Deborah Yashar looks at the roots of domestic insecurity in Central and Latin America, arguing for a more detailed view of the role of drug trafficking.
Democracy appears to be firmly established in Central America. The civil wars that ravaged many countries in the region during the 1970s and 80s have come to a definitive end. Brutal authoritarian leaders in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador have been replaced by democratically elected officials. With the exception of Cuba, countries across Central America and the Caribbean hold free and fair elections for political office and have enshrined political and civil rights in their constitutions. And yet, conversations with ordinary citizens reveal that democratic rights and freedoms remain elusive for many. In a talk sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Center for Latin American Studies, Deborah Yashar, a professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, described the violence that many Central Americans experience on a daily basis.