Challenges to Democracy in Latin America: The Case of Venezuela Under Hugo Chavez
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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This thesis examines the actions of democratically elected leaders perceived to create threats to democracy. These leaders are often political outsiders who come to power after established politicians and the traditional way of conducting democratic politics have been discredited. Once in power, some of their actions are seen as nonconforming with established democratic norms. This thesis investigates the areas where setbacks and major threats to democracy have occurred in Venezuela and how the international community might respond most effectively to such threats. This thesis advances four definitions of democracy drawn from the relevant literature, delegative, liberal, and substantive. It then examines the actions of the government on the different dimensions of democracy set forth by those definitions, elections, human rights and civil liberties, checks and balances, and militarism. Although the Chavez regime conforms to the minimal conditions of an electoral democracy, it is shown to fall short of accepted standards of liberal democracy. It also falls short of the vision of participative democracy advanced by President Chavez himself. This thesis concludes by offering policy recommendations on how to deal with these regimes.
- Sociology and Law