Trouble in Central America: Crime, Hard Times, and Discontent

Issue Date April 2010
Volume 21
Issue 2
Page Numbers 123-135
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Central America confronts two key challenges, one stemming from the global economic crisis and the other from escalating levels of criminal and gang-related violence. Within the region, however, there is wide variation of the impacts of both challenges, with some countries doing far better than others. AmericasBarometer survey data reveal that public levels of frustration with economic performance and institutions and support for democracy vary considerably. The extreme case of multiple frustration is Honduras, suggesting that the 2009 coup that took place there occurred in part because of elites’ reactions to citizen dissatisfaction. The article also raises concerns about Guatemala based on those same data.

About the Authors

Mitchell A. Seligson

Mitchell A. Seligson is Centennial Professor of Political Science and Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. He is the director of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), which carries out the AmericasBarometer surveys.

View all work by Mitchell A. Seligson

John A. Booth

John A. Booth is Regents Professor of Political Science at the University of North Texas and Americas-Barometer country-team director for Nicaragua. He is coauthor (with Mitchell A. Seligson) of The Legitimacy Puzzle in Latin America: Democracy and Political Support in Eight Nations (2009).

View all work by John A. Booth