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Drug War PathologiesEmbedded Corporatism and U.S. Drug Enforcement in the Americas$
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Horace A. Bartilow

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469652559

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469652559.001.0001

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Democracy without Rights

Democracy without Rights

The Drug-War National Security State and Illiberal Democracies in Latin America

(p.154) Chapter 7 Democracy without Rights
Drug War Pathologies

Horace A. Bartilow

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter is motivated by the following question: What explains the determinants of illiberal democracies in Latin America and the prevalence of regime transitions from liberal to illiberal governance? The chapter argues that counternarcotic aid is the financial and diplomatic mechanism through which the corporatist drug enforcement regime has replicated essential features of the U.S. national security state in aid-recipient countries in Latin America for the purpose of fighting the drug war. The replication of the national security state and thereby the creation of a drug war national security state undermines the process of democratization and, in the process, produces illiberal regimes in the region. The drug-war-induced national security state explains not only the emergence of illiberal democracy in the region but also regressive regime transitions from liberal to illiberal governance. Probabilistic econometric models are used to analyze data for 19 Latin American countries covering the period 1978 to 2011. The findings show that U.S. counternarcotic aid increases, by 56 percent, the probability that a recipient government will be an illiberal democracy. And the risk of a liberal democratic government receiving aid and reverting to illiberal democracy increases by 44 percent.

Keywords:   democracy without rights, national security state, drug-war national security, illiberal democracy, counternarcotic aid, democratization, regime transitions

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