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Human Rights and Capitalism

A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Globalisation

Edited by Janet Dine and Andrew Fagan

Human Rights and Capitalism brings together two important facets of the globalisation debate and examines the complex relationship between human rights, property rights and capitalist economies.
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Chapter 13: Development, Democracy and Human Rights in Latin America, 1976–2000

Todd Landman


Todd Landman I. INTRODUCTION The final decades of the 20th century in Latin America saw a large number of economic, political and legal changes. Countries in the region saw a general economic transformation from a Keynesian state-led model of development to a more neo-liberal model, which has been largely driven by external forces related to the region’s extraction from the debt crisis through the imposition of structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (Brohman 1996). Complementing this shift from state-led to market-led economic development, many countries in the region experienced transitions from authoritarian rule. Starting with the Peruvian transition in 1978 and ending with the Mexican transition in 2000, a wave of democratisation has spread across the region such that Latin America has joined the ‘democratic universe’ even though the experience has been punctuated by democratic setbacks in Fujimoro’s Peru, Chavez’s Venezuela, and to a lesser extent Menem’s Argentina and Cardoso’s Brazil (Foweraker, Landman and Harvey 2003). Alongside these economic and political changes, the region has also emerged as a key terrain for the human rights movement. Through the promulgation of new constitutions (or the resurrection of old ones) and through ratification of international and regional human rights instruments, countries in the region have made new and extensive commitments to the de jure protection of human rights. On the ground, however, civil society organisations and human rights NGOs have monitored the de facto protection of human rights throughout the periods of authoritarian rule...

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