The struggle for democracy
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DEMOCRACY in Latin America and the Caribbean got a shot in the arm last autumn with the passage of the Inter-American Democratic Charter in Lima, Peru. Thirty-four countries came to an agreement on a document they hope will usher in an era of greater democratic freedom. Even now, months after the signing, hopes remain high that the principles hammered out in Lima will take root and flourish. Still, some who felt such a document was long overdue find themselves unable to shed doubts that its promises will be realised for all peoples. Different this time, however, was that civil society had a voice in the process, and this could prove significant, especially if it continues to play a part in implementing the ideals penned in Lima. As many contributors to this edition emphasise, however, implementing these principles must go beyond elections every few years. Real democracy must provide avenues for all people to have a hand in the process on a more regular basis. 'We here in Otavalo are striving to promote a participatory society in which we confront and debate ideas openly, and where differing views can actually help us find the best solutions to problems,' says Mario Conejo, mayor of Otavalo, a canton in Ecuador's Ibabura Province. (See his article on page 10.) Global Future occasionally devotes an entire issue to one region. This edition focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean. Readers on our regular mailing list will receive this issue in English. However, a special Spanish-language version is being printed and distributed in Latin America.
- Strengthening the roots of democracy - True democracies must pay careful attention to minorities, says Manfred Grellert, World Vision's Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean. And not only in politics, but also in economic, social and cultural issues.
- Transforming Latin America through democracy - Approval of the Inter-American Democratic Charter last fall was a significant step forward. Now the real work begins, says Roberto Rojas, Costa Rica's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Culture.
- Fighting poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean - World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean David de Ferranti points out that economic growth coincides with reduced poverty - but economic growth alone is not the answer.
- Restoring human rights and democracy
- Democracy and indigenous peoples
- Citizen participation in the electoral process
- Making national changes from the local arena
- Poverty erodes democracy
- Violence and exclusion in Latin America
- Are the WB and the IMF change agents?
- Educating for democracy
- Helping small farmers cope