The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars sponsored a congressional study trip to El Salvador and Guatemala from April 13 through April 18, 2009. It was organized by the Wilson Center on the Hill Program and the Latin American Program at the Wilson Center. The trip focused on two issues that are critical for the United States’ relationships with countries across Central America – security and economic development.
This book comparatively explores the obstacles countries face in sustaining and consolidating democratic systems. Topics include social services, poverty, and inequality, specific case studies, and how government policy and development practices improve the quality of life of citizens in democratic regimes.
This paper seeks the publics' answer to the question "transition to what?" While public opinion is only one piece of the complex mosaic necessary to understand the changes in the region, the revolutions of 1989 have certainly shown that mass publics cannot be ignored. Based on over thirty national surveys in Central and East Europe commissioned by the United States Information Agency (USIA) over the last three years, the authors examine public beliefs about the role of the individual and the state, the degree of public support for market reform, and attitudes toward ethnic rights as well as assessments of "outsiders." After consideration of each of these dimensions, they present a typology classifying countries based on public attitudes.
May 2004 - Seemingly discredited just a few short years ago, the nationalist parties that were the main perpetrators of war, undemocratic politics and economic mismanagement in the former Yugoslavia's two largest successor states have made an electoral comeback after several years of rule by reformist, pro-Western coalitions. In Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ-Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica), which held a virtual monopoly on political power throughout the 1990s, won the largest number of seats (43 percent) in the November 2003 parliamentary elections and became the governing party in a four-party coalition and Ivo Sanader, the HDZ leader, became prime minister. The far-right Croatian Party of Rights (HSP-Hrvatska Stranka Prava) doubled its representation in parliament from four to eight seats, but did not join the ruling coalition. In the Serbian parliamentary election of December 2003, the top vote- and seat-getter (32 percent of parliamentary seats) was the Serbian Radical Party (Srpska Radikalna Stranka—SRS) of Vojislav Seselj, currently detained in the Netherlands for war crimes. The SRS, albeit never the ruling party in Serbia, had played a key role as the ideological surrogate of Slobodan Milosevic and the former ruling Serbian Socialist Party (SPS-Srpska Partija Socjalisticka). Besides helping Milosevic solidify his nationalist credentials, the SRS also performed some of the former regime's dirty work by organizing paramilitaries to fight in Croatia and Bosnia. The SPS itself managed to win only 22 seats in the December 2003 election. Both Seselj and Milosevic topped their parties' lists and were elected in absentia. Despite its strong showing in the election, however, the SRS did not form a government, a task that was undertaken by a group of democratically-minded parties led by the Serbian Democratic Party (DSS-Demokratska Stranka Srbije) of Vojislav Kostunica, who decided, to the great dismay of Western diplomats, to seek nominal support of Milosevic's Socialists for his government. These developments (along with the fact that nationalist parties prevailed in 2002 federal elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina) could lead some observers to find a resurgent nationalism throughout the Balkans.
As Brazil implements its System for Vigilance of the Amazon (SIVAM), the country's leadership touts it as a major effort towards achieving its national security objectives, but lack of transparency and participation raise concerns.
October 1998 - The mass-based, extreme brand of nationalism, connected with the rise of Slobodan MiloŠevic and with the most cataclysmic years of Yugoslavia's meltdown and disintegration (1990-93), has to a large extent dissipated. However, political forces advancing extreme nationalist sentiments, as well as popular support for those views, remain strong in Serbia and among Serbs in other areas such as Kosovo and the Republika Srpska (as we have just seen from the electoral results in Bosnia). Although intellectual ideologists of Serbian nationalism and ultra-nationalism have been dispirited by MiloŠevic's failures, fundamental views about Serbia's national and territorial interests persist, related to feelings of "wounded national pride." Talk of pursuing a "Greater Serbia" and open revanchism are now rather less visible, as soul-searching occurs about recent Serb experiences in the Balkans. There is still, however, a strong commitment in various circles to the pursuit of Serbian national interests, as well as resentment about what has occurred over the last decade.
October 2005 - The constitutional structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina is complex, emerging as it did from a peacemaking process between Serb forces of Republika Srpska and a coalition of Bosniak (or Muslim) and Croat forces under the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of the fundamental obligations of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its two subordinate Entities, Republika Srpska (RS) and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), arise from the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Annexes, often called the Dayton Accords, signed in Paris on December 14, 1995.
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This two-part report presents the findings of the August 1999, Freedom House assessment mission to Kosovo, as well as the author's own September 1999 trip to Serbia. It focuses on the status of civil society, specifically non-governmental organizations, development. The overall goal of the four person assessment team to Kosovo was to determine the conditions, status, and potential for development of civil society and democratic governance in the war-torn province and to formulate recommendations to strengthen its transition to a democratic society based on the rule of law. In the author's visit to Belgrade he observed another face of Serbia, and aims to share it with those who are genuinely interested in assisting Serbia and the rest of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in its transition to a stable and democratic country.