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Democratization
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Building inclusive democracies: Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities in Latin America
Donna Lee Van Cott a a Department of Political Science, Tulane Univerity, New Orleans, USA Online Publication Date: 01 December 2005

To cite this Article Van Cott, Donna Lee(2005)'Building inclusive democracies: Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities in Latin

America',Democratization,12:5,820 837
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/13510340500322215 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13510340500322215

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Building Inclusive Democracies: Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Minorities in Latin America
DONNA LEE VAN COTT

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The political mobilization of indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, and oppressed majorities has presented challenges to democratizing countries. Although, in other regions of the world, this has fostered anti-democratic tendencies, in Latin America, on balance, it has improved the quality of democracy by placing new issues and values (justice, equality, tolerance of difference) on the political agenda and by presenting a model of policy-making in which citizens have a central role. Indigenous movements have forced governments to take into account the impact of public policy on societys most vulnerable. They have been less effective in achieving the implementation of existing rights and in facilitating the design and adoption of alternative forms of inter-ethnic governance. Using Latin America as a primary reference point, this inquiry analyzes the design and implementation of ethnically sensitive democratic institutions in ethnically diverse and divided societies, particularly in reference to indigenous and Afro-descendant populations. Key words: constitutional design; afrmative action; liberal culturalism; human rights

Indigenous Peoples, Ethnic Minorities and Democratization Hostility among peoples of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, whether rooted in generations of conict or precipitated by recent events, is one of the most serious challenges to the survival and quality of democracy. Even where relatively free and fair multi-party elections are regularly held, governments violating the rights of ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, or failing to constrain dominant groups from oppressing and exploiting others, prevent their citizens from enjoying democratic rights and political freedoms. Discrimination and oppression erode the values of equality and solidarity, and reduce the quality of public trust that democratic culture requires. In many cases, cultural difference itself impedes equitable access to democratic institutions and fosters political exclusion. In the face of oppression or exclusion, minority groups may opt to carve out a space of protection and autonomy for themselves and, thus, opt out of participation in the larger state and society, with negative effects on national unity. It is, thus, no accident that the most successful cases of democratization in Latin America and post-communist Europe occurred in the least ethnically-diverse states such as Hungary, Poland, Costa Rica, Uruguay while the most ethnically diverse states are
Donna Lee Van Cott is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Tulane Univerity, New Orleans, USA. Democratization, Vol.12, No.5, December 2005, pp.820837 ISSN 1351-0347 print=1743-890X online DOI: 10.1080=13510340500322215 # 2005 Taylor & Francis

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having a harder time constructing democratic institutions, for example Romania, Ukraine, Guatemala and Peru.1 By the 1990s, public opinion in the advanced industrialized democracies had shifted from the view that policies favouring ethnic minorities are the stuff of discretionary public policy to the view that ethnic minorities have rights and that these rights protect the basic dignity of human beings.2 As a result, most countries have codied minority rights in national political constitutions and many international organizations have developed norms for protecting minority, immigrant and indigenous peoples rights. Once the discretionary concern of national governments, the question of minority rights has become internationalized and states increasingly are pressured to adopt as a minimum these international standards in exchange for recognition and access to trade and nancial aid.3 European organizations in particular have established a strong regime of minority-rights norms and condition admission to institutions, such as the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), on the adoption of these standards. The Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have even mediated ethnic disputes in post-communist Europe.4 However, although international standards for the treatment of ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples provide useful guidelines for societies wishing to address the problems that ethnic conict and inequality create for democracy, they alone cannot resolve ethnic tensions. Such standards must be accepted and embraced by political elites and mass publics a difcult prospect, particularly in poor and newly democratic countries, where cultural lines tend to be drawn around socioeconomic classes. And Western democracies and international organizations must be willing to pursue enforcement, something that they have tended to subordinate to overriding security and political concerns.5 Even in Europe, where minority-rights norms are most developed, the substance of the minimal standard for minority rights remains unclear, given the diversity of norms and their uneven application. Western countries have been reluctant to force the issue on their eastern neighbours as this could lead to further tensions or result in an examination of their own minorityrights regimes, and post-communist countries have rejected the favoured approaches to moderating ethno-national conict adopted in the West. In fact, since the fall of communism, in many post-communist countries minorities actually have fewer rights, since eastern European elites largely perceive minorities to be a serious security threat.6 This inquiry surveys the main approaches that scholars and policy-makers use to construct democratic institutions in ethnically diverse and divided societies. It then focuses on particular cases of ethnic accommodation in Latin America. In the Latin American context, this almost always concerns indigenous peoples, the descendants of the inhabitants of the Americas at the time of the arrival of Europeans in the sixteenth century. Although there is no widely accepted denition of indigenous peoples, partly due to indigenous activists insistence that they retain the right to dene themselves, they are comparable to national minorities, in that they exist as distinct cultural and political systems within modern states, and that they aspire to self-government. Kymlicka argues that, whereas national minorities lost the battle

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to establish themselves as the dominant group within a modern state, indigenous peoples were isolated from the processes of nation-building and state-building entirely.7 This distinction may hold up in Europe, but it fails in the American context, where nation-building was undertaken through the destruction and subordination of indigenous cultures and authorities. It is the process of economic modernization, rather than nation-building, from which indigenous peoples have been relatively more isolated. Finally, the account evaluates efforts by democracies in that region to implement institutional solutions for managing ethnic conict and offers practical recommendations for policy-makers.
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Conceptual Issues and Approaches Notwithstanding the intellectual convergence on the idea that ethnic minority and indigenous rights should be protected, debate persists over how liberal-democratic institutions can best protect minorities while promoting values and practices essential to democracy. How should liberalism which developed in a context of relative ethnic homogeneity be interpreted in a context of ethnically diverse societies, particularly in those lacking a liberal-democratic philosophico-cultural tradition? Does the recognition of distinct national minority groups destroy the cohesion and collective identity necessary for democratic nationhood, or is that recognition required to uphold basic liberal principles? How can minority cultures be respected and protected from the intrusion of dominant cultures, while protecting individual members of minority cultures from violations of their right to express a version of their culture that may diverge from that of their cultural authorities? Should the liberal-democratic state aim to express complete neutrality with respect to culture and ethnicity or, since all states implicitly favour the dominant culture and attempt to build a cohesive nation around this model, should they aim to reect all cultures explicitly and equally? Does the equality of universal political institutions better promote democratic values and practices than the asymmetry of special autonomous regions and political rights? Within political philosophy a consensus has emerged around liberal culturalism, which Kymlicka denes as the view that liberal states should not only uphold the familiar set of individual civil and political rights which are protected in all democracies, but should also adopt various group-specic rights and policies which are intended to recognize and accommodate the distinctive identities and needs of ethnic cultural groups.8 In practice this means that the state may need to intervene to protect individuals from restrictions against their individual rights imposed by ethnic group members, and that the state should protect minority cultures against the intrusion of more dominant groups in society. State practice, however, demonstrates neither convergence nor consistency. Among those who design policies for states a key debate concerns the question of whether or not ethnicity should be politicized. Arend Lijphart is the most renowned proponent of the view that ethnically divided societies must design institutions that

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explicitly recognize ethnic identity in order to promote power-sharing (also called consociationalism) and group autonomy. In power-sharing systems, leaders of explicitly identied communal groups participate in a grand coalition government, in which each group receives a proportional share of state resources, maintains autonomy over sensitive cultural issues, and reserves the right to veto policies concerning cultural rights, that is, policies pertaining to language, education and religion.9 Quasi-power-sharing arrangements reserve seats in government for minority groups in order to ensure their participation and, thus, their loyalty to the political system. For example, the legislatures in India and Iran reserve seats for lower-caste groups and religious minorities, respectively, and American policy-makers, prior to the January 2004 elections in Iraq, had suggested that seats be reserved for Sunnis, who make up 20 per cent of the population, to avoid their domination by Shiites and Kurds.10 The model is based on the successful experiences of Belgium and the Netherlands and, to a lesser extent, Austria and Switzerland. Although Lijphart endorses power-sharing for all societies, the model has failed to succeed in developing countries. Among the most important reasons for failure are: (1) the presence of signicant group-based economic and social inequality, political instability and societal violence; (2) the resultant scarcity of inter-ethnic trust and shared elite values and interests in developing as opposed to advanced industrialized societies; as well as (3) varying birth rates among ethnic groups, which require difcult, periodic adjustments in the distribution of power and resources. Moreover, the approach tends to reduce the uidity of communal identities and to reduce the scope of choice for voters. Thus, power-sharing is best used where cultural and economic differences are not great and democratic values are strong. Donald L. Horowitz offers a distinct approach that promotes the careful design of institutions to diminish the political salience of ethnic and other communal identities in order to discourage the adoption of stable communal identities and to create incentives for inter-ethnic elite cooperation. The approach relies mainly on electoral laws that punish extremism and reward political moderation and preelectoral interethnic coalition building.11 The difculty is that it is impossible for such laws to promote all democratic values at once. For example, laws that increase the accountability of politicians directly to constituents and promote durable government coalitions may reduce the proportionality of representation and even exclude small minorities. Laws that explicitly promote the proportional representation of minorities in ofce may discourage inter-ethnic cooperation by fragmenting the party system and legislative bodies.12 Moreover, it is difcult to convince societies that are accustomed to certain institutions to adopt new ones with which they lack cultural afnity. Generations of failed presidentialism have yet to convince Latin Americans that they should try parliamentary systems, which may produce more stable and effective governments and allow executives to govern with legislative support.13 It is difcult to know beforehand how electoral laws developed in the West will affect political outcomes in different cultural contexts.14 It is equally plausible that more ethnically homogeneous electoral districts will promote inter-ethnic cooperation by satisfying ethnic elites hunger for government jobs and their constituents quest

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for authentic representation, as it is that ethnically heterogeneous districts will promote inter-ethnic cooperation by encouraging more moderate political views. The only pattern discernible is that Western democracies have been relatively successful at designing policies that harmonize the twin goals of (1) building national unity and collective identity, and (2) protecting minority rights. These policies have tended to promote greater equality among groups and, thus, to reduce incidences of conict derived from fears of domination. This typically is accomplished through a combination of federalism the devolution of executive, legislative, and judicial powers, resources, and responsibilities to sub-national levels of government15 and multicultural policies targeted at ethnically distinct immigrant groups, which typically protect (and sometimes publicly fund) their distinct justice, religious and educational institutions. Shifting powers to local or regional levels where national minorities and indigenous peoples constitute majorities enables them to freely develop their cultures without interference and to exercise powers of self-government that reduce the feeling of domination by the majority.16 Where federalism is inappropriate or lacks public support, quasi-federal arrangements provide some autonomy for distinct groups. Examples of such arrangements include the establishment of legislatures for Scotland and Wales within Great Britain, and the relationship of Puerto Rico and the Aaland Islands to the United States and Finland, respectively.17 Federalism has been most successful where all sub-units of the state have relatively equal powers. Switzerland and India are good examples of successful federalism, representing the wealthy industrialized and poor industrializing worlds, respectively. Typically, however, a country has one or a few regions where national minorities are concentrated and seek autonomous self-governing rights, while the remainder of the country is divided into units based upon region rather than ethnicity. For example, Canadas federal system and Spains system of autonomous communities were constructed in order to satisfy autonomy claims from the province of bec and the Catalan, Basque and Galician communities, respectively. AsymQue metric federalism, however, establishes a tension between minority ethnic groups, who seek special autonomy rights that regionally dened units lack, and the majority, which seeks to prevent any region from acquiring greater rights than those enjoyed by all units in order to uphold the principle of equality.18 Although instituted in order to reduce demands for secession, asymmetric federalism may increase such demands, as autonomous peoples come to view themselves as capable of going it alone. Federalism does not always produce the desired result. When federal sub-units are drawn around territorially concentrated ethnic groups identities tend to become rigid and power is typically seized by more extreme members of the ethnic elite in each subunit, reducing the choices of citizens to candidates and platforms proposed by this ethnic elite.19 In the post-communist and developing worlds federal systems have proved to be extremely vulnerable to collapse and secession: the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia (neither of them true federations) and Czechoslovakia barely survived the fall of communism, and separatist movements continue to agitate in Russia, India, Nigeria and Ethiopia. In democratizing countries, societies often lack the abundant goodwill necessary for successful territorial power-sharing. The

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failure of federalism in post-communist Europe largely is attributable to the lack of a democratic context for its operation and the simultaneous oppression of minorities within the system. This legacy has made the federalism option anathema among leaders in ethnically diverse eastern and central European countries, who view it as encouraging disloyalty and even secession among minorities. Such leaders nd the spectre of their minorities seeking to secede and join ethnic kin in neighbouring countries particularly threatening.20 A situation somewhat comparable to asymmetric federalism exists in industrialized countries that create self-governing reserves for indigenous peoples, who typically receive distinct treatment under national and international law compared to ethnic minorities. Indigenous peoples have been relatively more isolated geographically, politically and economically from the process of economic and political modernization, and their cultures are relatively less similar to the dominant culture in the state in which they reside. The greater vulnerability of indigenous groups, their relatively small numbers compared to the total population, and widespread sympathy for the justice of their rights claims have led to relatively generous regimes of autonomous rights in advanced industrialized democracies, including Canada, Sweden, New Zealand and the United States. Autonomous reserves remove indigenous cultures from specic aspects of the jurisdiction of national and sub-national governments whether federal or unitary and confer special powers which allow indigenous authorities to control access to indigenous culture and territory by outsiders and to apply culturally appropriate means of conict resolution and rule adjudication. For example, in the United States, Native American reservations are exempt from state law and have their own tribal courts and police, and Canadas Inuit have governed an autonomous territory called Nunuvut since 1999. New Zealand and the Scandinavian countries have established autonomous territorial rights for the Maori and the Sami, respectively. In contrast to the success of liberal culturalism in wealthy democracies, institutions in developing countries designed to protect ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples rights have had more limited results. A key obstacle is the far higher degree of inequality in developing areas, which typically corresponds to ethnic differences. Developing countries lack the economic resources, and usually the political will, to rapidly ameliorate inter-group inequalities. Many indigenous and ethnic groups claims are essentially redistributive and poor, developing countries, having fewer resources and less economic autonomy relative to international nancial institutions and markets, nd redistribution to be more challenging. In addition, developing countries often contain what Amy Chua calls marketdominant minorities: ethnically distinct groups that monopolize economic and nancial resources and access to international markets, while widespread poverty aficts an ethnically distinct majority. As Chua observes, many contemporary ethnic conicts consist of the efforts of market-dominant minorities to maintain their dominance in the face of intense resentment expressed by impoverished and excluded majorities. Contemporary efforts to open markets to international commerce tend to exacerbate existing inequalities, since market-dominant minorities benet disproportionately.21

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826 The Latin American Experience

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Latin America is an interesting region for the discussion of approaches to ethnic accommodation in democratizing countries. Ethnic conict in the region mainly concerns the longstanding inequalities among the regions three main ethnoracial groups: the descendants of the original inhabitants, indigenous peoples or Indians; the descendants of European conquerors and immigrants, whites or criollos; and the descendants of African slaves, Afro-descendants or blacks. Indigenous peoples constitute approximately 40 million individuals, or roughly ten per cent of Latin Americas population, with large concentrations in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru.22 Contemporary indigenous social movements formed in the 1960s and 1970s to demand bilingual education and collective land rights. These movements gained strength and public recognition in the 1980s and became important collective political actors in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. By the 1990s, extensive and persistent interaction with neighbouring movements generated a common, cohesive set of indigenous rights claims associated with the right to self-determination, or the right to freely develop their cultures, forms of production, and traditional modes of political organization.23 The Afro-descendant population is estimated at 120 150 million, or roughly 30 per cent of the regions population, with high concentrations in the circum-Caribbean and Brazil.24 Most blacks live in urban areas and do not identify themselves as members of a distinct ethnic group. In the 1970s urban intellectuals inspired by the American Black Power movement tried to organize national movements for racial equality, but these have failed to gain momentum, since most Afro-descendants do not identify themselves as such but have, rather, assimilated into the national or a regional culture. In contrast, there are Afro-descendant communities in geographically remote areas that runaway slaves established in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Geographic isolation enabled these communities to develop and maintain distinct cultures derived from their African ancestry. Afro-descendant political mobilization was delayed until the late 1980s, and has been most active in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras and Peru. The principal demands expressed are for collective land rights for rural communities on which Afro-descendants often have a common cause with their indigenous neighbours and an afrmative action agenda to acknowledge and to remediate the markedly lower socio-economic status of blacks. Afro-descendant organizations are far weaker and less cohesive than their indigenous counterparts and, thus, far less effective. They have achieved policy goals mainly in alliance with stronger indigenous organizations and, in some countries like Bolivia and Honduras, they have a similar legal status as indigenous peoples.25 In Latin America, we see some of the tension and conict that Chua attributes to the existence of market-dominant minorities: in this case, the light-skinned economic and political elite of European descent and, to lesser degree, successful immigrant communities from Lebanon, China and elsewhere. Whites dominate politics and the military, and enjoy preferential access to economic opportunities and resources, while a majority of indigenous and Afro-descendant Latin Americans live in poverty. A large proportion of the most violent episodes of conict witnessed in Latin America

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in the last decade is attributable to popular backlash against efforts by the light-skinned elite to undertake neo-liberal reforms that would improve their own market position, but would harm indigenous and Afro-descendant communities and economies. Examples are the 1994 Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, and the 2003 Gas nchez de Lozada. Inter-ethnic War that toppled Bolivian President Gonzalo Sa relations are complicated by the great extent of racial mixing, which has created a numerically dominant mestizo or mixed-race group. Individuals can achieve limited upward mobility by migrating from rural indigenous or Afro-descendant communities to urban centres and adopting the cultural habits of the Europhile elite. Since independence in the nineteenth century, and for most of the regions history, Latin American states have attempted to destroy indigenous languages and cultures and to forcibly assimilate the indigenous population. The liberal reforms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries dismembered much of the collective territorial base upon which indigenous cultures depended for their existence. In the 1930s indigenist policies emphasized Spanish-language education and the integration of distinct indigenous cultures into national life. These policies persisted into the 1960s and 1970s in most countries. In the last 15 years, however, the region has become a laboratory for the design and implementation of liberal culturalist policies, particularly with respect to indigenous rights, autonomous regimes and afrmative action. The Constitutional Reform Wave A wave of constitutional reform followed the regions return to elected, civilian rule in the 1980s. By the 1990s, almost all Latin American countries had undertaken major reforms or wholesale replacements of their constitutions in an effort to modernize the state and the economy, to establish regimes of human-rights protection that would prevent a return to military-style, authoritarian rule, and to resolve institutional problems related to the hyper-centralization of public administration, judicial weakness and the exaggerated powers of the executive relative to the legislature.26 Indigenous peoples organizations throughout the hemisphere had achieved a high level of political organization and mobilization by this time and many were able to insert their rights claims into the new constitutions by linking them to elite goals. For example, indigenous peoples organizations promoted decentralization as a means to create a territorial system amenable to constructing self-governing autonomous reserves. They joined forces with liberal elites and their allies in international nancial institutions seeking to decentralize administrative and political powers and resources in order to create a more efcient, responsive and accountable state. Indigenous organizations promoted the recognition of indigenous customary law and institutions of self-government as a means to fortify spheres of territorial autonomy with meaningful jurisdictional powers and, thus, end local elites domination of indigenous peoples. They joined forces with political elites seeking to increase the coverage and quality of the rule of law in rural areas, where ordinary courts and police had been unable to establish order in the face of guerrilla violence and criminal activity.27 Contemporary Latin American constitutions vary considerably in the kind and number of indigenous rights provisions they encompass. Table 1 illustrates the

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TABLE 1 MULTI-CULTURAL RIGHTS FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN LATIN AMERICA

Country Argentina Belize Bolivia Brazil Chile Colombia Costa Rica Ecuador El Salvador Guatemala Guyana Honduras Mexico Nicaragua Panama Paraguay Peru Suriname Venezuela

Date of constitution/ recognition 1994 1981 1995 1988 1993 by statute 1991 Laws passed in 1977/1993/1999 1998 1983/199192 1986 1980/1996 1982 1917/1992/2001 1987/1995 1972/1983/199394 1992 1993/200304 1987 1999

Collective land rights

Self-government rights

Cultural rights

Customary law limited

Representation/ consultation in government

Rhetorical afrmation of distinct status

Ratication of ILO 169 2000 1991 2002 1991 1993 1998 1996 1995 1990 1993 1994 2002

for limited purposes

weakened in 1993

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distribution of the most common types of constitutional rights accorded to indigenous peoples: collective land rights; self-governing rights; cultural rights, which typically refer to ofcial status for language and/or the right to bilingual education; the right to practice customary law; reserved seats in legislative bodies; and the rhetorical recognition of a distinct status. The last column indicates whether the country has ratied International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169 (1989) Concerning Tribal and Indigenous Peoples in Independent Countries. Such countries recognize indigenous peoples right to hold land collectively, govern themselves, exercise customary law and to receive some type of language recognition and an appropriate educational policy. Two trends are discernible with respect to the codication of indigenous rights in Latin America. Firstly, over time, countries tended to expand and deepen indigenous rights regimes as these were adopted in neighbouring countries and received support from international actors. Colombia, the rst country to adopt a signicant regime of indigenous constitutional rights, inspired Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador and, subsequently, Venezuela to adopt similar rights. Secondly, countries with smaller indigenous populations tended to adopt more generous and meaningful indigenous rights regimes. The most important autonomous regimes established for indigenous peoples are located in Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama, where indigenous populations constitute ten per cent or less of the total population. Panama, where indigenous peoples constitute 8.4 per cent of the population, contains the regions oldest indigenous selfgoverning reserves, called comarcas. The Kuna secured theirs in the 1920s following a long-running war with the state, and with support from the United States government.28 Similarly, only in Colombia and Venezuela, where indigenous peoples constitute less than three per cent of the population, have indigenous seats been reserved in legislatures. In 1991, two seats were reserved for indigenous senators in the Colombian National Senate and ve seats were reserved in the Chamber of Deputies for indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians and Colombians living abroad. In 1999, three indigenous seats were reserved in the single-chamber Venezuelan National Assembly and a seat is reserved in municipal and state assemblies where indigenous populations are present. The measures automatically provided political representation and a platform for public voice to an excluded sector of society. Moreover, indigenous organizations have used the reserved seats and the resources accruing to them to launch successful electoral vehicles that are competing with surprising success in general elections at all levels of government. For example, in 2000 a Venezuelan indigenous political party won the governorship of the state of Amazonas, elected a representative to the National Assembly (in addition to the three indigenous legislators required by law), and elected mayors for three of the states seven municipalities.29 Elites in countries with signicant indigenous populations, fearing the dramatic implications of a shift of power in favour of a large excluded group, have tended to adopt more restrictive multi-cultural policies and have avoided granting territorial autonomy or guaranteeing access to the formal political system. Elites in these countries have, traditionally, united to prevent the incorporation of the indigenous majority (or signicant minority), and created institutions designed to exclude the poor, dark-skinned majority. The relatively poor quality of democracy in such

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countries gave indigenous social movements relatively less leverage for alliance formation and political action. Weak movements in favour of the cultural and territorial rights of isolated, riverine black communities in the Pacic Coast region emerged in Colombia and Ecuador in the late 1980s and made claims based on historic continuity as distinct cultures dating back hundreds of years. They emulated the successful discourses and strategies of indigenous organizations. As a result, Latin Americans of African descent have received some modest constitutional rights in both countries. Colombia was the rst country to recognize Afro-descendants as a distinct ethnic group deserving of special rights. It did so at the insistence of indigenous delegates participating in the 1991 National Constituent Assembly. Implemented through Law 70 (1993), Afro-Colombian rights include collective land rights, support for culture and education, and the creation of a reserved seat for an Afro-Colombian representative in the national Chamber of Deputies. Although these rights originally were targeted toward the descendants of black slaves living in traditional, riverine communities in the Pacic Coast region, Colombias Constitutional Court subsequently interpreted the subject of Afro-Colombian rights more broadly, opening up the possibility that blacks elsewhere in the country might develop distinct cultures requiring state protection.30 Afro-Ecuadorians gained constitutional rights in the 1998 Constitution. As in Colombia, these resulted largely from alliances with stronger indigenous peoples organizations and are noticeably weaker than those accorded to indigenous peoples, who are considered in both countries to have stronger cultural identities and more legitimate claims to territorial and political sovereignty. Afro-Ecuadorian constitutional rights also are more vague. Apart from the recognition of collective land rights, the applicability of indigenous constitutional rights to Afro-Ecuadorians is to be determined by law. The process of negotiation between black activists and the state over this legislation has enabled incipient black rights movements in Colombia and Ecuador to grow. Thus, perhaps the most important impact of constitutional recognition was the public legitimation of Afro-descendant identity and culture, which encouraged more Colombians and Ecuadorians to identify themselves as black.31 Brazil, Honduras and Nicaragua also recognize some limited collective land rights for descendants of escaped slave communities.32 Honduras and Peru have established ofcial agencies to address the needs of black populations, but they have little legal authority or resources.33 Elsewhere, recognition of black rights takes the form of programmes to remediate racial discrimination. In Brazil, which has the largest black population outside Nigeria, the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration in October 2001 enacted a variety of afrmative action policies for blacks, including 20 per cent hiring quotas in three ministries, an effort to improve the performance of blacks on the entrance exam for the diplomatic corps, and a 40 per cent admission quota for universities in three states. By December 2001, quotas had been established for blacks in television programmes and advertisements and 14 distinct quota proposals awaited congressional action. Many state and municipal governments were considering similar policies. In 2002 President Cardoso issued a decree establishing a National Afrmative Action Program.34 According to Htun, this remarkable change of policy in Brazil where elites have long denied the existence of racial

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discrimination partly is attributable to soul-searching provoked by preparations for the September 2001 World Conference on Racism. In the months leading up to the conference, black legislators met to demand attention to the problem of racial equality and the new policies full pledges made at the conference.35 Thus, in the same way that international activism around the ratication of ILO Convention 169 put pressure on states to address indigenous rights, international activity surrounding the racism conference helped to forge a consensus in Brazil that something must be done, even though the conference itself may be deemed a failure.36 The left-leaning Luis Inacio da Silva administration subsequently established a Ministry for the Promotion o Paulo adopted a quota of Racial Equality and, in 2004, the Federal University of Sa system for black, mixed-race and indigenous applicants, reserving 10 per cent of new openings for these populations.37 Liberal Culturalism in Practice The simultaneous adoption of European-style mechanisms for the enforcement of human rights such as the Swedish Human Rights Ombudsperson, the Western European Constitutional Court, and the ofce of the Prosecutor General, which holds government ofcials accountable to the law provided tools for disadvantaged groups to petition the government for redress when their rights are violated. In some cases, these mechanisms have enabled indigenous and Afro-descendant organizations to force the implementation of constitutional rights that had been stalled by legislative inaction or obstruction. For example, Colombias 1991 constitution established a Constitutional Tribunal to protect citizens constitutional rights from violations by the state and private actors. The tribunal has adjudicated dozens of tutelas (writs of protection) that indigenous and, to a lesser extent, Afro-descendant individuals and communities, have brought before it. The majority of these have been decided in favour of ethnic minorities and, in several important cases, the tribunal has actually expanded and deepened the implications of the rights in question.38 Nevertheless, serious challenges impede the implementation of indigenous and Afro-descendant rights in Latin America. A high level of structural inequality and poverty that is closely associated with ethnicity exacerbates conicts among ethnic groups, while sustained economic crisis since the early 1980s reduces state resources for redistribution and poverty alleviation. Throughout the region, particularly in Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil and Peru, rural violence against indigenous and Afrodescendant peoples inhibits the exercise of existing rights, particularly land rights, and the weakness of the rule of law provides inadequate recourse to protection. For various reasons, the most difcult right to implement has been collective land rights. First, in Latin America the state retains subsoil rights and can exploit such resources or sell them to private corporations. It has been particularly difcult for indigenous peoples to protect collective land rights where petroleum and other precious natural resources are located and, in fact, a signicant portion of unexploited natural resources in Latin America is located on indigenous land.39 Secondly, conservative political elites, who often are over-represented in legislatures, have prevented the passage of legislation implementing territorial rights, since such rights conict with their interests in expanding the agricultural, grazing and extractive frontiers.

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Thirdly, and this affects all constitutional rights, many Latin American countries have experienced extreme political instability and party system fragmentation since the adoption of new constitutions, rendering legislatures incapable of passing all but the most routine legislation. This problem has been particularly marked in Ecuador, where the indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian self-governing regimes have awaited implementation since 1998. According to an analyst for the Inter-American Development Bank, the main reason for the slow progress of implementation is that governments lack sufcient nancial resources, staff with expertise in indigenous public policy, and mechanisms for the state and ethnic minorities to hold each other accountable. It is rare that ethnic minorities serve in positions of authority in state agencies working with ethnic minorities.40 This situation has improved somewhat since the late 1990s, when indigenous peoples entered national legislatures, often with indigenous movement-based political parties, notably Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. In the absence of effective formal political representation, policies are most likely to be implemented where ethnic minorities are well organized into a single, coherent social movement that is able to apply sustained pressure. Unfortunately, implementation is a frustrating Catch-22 situation: elite consensus and political stability is required for effective legislative and executive action, but such conditions tend not to lead to the adoption of generous ethnic rights regimes. They are more likely to facilitate a more incremental approach that is unlikely to satisfy extremely disadvantaged groups. Attention to the needs of ethnic minorities also is impeded by widespread resistance to the idea that racial and ethnic difference and inequality exist in Latin America. This has changed somewhat since the consciousness-raising efforts surrounding the 1992 marking of the quincentenary (the 500th anniversary of Columbus voyage to the Americas). But many Latin Americans prefer to reduce race- and ethnicity-based inequality to class and to deny the extent of racial discrimination. Even states that recognize a generous regime of rights for indigenous peoples tend to focus on cultural differences and avoid discussion of race, preferring to promote the myth of the racially neutral state.41 Nevertheless, the symbolic recognition gained in these constitutions has helped to revive indigenous and Afro-descendant cultures and to inspire identity-based social movements to mobilize politically to realize and expand their new rights. Improvements in the quality of democracy in the region have opened space for these movements, whose effective representation of once-excluded sectors of society, in turn, enhances the quality of democracy. Although critics of these reforms argue that symbolic recognition means nothing, particularly in a context in which it has been difcult to fully implement more substantive ethnic rights, symbolic recognition after centuries of humiliation and domination is enormously important to Latin Americas indigenous peoples, whose struggle is as much for substantive rights as it is for dignity and recognition of their status as peoples existing prior to the Latin American state and, thus, entitled to a special place in political institutions. Symbolic recognition was crucial to the revitalization of Afro-descendant identity in South America. As Kymlicka and Norman argue, symbolic gestures granting or denying recognition can have profound and continuing effects within a political culture in ways that

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directly affect the well-being and self-respect of citizens of minority cultures, as well as their enthusiasm to participate in the political life of a larger state.42 Horowitz concurs that such recognition is of great importance in democratizing multi-ethnic societies because it explicitly includes threatened, non-dominant minorities in the future of the political project. More practically, indigenous organizations have used symbolic constitutional language to argue claims before constitutional courts and to oppose legislation proposed by national parliaments. The multi-cultural rights discussed above represent a common approach in Latin America to addressing longstanding political, economic and social exclusion of indigenous peoples and, in a few cases, Afro-descendants. Countries recognizing strong regimes of multi-cultural rights Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and certain states within Mexico, such as Oaxaca base these regimes on a federal or quasi-federal politico-territorial organization that supports ethnically dened electoral districts and selfgoverning autonomous reserves, municipalities or regions, where land is held collectively, indigenous customary law is practiced and authorities are chosen through customary means.43 This represents the territorial power-sharing approach that Kymlicka advocates. In two countries Colombia and Venezuela this approach is combined with aspects of group-based power-sharing, in that seats are reserved for indigenous and, in Colombia, Afro-descendant minorities in legislative bodies. Only in Peru do we see the adoption of Horowitzs advice to design electoral rules that encourage inter-ethnic electoral alliances. In 2002, the Peruvian government adopted legislation requiring political parties in certain Amazonian electoral districts to place indigenous peoples in 15 per cent of the slots on their candidate lists.44 Conclusion: Implications for Scholars and Policy-makers The political mobilization of indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and oppressed majorities has presented challenges to democratizing countries. Although in other regions of the world this has fostered anti-democratic tendencies, in Latin America, on balance, it has improved the quality of democracy by placing new issues and values justice, equality, tolerance of difference on the political agenda and by presenting a model of policy-making in which citizens have a central role. Indigenous movements have forced governments to take into account the impact of public policy on societys most vulnerable. They have been less effective in achieving the implementation of existing rights and in facilitating the design and adoption of alternative forms of inter-ethnic governance. What, then, can be done to enable ethnic minorities, excluded and oppressed majorities, and indigenous peoples to enjoy the benets of democracy? What lessons does the Latin American experience offer? First, ethnic political mobilization is more effective when combined with international pressure, particularly from international nancial institutions and aid organizations willing to require sensitivity to ethnic claims in exchange for granting to states access to nancial assistance. Western democracies and the multilateral institutions that they support must establish clear, consistent standards with respect to minority rights and these standards must be vigorously and consistently enforced.

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Second, external aid agencies and governments should invest in the organizational and technical capacity of disadvantaged ethnic minorities and indigenous organizations and professionals. Where these entities are strong, positive policy outcomes are more likely.45 Third, as the case of Colombia and its activist Constitutional Court demonstrates, strong judicial institutions are crucial for the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups, particularly in the face of resistance on the part of dominant groups. Individuals and organizations representing ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples must have easy access to credible, efcient judicial mechanisms for asserting and protecting their rights. Even where they are relatively cohesive and well organized, organizations representing oppressed groups require a strong legal system to ensure the existence of a democratic public space in which to make claims and to participate in formal and informal politics. This is even more important in developing regions, such as Latin America, where economic inequalities correspond to ethnic identity and signicantly impair access to justice. A strong rule of law and strong judicial institutions are as vital to the quality of ethnic relations as they have been proven to be vital to the quality of democracy.46 Fourth, where ethnic identity is a proxy for economic status, states must undertake signicant programmes of redistribution in order to reduce the economic basis of ethnic inequality. As Chua observes, this requires redistributive tax systems. Such systems, however, are weak in the developing world, since governments generally are too weak to force privileged minorities to pay their share, let alone more than their share. Redistributive policies should include public funding for the edgling political parties of oppressed ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples to reduce the signicant disadvantage they face in competition against well-funded dominant groups.47 No real progress can be made, however, until privileged ethnic minorities voluntarily contribute to the reduction of inequality. Given the violent backlash against market-dominant, light-skinned elites and foreigners, the time may be coming when such elites understand it is in their best interest to address the basic needs of the impoverished majority.48 Finally, governments must be exible. They must try new ideas and tailor well-known conict resolution mechanisms and institutional designs to the particular circumstances in their own societies. Such circumstances change over time, often quickly, and require constant vigilance, a disposition to negotiate, and a commitment to inter-ethnic cohabitation. Policy-makers, committed as they are to producing measurable, substantive results, should not underestimate the importance of symbolic gestures and the act of talking, both of which send signals to excluded ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, and to members of dominant groups, that a process of accommodation is underway.
NOTES 1. Will Kymlicka, Western Political Theory and Ethnic Relations in Eastern Europe, in Will Kymlicka and Magda Opalski (eds), Can Liberal Pluralism be Exported?: Western Political Theory and Ethnic Relations in Eastern Europe (London: Oxford University Press, 2001), p.3. 2. Will Kymlicka, Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism, and Citizenship (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p.6.

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3. The most important global standard is the 1992 United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. With respect to indigenous peoples, International Labour Organization Convention 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent States (1989), and the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, are the most relevant norms. 4. See Kymlicka, Politics in the Vernacular (note 2), pp.67; Graham Smith, Sustainable Federalism, Democratization, and Distributive Justice, in Will Kymlicka and Wayne Norman (eds), Citizenship in Diverse Societies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p.345. 5. Will Kymlicka, Reply and Conclusion, in Kymlicka and Opalski (note 1), pp.36987. 6. See Kymlicka, Western Political Theory (note 1), and Reply and Conclusion (note 5). See also Jon Elster, Claus Offe and Ulrich K. Preuss, Institutional Design in Post-communist Societies: Rebuilding the Ship at Sea (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp.24760. The most important European norms are the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europes 1990 Copenhagen Declaration on the Rights of National Minorities, and the weaker Council of Europe 1995 Framework Convention for Protection of National Minorities. 7. Kymlicka, Western Political Theory (note 1), p.24. 8. Kymlicka, Politics in the Vernacular (note 2), p.9; for a complete statement of this approach, see Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995). 9. Arend Lijphart, Constitutional Design for Divided Societies, Journal of Democracy Vol.15, No.3 (April 2004), pp.96 109. 10. Steven R. Weisman, U.S. Is Suggesting Guaranteed Role for Iraqs Sunnis, The New York Times, 26 December 2004, online edition. 11. See Donald L. Horowitz, Electoral Systems: A Primer for Decision Makers, Journal of Democracy Vol.14, No.4 (2003), pp.11527; Benjamin Reilly, Democracy in Divided Societies: Electoral Engineering for Conict Management (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). 12. Larry Diamond and Leonardo Morlino, The Quality of Democracy: An Overview, Journal of Democracy Vol.15, No.4 (October 2004), p.21; Horowitz, Electoral Systems (note 11). 13. Juan J. Linz and Arturo Valenzuela (eds), The Failure of Presidential Democracy: The Case of Latin America, Vol.2 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994). 14. Horowitz, Electoral Systems (note 11); Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conict (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1985). 15. On the topic of federalism and autonomy, see Yash Ghai, Autonomy and Ethnicity: Negotiating Competing Claims in Multi-Ethnic States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Hurst Hannum, Autonomy, Sovereignty, and Self-Determination: The Accommodation of Conicting Rights, rev. ed. (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990); Ruth Lapidoth, Autonomy: Flexible Solutions to Ethnic Conicts (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997). 16. Kymlicka, Politics in the Vernacular (note 2), pp.3, 95. 17. Kymlicka, Western Political Theory (note 1), p.30. 18. Kymlicka, Politics in the Vernacular (note 2), p.105. 19. Graham Smith, Sustainable Federalism, Democratization, and Distributive Justice, in Will Kymlicka and Wayne Norman (eds), Citizenship in Diverse Societies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p.345. 20. Kymlicka, Reply and Conclusion (note 5). 21. Amy Chua, World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (New York: Anchor Books, 2004). genas y Derechos Constitucionales en America Latina: Un 22. Cletus Gregor Barie, Pueblos Ind n Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Ind genas, Abya Panorama, 2nd ed. (Mexico: Comisio Yala, 2003), pull-out chart. 23. This literature is vast. Among the most cited general and comparative works are Alison Brysk, From Tribal Village to Global Village: Indian Rights and International Relations in Latin America (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000); David Maybury-Lewis (ed.), The Politics of Ethnicity: Indigenous Peoples and Latin American States (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002); Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Indigenous Rights: Some Conceptual Problems, in Elizabeth Jelin and Eric Hershberg (eds), Constructing Democracy: Human Rights, Citizenship, and Society in Latin America (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), pp.14160; Kay Warren and Jean Jackson (eds), Indigenous Movements, Self-Representation, and the State in Latin America (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2002); and Deborah J. Yashar, Contesting Citizenship: Indigenous Movements and Democracy in Latin America, Comparative Politics,Vol.31, No.1 (Oct. 1998), pp.2342.

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24. Inter-American Dialogue, Race Report (Washington, DC: Inter-American Dialogue, 2003); World Bank, <www.worldbank.org/afrolatin>. 25. Eva T. Thorne, Ethnic and Race-based Political Organization and Mobilization in Latin America: Lessons for Public Policy, paper prepared for the Inter-American Development Bank, p.18. ndez, Constitutionalism: A Timely Revival, in 26. For a discussion of these reforms, see Julio Fau Douglas Greenberg et al. (eds), Constitutionalism and Democracy: Transitions in the Contemporary sar Landa and Julio Fau ndez World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp.354 60; Ce lica del Peru , (eds), Contemporary Constitutional Challenges (Lima: Ponticia Universidad Cato Fondo Editorial, 1996). 27. On this process, see Willem Assies et al. (eds), The Challenge of Diversity: Indigenous Peoples and Reform of the State in Latin America (Amsterdam: Thela Thesis, 2000); Barie (note 22); Rachel Sieder (ed.), Multiculturalism in Latin America: Indigenous Rights, Diversity and Democracy (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002); Donna Lee Van Cott, The Friendly Liquidation of the Past: The Politics of Diversity in Latin America (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000). 28. The Embera-Wounaan obtained their comarca in 1993, followed by the Ngobe-Bugle in 1997. Although Panamanian Indians enjoy considerable autonomy within these reserves, conict continues over the presence of non-Indians within the comarcas and over the unresolved issue of access to and ownership of natural resources. Thorne (note 25), p.21 29. See Donna Lee Van Cott, From Movements to Parties in Latin America: The Evolution of Ethnic Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Venezuelan electoral results at <www.cne.cantv.net>. rico-Cultural para la ley Sobre 30. See Jaime Arocha, Nina S. de Friedemann, Marco de Referencia Histo rica Negra Vol.3 (June 1992), Derechos Etnicos de las Comunidades Negras en Colombia, Ame pp.3954; Libia Grueso, Carlos Rosero and Arturo Escobar, The Process of Community Organizing in the Southern Pacic Coast Region of Colombia, in Sonia Alvarez et al. (eds), Cultures of Politics/ Politics of Cultures: Revisioning Latin American Social Movements in (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998), pp.196219; Van Cott (note 27); Peter Wade, Blackness and Race Mixture: The Dynamics of Racial Identity in Colombia (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993). 31. Grueso, Rosero and Escobar (note 30); Van Cott (note 27), pp.978; Wade (note 30), pp.182, 356 8; author interview, Pablo de la Torre, 28 July 1999. 32. Thorne (note 25), p.6. 33. Inter-American Dialogue, Race Report 2004. 34. Mala Htun, From Racial Democracy To Afrmative Action: Changing State Policy on Race in Brazil, Latin American Research Review Vol.39, No.1 (2004), pp.6171. 35. The full name of the conference was: World Conference Against Racism, Racial and Ethnic Discrimination, Xenophobia And Related Intolerance. Htun (note 34), pp.612. 36. Anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic groups seeking to make Palestinian rights the dominant issue repeatedly disrupted the conference. The issue of reparations for colonization and slavery also impeded the creation of governmental consensus and a plan of action. Natalie Steinberg, Background Paper on the World Conference against Racism, Racial and Ethnic Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, November 2001, available at <www.wfm.org/ACTION/racismconf1101.html>. 37. Htun (note 34), pp.612; Thorne (note 35), p.23; UNIFESP to Adopt Quota System for Black Students, 1 September 2004, translated and reprinted in The Black Americas Issue 8 (September 2004), p.2. 38. For example, the tribunal afrmed the right of indigenous peoples to exercise their customary dispute resolution mechanisms even when these violate ordinary legislation and constitutional rights of lower rank than the right to cultural and ethnic diversity. Van Cott(note 27), pp.11218; Donna Lee Van Cott, A Political Analysis of Legal Pluralism in Bolivia and Colombia, Journal of Latin American Studies Vol.32, No.1 (February 2000), pp.20734. 39. Juan Houghton and Beverly Bell, Indigenous Movements and Globalization in Latin America, Native Americas (Spring 2004), pp.1119. 40. Thorne (note 25), p.2. 41. Htun (note 34); Thorne (note 25), p.3. 42. Will Kymlicka and Wayne Norman, Citizenship in Culturally Diverse Societies: Issues, Contexts, Concepts, in Will Kymlicka and Wayne Norman (eds), Citizenship in Diverse Societies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p.29. ctor D az Polanco, Autonom a Regional: La autode43. On territorial autonomy in Latin America, see He n de los pueblos indios (Mexico: Siglo veintiuno editores, 1991); Donna Lee Van Cott, terminacio Explaining Ethnic Autonomy Regimes in Latin America, Studies in Comparative International

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44. 45. 46.

47. 48.
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Development Vol.5, No.4 (Winter 2001), pp.3058. On experiments with autonomy in Mexico, see a Ind gena (Copenhagen: Aracely Burguete Cal y Mayor, coord., Mexico: Experiencias de Autonom International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs, 1999). Van Cott (note 29), ch.5. Thorne (note 25), pp.26-30. ndez, Guillermo ODonnell and Paulo Diamond and Morlino (note 12), pp.23, 26; see also Juan Me rgio Pinheiro (eds), The (Un)Rule of Law and the Underprivileged in Latin America (Notre Se Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1999); Guillermo ODonnell, The State, Democratization, and Some Conceptual Problems, in William C. Smith et al. (eds), Latin American Political Economy in the Age of Neoliberal Reform (Miami, FL: NorthSouth Center, 1994), pp.15780. Diamond and Morlino (note 12), p.24. Chua (note 21), pp. 26779.

Maunuscript accepted for publication August 2005. Address for correspondence: Donna Lee Van Cott, Department of Political Science, Tulane University, 316 Norman Mayer Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA. E-mail: <dvancott@tulane.edu>.