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What Justice? Whose Justice?Fighting for Fairness in Latin America$
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Susan Eva Eckstein and Timothy Wickham-Crowley

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520237445

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520237445.001.0001

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Presidential Crises and Democratic Accountability in Latin America, 1990–1999

Presidential Crises and Democratic Accountability in Latin America, 1990–1999

(p.98) CHAPTER FOUR Presidential Crises and Democratic Accountability in Latin America, 1990–1999
What Justice? Whose Justice?

Susan Eva Eckstein

Timothy P. Wickham-Crowley

University of California Press

Despite being awash in the democratization waves of the 1980s and beyond, Latin America saw substantial confrontations between the legislative and the executive. The attempt by both parties at achieving relative power over the other gave birth to a whole new field of inquiry. While autogolpes or self-coups became the weapon of the authoritarian executive, that of the legislative was impeachment. While in parliamentary democracy impeachment materializes through no-confidence motions, in presidential forms of government they lead to formidable confusion, and in the process, pave the way for prospective self-coups. This chapter seeks to trace the genesis of the impeachment crisis that characterized the 1990s. While the democratic surge of the 1980s bred political elites conscious of the hazards of military intervention, and unwilling to employ unconstitutional means to evict corrupt/ineffective presidents, the dilapidated development models and the 1980s debt crisis compelled the new governments to accelerate privatization and trade liberalizations.

Keywords:   democratization, self-coup, impeachment, political elite, military intervention, debt crisis

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