UCSD Political Science Democratic Regimes in Latin America Essay Questions

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UCSD Political Science Democratic Regimes in Latin America Essay Questions
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Essay Questions

1. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, most democratic regimes in Latin America col-
lapsed and were replaced by military regimes. Why did this happen? We
considered several explanations, including economic problems, political
polarization, presidentialism, and changing military missions tied to the
US’ Cold War agenda. Which, if any, of these do you find particularly
compelling? Why?
A good way to tackle this essay would be to review the explanations for
regime collapse, then examine evidence from the Chilean case, and to a
lesser extent, Cuba and Argentina.
2. Compare the Cuban revolution with the Chilean coup d’etat. Why did
the Batista regime collapse in Cuba? Why did the Allende regime fail?
What lessons can be learned about the threats to dictatorship and the
threats to democracies?
One way to tackle this essay would be to start with a list of similarities and
differences in the political history of each country, then build an argument
from the patterns that emerge.
3. What motivated leftist activists in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s in Latin
America? To what extent was their behavior motivated by nationalism,
a rejection of the status quo, or pure ideological belief? Which belief
system was/is most compelling? Does the nature of motivation vary across
country, context, or social class? Why?
4. Was Cuba the right example of social revolution for the rest of Latin
America? That country inspired would-be revolutionaries across the re-
gion, and terrified elites and security forces. Should it have? Why or why


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