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Volume 59 / Social Sciences

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS: ARGENTINA, PARAGUAY, AND URUGUAY


PAUL H. LEWIS, Professor of Political Science, Tulane University


THE THREE LA PLATA COUNTRIES struggle with the dilemma of building stable democracies while at the same time making the painful economic adjustments required by free trade. Additional political tensions are generated by memories of their departed military dictatorships, heightened from time to time by new revelations of past misdeeds.

In Argentina, drastic downsizing of the state's economic role and its general impact upon democratization are especially well explored by Acuña (item #bi 97011382#), Gerchunoff (item #bi 97017743#), and Nolte (item #bi 97011378#); Galfione and Rodríguez (item #bi 99005192#), Miguez (item #bi 97014674#), and Roffler (item #bi 98003261#).

President Carlos Menem imposed reforms by often using tactics that caused many observers to question the real depth of Argentinian democracy. Such "hyperpresidentialism" is described especially well in Larkins (item #bi 99000783#) and Jones (item #bi 97012336#). Lack of accountability naturally opens up great opportunities for corruption, excellent examples of which are given in Moreno Ocampo (item #bi 97004412#), Pascolo (item #bi 98005845#), and Zlotowiazda (item #bi 98005819#).

Turning to the "Dirty War," Moyano's penetrating study of the guerillas' world (item #bi 98006227#) and Turolo's description of politics at the Junta level (item #bi 98004939#) stand out as objective and informative. Polemical, but useful for their first-person insights into the army's internal struggles are Abete (item #bi 98005805#) and Vergez (item #bi 98005849#). Memories of the "Dirty War" also raise questions about civil-military relations under civilian rule. Here again there is much partisan debate, but two works by Norden give a clear, balanced picture (items #bi 98005844# and #bi 97008474#). Gorbato discovers Montonero "retreads" working for the government (item #bi 00000693#).

Writing on Paraguay is mainly concerned with the country's struggle to establish its first democracy, a thorough overview of which is provided by Flecha and Martini (item #bi 98005843#). For the period after 1993, however, it is necessary to go Caballero for the opening of the Wasmosy presidency (item #bi 96009576#), and then to Costa and Bogarin (item #bi 98005850#) and to El ocaso de jinete (item #bi 98005856#) for the dramatic, but failed, military coup against Wasmosy in 1996. Segovia Rios' autobiography brings us up to the Cubas debacle (item #bi 00000688#).

Uruguay's complicated electoral system and its bewildering sublists may well be things of the past as a result of the 1996 constitutional reforms. Mieres summarizes these and discusses their probable impact, which he thinks will tighten party discipline and draw all the parties toward the political center (item #bi 99002266#). The left is encouraged, however, by the relentless rise toward power of the Frente Amplio, which already controls the city of Montevideo. Dutrenit Bielos (items #bi 97005978# and #bi 99003227#), Mancebo (item #bi 98005266#), and Rubio and Sere (item #bi 97008249#) write perceptively on Frente Amplio, and on the possibility of a major realignment, as the traditional Blanco and Colorado parties draw closer together to block this rising challenge.


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