Could Democracy Backslide in Colombia?

By Javier Corrales

The country’s oil industry may hold the answer.

No Latin American country is truly free of the risk of democratic backsliding. Since 2000, the region has seen numerous cases of democracies that gradually acquire semi-authoritarian features. Colombia in fact already had an episode of backsliding under President Álvaro Uribe. A new outbreak of backsliding, this time from the left, is not inconceivable for any country, including Colombia. But if the risks are real in Colombia, they do not seem imminent—with one caveat. Energy institutions, despite their track record of strength, may very well represent the most worrisome institutional...

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