National and Human Security Issues in Latin America

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In this book, an international group of distinguished scholars analyze how Latin Americans are struggling with the question of how they can provide for their security while they govern themselves. They explain Latin Americans’ complex definitions of security and current threats to it. Various external forces – from Al Qaeda and the International Monetary Fund to certain policies of the United States government – threaten Latin Americans’ autonomy.

Economic and political elites may restrict popular self-government, sometimes by promising to provide for security at the cost of liberty. The lives, property, and well-being of Latin American peoples often remain in the balance. The authors show how Latin American nations, individuals, and peoples are seeking to make themselves more secure through their democracies. They consider how Latin Americans are asserting their democratic rights and seeking to deepen the practices of freedom during the current domestic transitions and the war on terror. They judge the prospects for the success of Latin American democracies meeting the severe threats to the region’s security. Given Latin American political history and contemporary insecurities, the chapters demonstrate why the future of these democracies is at risk.


“ ... The essays in this volume examine many angles of the dilemmas facing the democracies of Latin America in this new era of 'national security,' in particular, the struggles facing democracies in an age of globalization, reduced state intervention, and pressures to open economies and reduce protectionism. The essays in this book highlight the daunting challenges facing these 'democracies at risk' ? from Mexico to Brazil ? as the countries of Latin America attempt to reconcile human and national security.” – (from the Foreword) Professor Marshall C. Eakin, Vanderbilt University

“This book usefully reminds us that the long-neglected structural issues of political and social exclusion, inequality, and poverty must be re-addressed with an added urgency if events similar to that of 9/11 are to be avoided in the democracies to the south of the U.S. border. A blind following of the narrowly conceived national security doctrine will make all the Americas worse than before. In this regard, this collection of essays contains useful chapters on Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico and Central America. Researchers of all persuasions must take seriously the broader approach to human security advocated in this impressive collection of high-quality original research. I recommend this work highly for researchers, policy makers, and interested observers of democracy and terrorism in Latin America.” – Dr. Fernando Zumbado, Former Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

“The editors have put together a thoughtfully well-crafted compendium focusing on the dangers of ignoring the long-standing issues of political exclusion, poverty, and misery in the Americas in the current context of international terrorism. The chapters on countries from across North, Central, and South America justifiably underline that the existing social and economic disparities and inequities on the ground that affect negatively the living conditions of millions of Latin Americans need to be handled expeditiously ... This book not only engages in relevant discussion about how to improve the pandemic of exclusion and inequality in the region, it also warns the thinkers and leaders alike that extreme policies of national security as a response to rare events like that of 9/11 would be counter-productive if implemented without any regard for the other more pressing social problems.” – Dr. R. Narayanan, Jawaharlal Nehru National Fellow, Indian Council of Social Science Research

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
List of Acronyms
1. Democracy and Security in Latin America: An Introduction – Lowell S. Gustafson and Satya R. Pattnayak
2. Political Freedom and Security Issues in Latin American Democracy – Satya R. Pattnayak
3. In/Securing Citizens in Democratic Brazil – Anthony Spanakos
4. Threats to Democracy in Bolivia – Edward A. Lynch
5. Democratic Security in Colombia – Gisela Cramer
6. Dustbin Democracy? Central America’s Unholy Development Trinity – A. Imtiaz Hussain
7. Economic Security in an Era of Globalization: Considerations for the U.S. and Mexico – Linda Wilcox Young
8. Islamic Threats to Latin American Democracy and Security – Lowell S. Gustafson and Jonathan Shepherd
9. Human Security and Sustainable Livelihoods: The ‘Maras’ in Central America – Jorge Nowalski
10. Latin American Democracies at Risk: A Post-Script – Satya R. Pattnayak and Lowell S. Gustafson
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