In this volume, editors Paul W. Drake and Eric Hershberg are deeply pessimistic about the possibilities for legitimate, capable, democratic states in the five Andean countries (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela). Their pessimism is shared by virtually all recent editors of books on the Andean region, including Jo-Marie Burt and Philip Mauceri in Politics in the Andes: Identity, Conflict, Reform (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004); Russell Crandall, Guadalupe Paz, and Riordan Roett in The Andes in Focus: Security, Democracy, and Economic Reform (Lynne Rienner, 2005); and Scott Mainwaring, Ana María Bejarano, and Eduardo Pizarro Leongómez in The Crisis of Democratic Representation in the Andes (Stanford University Press, 2006). There is little doubt that the Andean region has been racked by sharper overlapping geographic, ethnic, and class cleavages than other parts of Latin America, and that “no inspiring, unifying national project loomed on...

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