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Recent studies from around the hemisphere offer some intriguing new takes on current issues. The Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL)—a Buenos Aires-based research institution founded in 2003—compiles the annual indices that have become all the rage, with institutions now measuring democratic liberty, corruption, development of market economies, and government transparency. CADAL’s December 2008 report, titled, Democracy, Market and Transparency, found that Chile continued to earn the highest composite rating in Latin America in these categories. Uruguay, at number 22 globally, was just five positions behind Chile, surpassing both France and Spain on the worldwide scale as a result of advancements in tackling corruption.
In the field of security, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC published the ground-breaking Reforma de las fuerzas armadas en América Latina y el impacto de las amenazas irregulares (Reform of Latin America’s Armed Forces and the Impact of Irregular Threats) in mid-2008. Chapters look at how countries can adapt to present-day challenges. The volume has contributions from policymakers and scholars examining security reform and drugs, gangs and crime in a number of countries including El Salvador, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru.
As the result of a multi-year research project, Plataforma Democrática has compiled a database of 450 Latin America/democracy-oriented research centers and think tanks. For easy, one-stop access to all of them, check out the website, which maintains an online library. This Rio de Janeiro-based organization announced in January 2009 that its digital library had surpassed 6,000 texts. Beyond its virtual reference center, Plataforma has also created a network of 30 research institutions across Latin America and a young-leader program.
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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.