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Politics In The Andes

Politics In The Andes: Identity, Conflict, Reform

Jo-Marie Burt
Philip Mauceri
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  • Book Info
    Politics In The Andes
    Book Description:

    The Andean region is perhaps the most violent and politically unstable in the Western Hemisphere.Politics in the Andesis the first comprehensive volume to assess the persistent political challenges facing Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

    Arguing that Andean states and societies have been shaped by common historical forces, the contributors' comparative approach reveals how different countries have responded variously to the challenges and opportunities presented by those forces. Individual chapters are structured around themes of ethnic, regional, and gender diversity; violence and drug trafficking; and political change and democracy.

    Politics in the Andesoffers a contemporary view of a region in crisis, providing the necessary context to link the often sensational news from the area to broader historical, political, economic, and social trends.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7250-1
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  2. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Jo-Marie Burt and Philip Mauceri

    Since the early 1990s, the Andean region of Latin America has been the most unstable and violent area in the hemisphere. The intensification of guerrilla, paramilitary, and drug violence in Colombia has raised the specter of the regionalization of a conflict that has persisted for decades. The weakness of political parties has strengthened the hand of the military elsewhere in the Andes, most notably in Peru, where democratic institutions were systematically undermined during the Fujimori administration. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez’s caudillo-style government used executive powers to curtail and control the power of other governmental institutions, while in Ecuador the...

  3. I. The Struggle for Identity

    • 1 Ethnic Identity and Politics in the Central Andes The Cases of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru
      (pp. 17-37)
      Xavier Albó

      As part of the Viceroyalty of Peru during Spanish colonial rule, the three states of the central Andes—Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru—shared a relatively similar history. In the pre-Columbian period this area was part of the Inca Empire, which extended from southern Colombia to northern Chile. It was in the aftermath of the independence wars of the nineteenth century that the current separate states emerged, creating divisions that have led to wars and left behind a legacy of resentments. Within these states there live approximately thirteen million indigenous people belonging to numerous nations, each with their own particular identity.¹...

    • 2 Linking Movement and Electoral Politics Ecuador’s Indigenous Movement and the Rise of Pachakutik
      (pp. 38-57)
      Jennifer Collins

      On January 21, 2000, a dramatic takeover of Ecuador’s National Congress by thousands of primarily indigenous protesters, joined by a couple hundred disaffected army officers, resulted in the ousting of President Jamil Mahuad. The protesters and their military allies declared the formation of a three-member Junta of National Salvation that included a representative of the rebellious army colonels, the then-president of the most important national indigenous organization, and a former Supreme Court judge, representing the coast. The self-declared junta did not succeed in holding onto power and was disbanded in less than twenty-four hours, after it became clear that the...

    • 3 Engendering Andean Politics The Paradoxes of Women’s Movements in Neoliberal Ecuador and Bolivia
      (pp. 58-78)
      Amy Lind

      In the past two decades, women from various social sectors have emerged as protagonists in social movements and electoral politics in the Andes. Women from low- and middle-income backgrounds; urban and rural women; women of indigenous, mestiza, and African origins; household workers; agricultural workers; heterosexuals and lesbians—all have played significant roles in establishing contemporary women’s movements and in helping to engenderthe broader political, cultural, and economic landscape of the Andes.¹ While women initially played roles in male-based human rights, antiauthoritarian, university, and antipoverty struggles in the late 1970s and 1980s, many women decided to create their own organizations...

  4. II. Conflict and Violence

    • 4 Dismembering and Remembering the Nation The Semantics of Political Violence in Venezuela
      (pp. 81-106)
      Fernando Coronil and Julie Skurski

      Although political violence has played a central part in the formation of nations, its historical constitution and role in national imaginaries have received scant attention.¹ All too frequently violence is not so much explained as its causes identified, its form accounted for by its function, and its function instrumentalized. Violence is thus reduced to a practical tool used by opposing social actors in pursuit of conflicting ends. Whether treated as a cause, function, or instrument, violence is generally assumed rather than examined in its concreteness. Little attention is paid to its specific manifestations, to the way its effects are inseparably...

    • 5 State, Esprit Mafioso, and Armed Conflict in Colombia
      (pp. 107-125)
      Ricardo Vargas

      M. A. Matard-Bonucci offers a conceptualization of mafia useful for an analysis of Colombian politics: the mafia is not a formal organization, but a form of behavior and a mode of power.¹ There are four key historical conditions that help explain the growth and consolidation of models of mafia power and behaviors. First is a situation in which the nation-state has not established a firm presence in certain regions and local forces contest an exclusionary central power. The classic example of this dynamic is Sicily, with insularity appearing to be an important sociocultural element explaining the emergence of the mafia....

    • 6 Collateral Damage The U.S. “War on Drugs” and Its Impact on Democracy in the Andes
      (pp. 126-145)
      Coletta A. Youngers

      The dramatic increase in drug trafficking poses real dangers to countries throughout the Western Hemisphere. Drug trafficking in the Andes breeds criminality, exacerbates political violence, and hence greatly increases problems of citizen security. It has corrupted and further weakened local governments, judiciaries, and police forces and rends the social fabric, particularly in poor urban areas where both drug abuse and drug-related violence are rampant. Illicit drug abuse—a minor problem in Latin America a decade ago—has reached epidemic proportions in cities such as Caracas, Medellín, and Lima. The physical and moral damage to individuals, communities, and societies of the...

    • 7 State, Elites, and the Response to Insurgency Some Preliminary Comparisons between Colombia and Peru
      (pp. 146-163)
      Philip Mauceri

      At first glance a comparison of insurgent violence in Colombia and Peru would appear to yield few elements for a useful comparison. Despite the fact that both countries are in the Andean region, there are significant differences in the historical sources and trajectory of violence in both cases. Insurgency in Colombia has a much longer history than in Peru; the ideology, tactics, and strategy of the groups involved are different, as is the political, economic, and social context of conflict. However, on one of the key variables involved in understanding political violence, namely state power and capacities there is a...

    • 8 Human Rights in the Andes The Defensoría del Pueblo
      (pp. 164-184)
      Mark Ungar

      Keeping track of human rights in the Andes means keeping track of the state and society. While the region’s states are being weakened by increasing economic and political pressures, their societies are becoming more aware of constitutional rights and the growing threats to them. Throughout the Andes, mediating between the state and society on human rights is the Defensoría del Pueblo, an independent national ombudsman mandated to investigate rights abuses, receive complaints from citizens, initiate legal recourses, and formulate policy. Although one of the region’s newest institutions, thedejensoríahas been thrust to the forefront of human rights as the...

  5. III. Political Change and Democracy

    • 9 State Building, State Dismantling, and Financial Crises in Ecuador
      (pp. 187-206)
      Liisa L. North

      Colonel Fausto Corbo, one of the four hundred or so army officers ranging from lieutenants to colonels who supported the indigenous uprising that led to the deposition of President Jamil Mahuad on January 21, 2000, was referring to the parallels between that event and the young officers’ revolt of July 1925—the Revolución Juliana or July Revolution. Both political cataclysms were preceded by acute economic crisis and the crash of the country’s banking system, which, in 2000 as in 1925, were blamed on corrupt politicians in the pockets of equally corrupt bankers. Moreover, young officers preoccupied with the integrity of...

    • 10 The Struggle for Hegemony in Venezuela Poverty, Popular Protest, and the Future of Democracy
      (pp. 207-227)
      Margarita López Maya and Luis E. Lander

      Prior to the 1990s, Venezuela was considered to be one of the few politically stable democracies in Latin America. The defeat of the dictatorship of General Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958 marked the beginning of the construction of a democratic political system through a series of pacts and implicit agreements among different social groups. Violent groups of the left and the right were subdued in the 1960s, and by the 1970s, two parties—Democratic Action (AD) and the Social Christian COPEI—had become the predominant political actors. AD and COPEI alternated in power and steadily penetrated other social organizations to...

    • 11 The Tense Relationship between Democracy and Violence in Colombia, 1974–2001
      (pp. 228-246)
      Francisco Gutiérrez Sanin and Luisa Ramírez Rueda

      Among the many possible definitions of democracy, one of the best and most parsimonious is “protected consultation” (McAdam, Tarrow, and Tilly 2000). In this perspective, democratic governments ask the population to express its preferences, while being prevented from castigating undesirable opinions by a system of strong individual and social protections. Colombia has one of the world’s oldest consultative traditions, which includes an early institutionalization of mass politics, regular elections, and strong parties that have created practices and perceptions shared by significant sectors of the population. Along with these elements, an equally notable and indeed eminent characteristic of the system has...

    • 12 State Making against Democracy The Case of Fujimori’s Peru
      (pp. 247-268)
      Jo-Marie Burt

      In Peru, the process of state breakdown and the disruption of organized politics in the 1980s gave way to the emergence of an authoritarian and personalistic leader, Alberto Fujimori (1990–2000), who rebuilt state institutions and forged new modes of state-society relations, but did so in a way that was antithetical to the affirmation of democratic principles and procedures. The process of rebuilding state institutions in the 1990s became inimical to the imperative of building democracy. Thus the social conflicts that came to a head in the 1980s—manifested by a deep-seated economic crisis, widespread political violence, and an exacerbated...

  6. Conclusion
    (pp. 269-280)
    Jo-Marie Burt and Philip Mauceri

    We began this book by noting the high degree of instability that has affected the Andean region in the last decades. At the same time, we have been sensitive to the significant policy and political differences among the Andean nations. It has been our intention to flesh out some of the common historical and social experiences of the region that could help us understand the sources of this instability, while being attuned to the different political and policy responses adopted in this very diverse region. Three specific issues are increasingly of concern to social scientists looking at Latin America: the...