Date of Award

Spring 2006

Document Type



Political Science & International Relations

First Advisor

Erik Pratt

Second Advisor

David Messenger

Third Advisor

Phillip Wittman


Latin America has been a volatile region when it comes to politics over the past 50 years. While some of this could be attributed to the Cold War era and the United States and Soviet Union’s meddling in the political processes of Latin America, there are reasons for government problems and instability that go far deeper than the foreign policies of two past superpowers. Some countries have experienced relatively calm political transitions, and others have experienced volatile revolutions and coups. These countries of the developing world, also known as the “Third World,” have not yet attained the industrial development that countries like the United States or western European nations now have. Many of the reasons for these difficulties lie within the countries themselves. For many countries, the barriers preventing their development seem never-ending, and many within these countries look at development prospects with despair and skepticism. William Easterly describes this in The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics', “the majority of the world’s population have not yet said goodbye to the bad old days before development. The majority of the world’s population is not as fortunate as I to be borne along on rivers of prosperity.”5 Easterly’s words bring to life the popular attitudes among the people of the developing world.