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Revista mexicana de ciencias políticas y sociales

versión impresa ISSN 0185-1918


CANSINO, César. Quality of Democracy in Latin America: Project or Utopia?. Rev. mex. cienc. polít. soc [online]. 2013, vol.58, n.217, pp.79-98. ISSN 0185-1918.

While recognizing the heuristic limits of the concept "democratic quality" this article argues that measuring democracy over time is the most adequate way to identify, discuss and analyze its presence in every country. "Democratic quality" sheds new light on both concept elaboration and empirical studies because it synthetizes two political processes that have developed in the region in the last twenty five years: democratic transition and democratic consolidation. This category allows us to define the current state of Latin American countries in terms of their institutional and societal development of democratic life. We can thus, at least in theory, observe and propose an integrated improvement of existing political regimes in a context in which modern representative democracies are reorganized in terms of their new attributes and rights. Based on these premises, this article proposes two interrelated paths of analysis: a) considering the model of "democratic quality" to analyze Latin American democracies and characterize their present problems; and b) examining the relevance of this model’s heuristic power. The main thesis holds that not even the most visible long or short-term transformations undergone by our democratic political legal codes, since its inception, are sufficient in and of themselves to bring us closer to the democratic quality model, or in other words, to the basis of a democratic State of law.

Palabras llave : Latin America; democracy; quality of democracy; rule of law; accountability.

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