In 1978, of the six Central American Republics (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama), only Costa Rica was ruled by an elected civilian regime; by 1995, all countries in the region had elected civilian governments. In 1982, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua were racked by civil war; by 1995 the civil wars had ended everywhere except Guatemala, and even there the level of conflict was significantly less than that experienced in the early 1980s. A transition of some kind has evidently occurred in Central America in recent years. This chapter aims first to signal the nature and distinct features of that transition, and secondly to indicate a set of criteria for judging current progress towards a more democratic order in the region.


Authoritarian Regime Democratic System Peace Accord Reagan Administration Southern Cone 
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Copyright information

© Institute of Latin American Studies 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Sieder

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