What conditions contribute to the success or failure of reformist policies in Latin America is a question which structures Catherine Conaghan's analysis of politics during the 1970s and early 1980s in Ecuador. . . . This fine book is important reading for anyone seriously interested in Ecuadorian politics, or in the broader questions of reformist politics in Latin America.
The industrial development of Ecuador has made fortunes for some, but has largely bypassed the general population. Armed by its new power, the bourgeoisie has captured sate mechanisms for its own advancement, leading to the paradox of a “democratic authoritarianism.” In this study, Catherine M. Conaghan views the crucial differences between the social and economic changes in newly developed Latin American nations and those of the southern cone. Using Ecuador as her case study, she shows how industrial growth has given birth to an exclusive, ingrown bourgeoisie that is highly dependent on the state and foreign capital and is increasingly alienated from the peasants and urban poor.
Conaghan has produced a work of modest length that nonetheless addresses important intellectual issues.
Ecuadorian General Guillermo Rodrigues Lara (1972-1976) was not the ordinary Latin American military ruler. Seeking reform not repression, he won the unflagging support of the Communist Party, if the undying enmity of the wealthy. Catherine M. Conaghan successfully explores this intriguing topic, drawing especially from interviews with leaders in industry, banking, government, and political parties. . . . a most significant contribution.
Catherine M. Conaghan is professor of political science at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Her research has included fieldwork in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. She is the author of Fujimori’s Peru: Deception in the Public Sphere and Restructuring Domination: Industrialists and the State in Ecuador, and is the coauthor of Unsettling Statecraft: Democracy and Neoliberalism in the Central Andes. She has been a visiting scholar at Princeton University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Miami, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the University of San Diego, the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, American University, and the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales-Ecuador. In 2013 she was appointed as the Sir Edward Peacock Professor of Latin American Politics.