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Challenges to Democracy in the Andes: Strongmen, Broken Constitutions, and Regimes in Crisis

Maxwell A. Cameron and Grace M. Jaramillo, editors
Challenges to Democracy in the Andes: Strongmen, Broken Constitutions, and Regimes in Crisis
ISBN: 978-1-955055-42-0
ISBN: 978-1-955055-59-8
2022/263 pages/LC: 2022000842
"A coherent, analytically innovative and original perspective on the institutional transformation of regimes in the Andean region and its relationship to democracy." —Radek Buben and Karel Kouba, Journal of Politics in Latin America

"This superb edited volume . . . examines a range of executive aggrandizement—the weakening of checks on executive power—in the Andes. . . . The book wrestles with questions that are at once timely and timeless, and should be on any reading list for scholars of the Andes or students of democracy."—John Polga-Hecimovich, Latin American Politics and Society

"Incisively tackles the multiplicity of issues at stake from a comparative perspective, and in ample conversation with the political science literature on democracy." —Philip Chrimes, International Affairs

"This is the book to read to understand the prospects for democracy in the Andean region. The chapters are full of insights and offer rich and clear analyses that place the latest developments in context." —Gerardo L. Munck, University of Southern California

"Offers a thought-provoking framework for understanding democratization in the Andean countries.... This is a must-read for scholars and students interested in democracy, constitutionalism, executive aggrandizement, and institutions in Latin America."— Julio Carrión, University of Delaware


Although military coups are rare in the Andean countries, democracies remain prone to deep political crises caused by elected leaders (especially strongmen, or caudillos) who abuse their power—often with broad public approval. What explains this phenomenon?

The authors of Challenges to Democracy in the Andes propose answers to this question. Offering an analytical framework that disaggregates the components of democratic regimes, along with case studies and comparisons from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, they describe and explain political changes within the gray zone between democracy and authoritarianism.


Maxwell A. Cameron is professor in the Department of Political Science and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Grace M. Jaramillo is adjunct professor in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC.


  • The Dilemmas of Democratization in the Andes—M.A. Cameron and G.M. Jaramillo.
  • Political Regimes: Components, Crises, and Change—M.A. Cameron.
  • Venezuela: From Democracy to Authoritarianism—M. McCarthy.
  • Bolivia: Paradoxes of Inclusion and Contestation—S. Anria and J. Cyr.
  • Ecuador: From Muerte Lenta to Democratic Renewal?—G.M. Jaramillo.
  • Peru: Democratic Erosion Under Neoliberalism—C. Ilizarbe.
  • Colombia: A Liberal Democracy Besieged—J. Boesten.
  • Enabling—and Impeding—the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—J. Tockman.
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic and Democratic Erosion—V. Hurtado and P. Sosa-Villagarcia.
  • Strongmen and the Dispute over Democracy—M.A. Cameron.