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Capital City Politics in Latin America: Democratization and Empowerment

David J. Myers and Henry A. Dietz, editors
Capital City Politics in Latin America: Democratization and Empowerment
ISBN: 978-1-58826-040-6
ISBN: 978-1-62637-128-6
2002/408 pages/LC: 2002018878

"Clearly will serve as a guide to further research on the trends the contributors have identified and tested across the region."—Choice


As Latin America's new democratic regimes have decentralized, the region's capital cities—and their elected mayors—have gained increasing importance. Capital City Politics in Latin America tells the story of these cities: how they are changing operationally, how the the empowerment of mayors and other municipal institutions is exacerbating political tensions between local executives and regional and national entities, and how the cities' growing significance affects traditional political patterns throughout society.

The authors weave a tapestry that illustrates the impact of local, national, and transnational power relations on the strategies available to Latin America's capital city mayors as they seek to transform their greater influence into desired actions.


David J. Myers is associate professor of political science at the Pennsylvania State University. He has published extensively on both Venezuela and Brazil. Henry A. Dietz is professor of political science at the University of Texas. His recent publications include Urban Poverty, Political Participation, and the State: Lima, 1970-1998.


  • The Dynamics of Local Empowerment: An Overview—D.J. Myers.
  • Bogota: Progress Within a Hostile Environment—A. Gilbert and J. Dávila.
  • Buenos Aires: The Evolution of Local Government—M. De Luca, M.P. Jones, and M. Inés Tula.
  • Caracas: Incomplete Empowerment Amid Geopolitical Feudalism—S. Ellner and D.J. Myers.
  • Guatemala City: Mayors and the Struggle for Political Autonomy—D. Jickling and A. Garcia-Iragorri.
  • Havana: The Dynamics of Local Executive Power—J.L. Scarpaci.
  • Lima: Centralized Authority vs. the Struggle for Autonomy—H.A. Dietz and M. Tanaka.
  • Mexico City: The Local-National Dynamics of Democratization—D.E. Davis.
  • Santiago: Municipal Decentralization in a Centralized Political System—P.M. Siavelis, E. Valenzuela Van Treek, and G. Martelli.
  • São Paulo: The Tension Between Clientelism and Participatory Democracy—L.S. Graham and P. Jacobi.
  • Conclusions—H.A. Dietz and D.J. Myers.