Costa Rica has the strongest democracy in the region, and ranks near the top, among the 18 countries of Latin America, according to the Democratic Development Index, published this month by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
Following a slight erosion in the credibility of national institutions, Costa Rica finds itself in second place in the hemisphere, behind Uruguay and ahead of Chile.
Panama slipped lost two positions in the list, to sixth overall, while staying in second place regionally.
Guatemala has the weakest democratic institutions of Central America, and the second worst of the continent, ahead only of Venezuela.
The index measures civil liberties , gender equality, corruption , political pluralism, access to public information and press freedom, among other indicators ( figures reflect the position of each Central American country in the overall ranking).
1. Costa Rica (2)
2 . Panama (6)
3 . El Salvador (9)
4 . Nicaragua (12)
5 . Honduras (14)
6 . Guatemala (17)