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Region: democracy doesn’t dazzle

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Central America's democratic vocation has declined in recent years, according to the 2013 report by Latinobarómetro, a Chile-based pollster.

On the other hand, support for democratic institutions in the region is considerably higher than in Mexico.

Fewer than half of Central Americans agreed with the statement that "Democracy is the best form of government", while the average for Latin America was 56 percent.

Even in Costa Rica, the oldest democracy in Latin America, support for representative government has slumped to 53 percent, compared to 69 percent in 1995.

Approval of democracy in the other Central American countries ranges between a figure of close to 50 percent, as is the case of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Panama, and just over 40 percent, in the case of Honduras and Guatemala.

Indifference to politicians and political institutions, and not a preference for authoritarian government, is the main reason for the low numbers in Central America, according to Latinobarómetro.

Support for democracy among Central Americans may be tepid.

But it is impressive in comparison with Mexico, where the figure is only 37%, lowest in Latin America.