Projects in Latin America
Argentina gained its independence from Spain in 1816. In the aftermath of World War II, Juan Perón and his party ruled the country with an iron fist, until the coup d’état in 1976. Democracy returned to Argentina in 1983, but from then on, development has been turbulent. Carlos Menem, the president-elect of 1989, reformed the Argentine economy allowing it to develop for the greater part of the 90s.
Bolivia gained its independence from Spain in 1825. Its history since then has been that of military coups – about 200 coups and counter-coups have taken place since its independence. During the 80s, however, the country transitioned to a relatively democratic civil government.
In 1973, the Marxist government of Chile was overthrown in a military coup led by Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet continued to rule Chile until 1990 when he was succeeded by a democratically elected president. Chile has been a prominent example of a successful Latin American economy.
Colombia emerged as one of three states after the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830. The other two were Ecuador and Venezuela. For the last 40 years, the strife-ridden country has been in a state reminiscent of civil war as paramilitary guerillas fight for control. The proceeds from the narcotics traffic help fund the conflict. The guerilla and the paramilitary groups lack public support and their attempts at overthrowing the government have so far been unsuccessful.
Costa Rica is a Latin American success story. The country is a stable democracy. It has ratified the main conventions on human rights and there are no obvious problems with their implementation.
The Dominican Repulic
The Dominican Republic is located on the eastern half of the island Hispaniola, while Haiti is located on the western half. There is a conspicuous difference between the two countries. Haiti is among the poorest countries in Latin America, while the Dominican Repulic ranks among the most successful ones.
Ecuador emerged as one of three states after the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830. The other two were Colombia and Venezuela. Between the years of 1904 and 1942, Ecuador was forced to cede territory due to conflicts with its neighbors. Politically, the situation in Ecuador has been turbulent at times.
El Salvador gained its independence from Spain in 1821. It seceded from the Central American Federation in 1839. El Salvador was plagued by a drawn-out civil war, which finally came to an end in 1992, when the government and the leftist rebels signed a peace agreement.
Guatemala gained its independence from Spain in 1821. During the latter part of the 20th century, Guatemala was plagued by a 36-year long civil war and by political instability with a long row of civil and military governments succeeding one another. In 1996, a peace treaty was signed that put an end to a war that had claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands.
Honduras gained its independence from Spain in 1821. In 1982, the country got its first democratically elected civil government thereby putting an end to decades of military governments. During the 80s, Nicaraguan Contras sought refuge in Honduras from the marxist Sandinista government.
Mexico was under Spanish rule for over 300 years until it gained its independence in the beginning of the 18th century. The 2000 elections were the first time since the Mexican revolution in 1910 that the opposition parties managed to defeat Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI).
Nicaragua formed an independent republic in 1838. In 1979 the Sandinistas ascended to power after a brief civil war. Free elections were first held in 1990 and the Sandinistas suffered a devastating defeat. This pattern was repeated in 1996 and 2001.
From 1865 to 1870 the War of the Triple Alliance raged with Paraguay on the losing side. Two thirds of all adult males were killed and Paraguay lost a lot of territory. In the aftermath of the war, Paraguay stagnated politically and economically. During the years of 1954-1989, Paraguay was ruled by a junta led by Alfredo Stroessner. The country’s economy was mismanaged and Paraguay became a haven for Nazi war criminals and businessmen seeking to evade domestic prosecution. For the last 10-15 years, however, Paraguay has developed in a more democratic direction.
Present day Peru has been home to many ancient civilizations, of which the Incan empire is the most renowned. In 1533, however, the Spanish conquistadors defeated the Incans. Peru gained its independence from Spain in 1821. More recently, Peru was governed by a military regime until 1980 when it was succeeded by a democratically elected government. The 80s were a decade marked by economic crises and riots.
Venezuela emerged as one of three states after the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830. The other two were Ecuador and Colombia. During the first half the 20th century, Venzuela was governed by military regimes of a relatively peaceful disposition.