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Special Report: Prospects for Democracy in the Northern Triangle (ISSN 17414474)

Introduction

The main idea we seek to examine in this report is quite simple. It is that the three countries of Central America’s ‘Northern Triangle’ – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – have flawed democracies and a uniquely challenging set of socio-economic problems: we argue that building stronger, more inclusive democratic systems will be a necessary, although potentially not a sufficient condition for beginning to solve those problems. We do not see democracy as a magic potion that causes all problems to disappear: there are too many examples in Latin America and elsewhere of democracies that have evaded, postponed, or simply failed to fix deep socio-economic problems; there are also examples in various parts of the world of non-democratic, single-party regimes that have certainly fixed at least some of the problems, some of the time (to take one example, the government of the Peoples’ Republic of China has a very impressive economic growth record over the last 30 years).

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