In the Wake of War assesses the consequences of civil war for democratization in Latin America, focusing on questions of state capacity. Contributors focus on seven countries—Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru—where state weakness fostered conflict and the task of state reconstruction presents multiple challenges. In addition to case studies, the book explores cross-cutting themes including the role of the international community in supporting peace, the explosion of post-war criminal and social violence, and the value of truth and historical clarification.

This book completes a fifteen-year project, “Program on Comparative Peace Processes in Latin America,” which also led to the 1999 publication of the book Comparative Peace Processes in Latin America.

Cynthia J. Arnson is the director of the Latin American Program at the Wilson Center. With Carlos de la Torre, she is also the editor of Latin American Populism in the Twenty-First Century (2013).



Tables and Figures

1 Introduction: Conflict, Democratization, and the State
Cynthia J. Arnson

2 Democracy and Governance in Conflict and Postwar Latin America: A Quantitative Assessment
Dinorah Azpuru

Commentary: Democratic Consolidation in Postconflict States in Latin America—Insights from the Peace-Building and Fragile States Literature
Stewart Patrick

3 The Peace Process and the Construction of Democracy in El Salvador: Progress, Deficiencies, and Challenges
Ricardo Córdova Macías and Carlos G. Ramos

4 The Limits of Peace and Democracy in Guatemala
Edelberto Torres-Rivas

5 Nicaragua’s Pacted Democracy
Shelley A. McConnell

6 A Historical Perspective on Counterinsurgency and the “War on Drugs” in Colombia
Marco Palacios

Commentary: Two Decades of Negotiation in Colombia— Contrasting Results and Missed Opportunities
Ana María Bejarano

7 Peace in Peru, but Unresolved Tasks
Carlos Basombrío Iglesias

8 The Crisis in Chiapas: Negotiations, Democracy, and Governability
Raúl Benítez Manaut, Tania Carrasco, and Armando Rodríguez Luna

9 An Illusory Peace: The United Nations and State Building in Haiti
Johanna Mendelson Forman

10 Europe’s Role in Fostering Peace in Central America and Colombia
Markus Schultze-Kraft

11 Political Transition, Social Violence, and Gangs: Cases in Central America and Mexico
José Miguel Cruz, Rafael Fernández de Castro, and Gema Santamaría Balmaceda

12 Why Truth Still Matters: Historical Clarification, Impunity, and Justice in Contemporary Guatemala
Victoria Sanford

Commentary: “Eppur Si Muove”—Truth and Justice in Peru after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Carlos Iván Degregori

13 Conclusion
Cynthia J. Arnson



“Cindy Arnson’s opening essay as editor sets the scene and poses the key questions raised by the collection of essays in a lucid and thought-provoking way.… Overall, this collection of essays is an excellent place to start from for understanding the range of challenges which have faced Latin America in the recovery from armed conflict and for assessing the progress towards peace and democracy.”—Jenny Pearce, Bulletin of Spanish Studies

“The volume has a high degree of internal consistency among the case studies, and Arnson provides both a clear introduction and an insightful conclusion. Of interest to social scientists involved in comparative politics and in international relations, this work belongs in academic libraries with significant Latin American holdings.... Recommended.”—J. A. Rhodes, CHOICE

“By detailing the structural factors that have affected the prospects for democracy in these war-torn states, this book should be of keen interest to observers of postwar societies and democratization both within Latin America and beyond.”—Foreign Affairs

“This book is invaluable and there is a need for it. It is important to try to assess the longer-term legacy of civil war in Latin America.”—Cynthia McClintock, George Washington University

“The authors pull together rich and detailed insights from the most remote corners of Latin America, which are complemented by comparative analyses and regional perspectives.”—David Shirk, University of San Diego