political ambitions, using the broad powers assigned to them to remain in power indefinitely. This is what Presidents Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, and Nayib Bukele in El Salvador have all done. Hurtado explains the paradox of this new Latin American authoritarian trend occurring when, for the first time in the history of the subcontinent, democratic institutions governed in all countries, with the sole exception of Cuba.
Osvaldo Hurtado is an Ecuadorian author and politician who served as president of Ecuador from 1981 to 1984.
PART I: NEW FORMS OF DICTATORSHIP
Chapter 1: The Concept of Democracy
Chapter 2: From Military Dictatorships to Civilian Dictatorships
Chapter 3: Dictatorships of the Twenty-First Century
Chapter 4: The Governments of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro
Chapter 5: The Government of Evo Morales
Chapter 6: The Government of Daniel Ortega
Chapter 7: The Government of Nayib Bukele
PART II: THE GOVERNMENT OF RAFAEL CORREA
Chapter 8: The Correa-Tailored Constitution of 2008
Chapter 9: The Process of Concentrating Power
Chapter 10: The Ruse of Citizen Participation
PART III: DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS IN AN AUTOCRATIC REGIME
Chapter 11: The Rule of Law
Chapter 12: The Division of Power
Chapter 13: The Independence of the Justice System
Chapter 14: Freedoms, Guarantees, and Rights
Chapter 15: Government Transparency
Chapter 16: Political Pluralism
Chapter 17: Alternation in Power
Chapter 18: Free Elections
PART IV: PERSPECTIVES ON AUTHORITARIANISM
Chapter 19: The International Community
Chapter 20: Causes of the Dictatorial Drift
Chapter 21: The Arduous Path of Democracy
About the Author
As a politician, former president of Ecuador, and an active and lucid observer of the ways in which democracy is being undermined, Osvaldo Hurtado has acquired a unique and invaluable perspective on the onslaught against democracy. In these pages, President Hurtado offers a well-documented and alarming synthesis of the state of democracy in Latin America. A must-read.
This study of Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela illuminates how democratic breakdowns and autocratic impositions occurred in these nations. Osvaldo Hurtado, a former president of Ecuador, was among the first to understand and oppose these populist regimes and to identify their shared tendencies and techniques. He shows how democratic governance decayed and why that matters for its future.
Form and function, style and content merge in elegant harmony in this English rendering of Osvaldo Hurtado’s seminal work. The subject matter is profoundly serious, and the reader can expect to be dazzled by the sheer brilliance of the analysis, which is matched by a degree of academic objectivity that is remarkable in one who spent fifty years fighting the evils of dictatorship and promoting, defending, and implementing the principles of democracy in his own country and throughout Latin America. This book is a cry of warning and a call to arms. A warning against the disastrous mistakes of the past and a call to all to be vigilant against future threats to the freedoms that only democracy can bring.
It is a luxury to have a whole book on Ecuadorian and Latin American politics by one of the most respected authors in the field of language. Former President Hurtado possesses the intelligence, the language, and the academic instruments to achieve what he sets out to do.