Texto para Discussão EESP/FGV n. 184, abril 2009. Trabalho preparado no quadro do estudo patrocinado pela Secretaria de Assuntos Políticos da Organização dos Estados Americanos, "Agenda sobre a Estatalidade para a Democracia na América Latina". Revisado em Junho de 2011.
A consolidate democracy supposes a capable state, and both require strong nation and active civil society. Several democracies in Latin America fail to attain such requirements because they did not complete their capitalist revolutions, and the economic surplus continues to depend on the direct control of the state. This fact shows that the quality of democracies varies from country to country, and predicts that the possible democracies in the poorer countries will be necessarily limited democracies. In so far as democracy became a justification for foreign pressure and foreign intervention, it is a mistake to include in the concept of democracy more than its minimum, procedural, requirements. On the other hand, in order to improve democracy it is necessary to enhance state capacity not only to assure the rule of law, but also to promote economic and social development.