. 5
( 10)


liberalization on the society. In addition to the fact that marketization ap-
pears to be recreating precisely the socioeconomic conditions that ignited
the Nicaraguan con¬‚ict in the ¬rst place, it also seems to be eroding popular
support for the country™s new liberal democratic institutions, all of which
suggests that the effects of economic liberalization may be undermining the
accomplishments of democratization efforts in Nicaragua. More generally,
the Nicaraguan case offers further evidence that liberalization sometimes
works against the goal of promoting a stable and lasting peace in countries
that are just emerging from civil wars, not only because the political or eco-
nomic dimensions of liberalization can be destabilizing in and of themselves,
but also because the processes of marketization and democratization are
capable of working at cross-purposes.
Nor are there any signs that the government of Nicaragua will pursue
more balanced growth strategies in the foreseeable future. In 1998, the gov-
ernment signed a new agreement with the IMF that made international loans
and debt relief contingent on Managua™s implementing new austerity poli-
cies, including a further round of cuts to government spending and public-
sector layoffs “ policies that the president of Nicaragua, Arnoldo Aleman,
has described as necessary, but “painful and bitter” for the poor. Other
commentators, however, do not view such rapid and radical adjustment as
necessary; they advocate instead a more equitable approach to reforms that
recognizes the importance of spreading the bene¬ts of economic growth and,

46 47 Kay 2001. 48 Anderson and Dodd 2002.
Booth and Walker 1999, p. 69.
49 Quoted in EURODAD 1998; see also MacDonald 1998.
The Peacebuilding Record

if necessary, delaying liberalization in order to enhance the prospects for a
lasting and stable peace in Nicaragua.50

El Salvador
El Salvador™s civil war began in the wake of a failed attempt to introduce
agrarian and social reforms in late 1970s. The reforms were intended in part
to change a “very unequal system of land tenure” and to reduce the political,
social, and economic control of the country™s small but powerful “coffee
oligarchy.”51 All previous efforts to challenge the dominance of this elite
had been squelched by the Salvadoran army, acting in concert with members
of the oligarchy. In 1980, when it was clear that the latest reform effort had
also failed, ¬ve communist revolutionary groups formed a new coalition “
the FLMN “ which in early 1981 launched an armed rebellion against the
Salvadoran regime. Thus began a twelve-year-long civil war that cost an
estimated seventy-¬ve thousand lives and displaced roughly one-quarter of
El Salvador™s population.52
After the 1987 meeting of Central American leaders in Esquipulas,
progress toward a peace settlement in El Salvador was slow. Periodic
discussions between the government and the FMLN in 1988 and 1989
brought no signi¬cant results,53 but in April 1990 the parties jointly declared
their desire to end the war and appealed to then“UN Secretary-General
Javier P´ rez de Cu´ llar for help in mediating the ensuing negotiations.54
e e
The secretary-general agreed, and a process of staged negotiations began,
leading eventually to the signing of a preliminary cease-¬re agreement on
December 31, 1991, and a comprehensive peace settlement two weeks later.55
This settlement became known as the Chapultepec Accord for the Mexican
location at which it was signed, bringing together several agreements that
the parties had reached over the preceding months.
The Chapultepec agreement comprised a detailed plan (¬lling nine chap-
ters and several annexes) for the demobilization and reintegration of former
combatants into civilian life, legalization of opposition parties, free and fair
elections, limited land reform, investigation of alleged human rights abuses,
retraining and professionalization of the judiciary and national police, es-
tablishment of civilian control over the armed forces, and reconstruction of
physical infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools, and clinics. In ad-
dition to setting out a vision for political and economic life in El Salvador,

50 See Chapter 10, where alternative approaches to economic adjustment in war-shattered states
are explored in the section “Adopt Con¬‚ict-Reducing Economic Policies.”
51 Baloyra 1982, pp. 2 and 22“32; and Moreno 1994, p. 31.
52 53 Fagan 1996, p. 217.
Karl 1992, p. 150; and United Nations 1996c, p. 195.
54 55 The cease-¬re took effect on February 1, 1992.
Dunkerly 1994, p. 72.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 123

Chapultepec also provided the blueprint for the subsequent peacebuilding
mission. The United Nations was the primary international agency called
upon to monitor the implementation of the Accord. A new UN peacebuild-
ing operation “ known by its Spanish acronym, ONUSAL “ was deployed
to verify all aspects of the cease-¬re, along with the demobilization and
reintegration of former combatants into civilian life, and to monitor the
maintenance of public order while the new civilian police force was set up.
ONUSAL also established of¬ces in El Salvador to receive and investigate
complaints of human rights violations, and to verify compliance with the
human rights provisions of the peace agreement.56
In May 1993, the operation™s mandate was further expanded to include
oversight of El Salvador™s ¬rst postcon¬‚ict elections, including voter regis-
tration, the campaign, voting, and every stage of vote counting. Although
the election, which was held in March and April 1994, was marred by
sporadic violence and polling irregularities, the outcome was regarded as
reasonably fair by most observers.57 The ruling party, the Alianza Republi-
cana Nacionalista (ARENA), retained the presidency in a runoff ballot with
68 percent of the popular vote, and took thirty-nine of eighty-four National
Assembly seats; while the FMLN (which, in the words of one observer,
had “succeeded remarkably in transforming itself from a clandestine op-
eration into an open, well-organized party”)58 won twenty-one seats in the
Peacebuilders also promoted economic liberalization in El Salvador. At
the behest of the international ¬nancial institutions, former Salvadoran Pres-
ident Alfredo Cristiani had implemented economic stabilization and struc-
tural adjustment policies shortly after taking of¬ce in mid-1989, eliminating
price controls, restructuring the tax system,60 and increasing water, electric-
ity, and transportation fees. These measures were reinforced and deepened
in 1991 in conjunction with the peace process, under the guidance of the
International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Inter-American De-
velopment Bank, which offered additional ¬nancial assistance to the Sal-
vadoran government in exchange for extensive market-oriented reforms.61
The FMLN, which had previously endorsed Marxist goals for the reorgani-
zation of Salvadoran society, apparently made a strategic decision to accept
the liberal economic model that the ARENA government insisted on contin-
uing in the postcon¬‚ict period.62

56 See Johnstone 1995.
57 Boyce 1995, p. 2074; Vilas 1995a, p. 8; and United Nations 1996b, p. 440.
58 Montgomery 1995, p. 253.
59 The Christian Democratic Party (PDC) took 18 seats, with the remaining 6 seats divided
among three smaller parties. Hampson 1996, p. 95.
60 61 Ibid. 62 Wood 1996, p. 77.
DGAP 1995; and del Castillo 2001.
The Peacebuilding Record

Despite delays in implementing various aspects of the peace agreement,63
El Salvador, like Nicaragua, is widely regarded as a peacebuilding success.64
At the time of this writing, the FMLN and other opposition groups remain
committed to pursuing their political goals through peaceful means. New
legislative and local elections were held in 1997, in conditions that the U.S.
State Department described as “free and peaceful,” and presidential elec-
tions in 1999 were also accepted as legitimate by local parties.65 Moreover,
the government™s liberal economic policies appear to have yielded relatively
high levels of growth and low levels of in¬‚ation. El Salvador™s real GDP, for
example, expanded at a yearly average of 6.0 percent from 1992 to 199666 “
a record that the World Bank deemed “a remarkable success story.”67 At
¬rst glance, then, the experience of El Salvador to date suggests that peace-
building promoted both political stability and economic prosperity, and set
the country on the path to a stable and lasting peace.
As in Nicaragua, however, closer examination reveals a more complex
story. Democratic elections helped to transfer the con¬‚ict from the battle-
¬eld to the political arena, but economic liberalization policies promoted by
the IMF and World Bank appear to have exacerbated the very socioeconomic
conditions that precipitated war in the ¬rst place. Since the arrival of Span-
ish settlers in the mid-sixteenth century, the inhabitants of what is now El
Salvador have always been sharply divided between a wealthy landowning
elite and an impoverished peasantry, and the country™s history is punctuated
by a series of popular uprisings that have sought to overturn the political
and economic domination of the elite and to achieve a more equitable distri-
bution of land, wealth, and political power across Salvadoran society. All of
these uprisings were eventually suppressed by the armed forces, but the per-
petuation of high levels of poverty and income inequality laid the foundation
for future uprisings, followed in turn by further authoritarian repression “ a
pattern which, over time, produced recurring cycles of revolutionary violence
in the country.
El Salvador™s internationally mandated economic reforms have included
cutbacks in government expenditures and public-sector employment, aimed
at restoring balance to national ¬nances and reducing the state™s role in
the economy. These cutbacks have had a disproportionately detrimental
effect on the less af¬‚uent members of society, particularly the rural poor
and urban working class, and living conditions for the bulk of the popula-
tion have not improved signi¬cantly since the implementation of these re-
forms. El Salvador™s human development index “ a measure of general social

63 There were delays in demobilization (see CIIR 1993, pp. 12“13; and Dunkerly 1994, pp. 4“
75), land reform (see Fagan 1996, p. 232), and establishing the new civilian police force (see
Wood and Segovia 1995, p. 2093).
64 Hampson 1996, p. 69; and Montgomery 1997, p. 61.
65 66 EIU 1997b, p. 76. 67 World Bank 1996b, p. 1.
Associated Press 1997 (March 18).
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 125

well-being that includes per capita income, literacy, and life expectancy “ fell
by over 10 percent in the ¬rst six years of the economic adjustment program,
although it had recovered by the late 1990s.68
While there have been improvements in the areas of health and educa-
tion,69 postwar economic growth has primarily enriched a very narrow seg-
ment of the population, including urban elites that originally made their
money from coffee and sugar and are now involved in a wider range of ex-
port and ¬nancial enterprises.70 Parts of the countryside, by contrast, such
as the province of Morazan, remain stuck at human development levels sim-
ilar to those of sub-Saharan Africa.71 As a result of this unequal growth,
wealth became even more concentrated in El Salvador during the period
of economic liberalization and restructuring: The country™s Gini index, for
example, was 0.5050 in 1995; and despite relatively high levels of annual
GDP growth, the index rose to 0.5589 by 1998, meaning that the bene¬ts of
economic liberalization were concentrated in the hands of a small minority
and that the distributional inequalities had widened.72
If the principal purpose of peacebuilding is to remediate the underlying
sources of con¬‚ict in states that have recently experienced internal wars,
then one might expect, given El Salvador™s history, that peacebuilding efforts
would attempt to ameliorate the problems of pervasive poverty and distribu-
tional inequality that have precipitated civil violence in the past, including the
most recent war. As Carlos Acevedo writes: “If El Salvador™s history during
the ¬rst three-quarters of the twentieth century offers any lesson for the cur-
rent postwar period, it is that the success of the peace process in the long run
will hinge on the country™s ability to redress the great inequalities of wealth
and power that imperil both economic and political stability.”73 In practice,
however, economic policies promoted by international peacebuilding agen-
cies seem to have had precisely the opposite effect, worsening rather than
ameliorating these problems. At best, the underlying conditions that drove
people to openly challenge the regime in the 1980s have remained largely
unchanged.74 Kimbra Fishel puts it this way: “Widespread structural ad-
justment policy has resulted in micro-economic dif¬culties which exacerbate
the initial social and economic causes of con¬‚ict.”75 Economic liberalization
policies, in short, appear to have worked against the consolidation of a stable
and lasting peace in El Salvador.

68 El Salvador™s human development index fell from 0.651 in 1987 (the ¬rst year of structural
adjustment) to 0.576 in 1993 (a decline of 11.5% over six years) despite the fact that the
Salvadoran GDP grew by an average of over 3% per annum over this period.
69 UNDP 1999a. This report was published before a major earthquake struck the region in
January 2001.
70 71 Rivera Campos 2000, pp. 220“221.
DGAP 1995.
72 73 Acevedo 1996, p. 19. See also Kay 2001.
Sz´ kely and Hilgert 1999, p. 34.
74 75 Fishel 1998, p. 33.
Walker and Armony 2000, p. 40.
The Peacebuilding Record

Indeed, as living standards for the bulk of the population have stagnated,
the incidence of violent and nonviolent crime in El Salvador has increased
dramatically, particularly in impoverished rural areas where the rate of un-
employment in 1994 was estimated to be near 80 percent of the economi-
cally active population.76 The Economist Intelligence Unit summarized the
situation in 1996: “Kidnappings, assaults, gangland-style assassinations and
organized, often drug-related, crime appear to be occurring more frequently,
as the in¬‚uence of drug-traf¬ckers and car thieves spreads.”77 A study pub-
lished by the Inter-American Development Bank showed that El Salvador
had the highest per capita homicide rate in the world in the mid-1990s.78
The total number of violent deaths far exceeded the estimated annual ¬gure
during the ¬nal years of the civil war, including both civilian and military
deaths,79 and reported homicides continued to climb through 2001.80 Many
of these murders were being committed by armed gangs that roamed the
cities and countryside, and which reportedly included ex-¬ghters from both
sides of the civil war.81 A large proportion of Salvadorans blame the dif¬cult
economic conditions, including high unemployment, for this crime wave.82
As in Nicaragua, the upsurge in crime was also linked to the presence of
thousands of former guerrilla ¬ghters, many of whom, unemployed, unsup-
ported by the state, and with no means of making a living, joined roving
criminal bands.83
Pervasive criminal violence has not only made living conditions for most
Salvadoran citizens more dangerous in the postwar period than in the preced-
ing period of civil war,84 but has also led to the creation of private vigilante
“crime control” groups.85 The Salvadoran government has implemented
measures to combat the violence, including emergency anticrime legislation
that increased penalties and simpli¬ed the process for convicting alleged
criminals, and it has deployed army units to assist police in high-crime areas

76 Vilas 1995a, p. 11.
77 EIU 1996a, p. 40. For additional descriptions of the crime problem in El Salvador, see Dalton
1996; Env´o 1997b; Evans 1998; and Fishel 1998.
78 Cited in EIU 1999a, p. 42.
79 In 1996, there were 8,047 reported homicides (EIU 1997b, p. 71). The annual number of
violent deaths in El Salvador in the latter years of the war was approximately 5,000 (Farah
80 Interpol 2003.
81 CIIR 1993, p. 16; Montgomery 1997, pp. 61“62; Boyce and Pastor 1997, p. 90; and Kovaleski
82 See Montgomery (1997, p. 61) for the results of public opinion polls conducted in El Salvador
in 1996.
83 Muoz 2000.
84 As Spence et al. (1997, p. 6) write: “For a majority of [Salvadoran] citizens life is less safe
now than during most of the war.” Farah (1996) makes the same argument.
85 Human Rights Watch 1994, p. 1; de Soto and del Castillo 1995, p. 190; Tracey 1995; Vilas
1995a, p. 6; and Stanley 1996, p. 11.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 127

of the country, but these measures have not succeeded in reducing the rate of
violent crime.86 Some observers argue that the government™s solution to the
crime problem is just as dangerous as the problem itself, because expanding
the role of the army for domestic crime ¬ghting violates the spirit if not the
letter of El Salvador™s postwar constitution, which prohibits the army from
playing a domestic policing role.87 There is evidence of government security
of¬cials using illegal methods against suspected criminals, including exces-
sive violence and human rights abuses “ techniques which have historically
been employed by Salvadoran governments to silence political opposition
groups.88 In short, the problem of rampant crime is not only a symptom of
persistent poverty, unequal economic growth, and social decay, which are
conditions that threaten the long-term political stability of the country; the
crime problem has also induced the government to respond in a manner
that raises concerns about the future of El Salvador™s new liberal democratic
Kimbra Fishel concludes that for all of these reasons, peace in El Salvador
is an “illusion.” This judgment, however, is too severe: Although violent
crime is endemic and the dangers of renewed political unrest still exist, the
war between the government and the FMLN is over, there is greater freedom
and tolerance of political activity, human rights violations have declined and
are openly monitored, and most former combatants have returned to civilian
life.89 The country™s economy has also revived since the end of the war, with
overall growth rates ranging from 1.7 percent to 7.5 percent annually in the
1990s.90 As in the case of Nicaragua, however, the bene¬ts of this growth
have gone mainly to the country™s small and already wealthy elite. Economic
growth in the aggregate is not suf¬cient to address the underlying sources of
recurring con¬‚ict in El Salvador. During the 1960s and 1970s, for example,
the Salvadoran economy grew rapidly, with GDP per capita rising at an
annual average of over 2 percent from 1962 to 1978,91 yet economic gains
were unevenly divided. In practice, Salvadoran workers actually lost one-¬fth
of their real purchasing power between 1973 and 1980.92 A similar pattern
recurred in the 1990s: Despite relatively high levels of aggregate economic
growth, real wages for working-class laborers in El Salvador declined by
7 percent between 1991 and 1999, which helps to explain why, as noted
earlier, distributional inequalities have also widened.93
Responsibility for the widening gulf between rich and poor in postwar
El Salvador lies partly with the international ¬nancial institutions that guided
the Salvadoran government through various adjustment programs in the
1990s. These policies emphasized rapid liberalization and the achievement

86 Stanley and Loosle 1998; Interpol 2003.
87 Stanley 1996, p. 12; and Montgomery 1997, p. 62.
88 89 Studemeister 2001 90 IADB 2001b.
Stanley 1996, p. 2; EIU 1996a, p. 46.
91 92 Ibid., p. 102. 93 ILO 2002.
Booth and Walker 1999, p. 101.
The Peacebuilding Record

of macroeconomic stability above other goals, such as poverty reduction, in
order to create the conditions for sustainable economic growth. But relying
so heavily on market forces as a strategy for economic development does
little, particularly in the short run, to address the long-standing grievances
of the poor majority of Salvadorans “ in fact, as we have seen, by some
measures the adjustment programs promoted by the IMF and World Bank
have left the poorest worse off than before. This is not the prescription for
stable and lasting peace in El Salvador, where disparities in wealth and living
conditions are factors that produced the con¬‚ict that only recently ended. In
the words of James Boyce and Manuel Pastor, “A failure to achieve broad
improvements in living standards would fuel social tensions and heighten
the risk of renewed war “ and a return to war would shatter hopes for eco-
nomic revival.”94 Rapid and far-reaching economic liberalization policies
have stimulated economic growth, but a type of growth that has done lit-
tle to remedy the underlying sources of con¬‚ict in the society, or what one
author describes as “impoverishing growth.”95 Indeed, the current com-
bination of endemic poverty, widening income inequalities, and pervasive
criminal violence suggests that liberal economic policies have, in several im-
portant ways, impeded rather than facilitated the consolidation of peace in
El Salvador.

International peacebuilding in Guatemala began in early 1997, after the
signing of a comprehensive peace accord in December 1996. Given that
little time has passed between then and the time of this writing, conclusions
about the outcome of the Guatemala mission must be even more provisional
than in the case of Nicaragua and El Salvador. Nevertheless, the Guatemala
case is worth exploring for several reasons: First, the international ¬nancial
institutions apparently recognized the adverse effects of rapid liberalization
in Nicaragua and El Salvador; second, these institutions have attempted to
correct such problems in their dealings with Guatemala; and third, despite
their efforts to learn from previous experiences in Nicaragua and El Salvador,
the World Bank and IMF have still not gone far enough in tempering and
targeting their economic adjustment policies to the particular circumstances
of deeply divided states that are just emerging from civil con¬‚icts.
Although Guatemala differs from its neighbors in that it possesses a very
large and relatively unintegrated Indian community (which makes up ap-
proximately 65 percent of the total population and is concentrated mainly
in rural areas), the country has much in common with El Salvador and
Nicaragua, including persistent and extreme socioeconomic inequalities that
have fueled recurring rounds of revolutionary violence. In fact, of all the

94 95
Boyce and Pastor 1997, p. 287. Perez-Brignoli 1989.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 129

countries in the world, Guatemala has the third most unequal distribution
of resources between rich and poor, according to the Gini index.96 This in-
equality re¬‚ects the historical domination of large-scale landowners over
the Guatemalan economy, which became especially pronounced in the late
nineteenth century, when huge estates in the countryside were dedicated
to growing coffee beans for export. By 1900, coffee accounted for 85 per-
cent of Guatemala™s exports, and land ownership was concentrated in the
hands of the so-called agro-elite, who also controlled the country™s politics
through a series of authoritarian regimes backed by the armed forces.97 As
in neighboring countries, Guatemalan peasants were often forced from their
lands, labeled “vagrants,” and coerced into providing cheap labor for the
Elections in 1944 brought to power populist governments, led by Juan
Jos´ Ar´ valo and Jacobo Arbenz, who implemented social and agrarian re-
forms, including the formation of farming cooperatives, social security, rural
education, a labor code, and ultimately the con¬scation and redistribution
of farmland to a hundred thousand peasants. These reforms faced strong op-
position from large landowners, including the U.S. banana company United
Fruit. In 1954, the Arbenz government was overthrown in a U.S.-backed
invasion and replaced with a succession of right-wing military and civilian
governments. These governments responded forcefully to the rural-based
insurgency “ an insurgency that gained varying degrees of support from ur-
ban dissidents, including student activists, labor unionists, and opposition
parties. Between 1981 and 1984 alone, an estimated 440 villages were to-
tally destroyed by security forces and private vigilantes; 50,000 people were
killed; 150,000 ¬‚ed to Mexico as refugees; and roughly 500,000 were inter-
nally displaced.98
In 1990, three years after the Esquipulas meeting, the Guatemalan gov-
ernment entered into peace negotiations with what remained of the main
rebel group, the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG). Over
the next several years, the parties reached several agreements: on human
rights (March 1994), the resettlement of displaced populations (June 1994),
the creation of a “historical clari¬cation commission” to investigate past
violence and human rights abuses (June 1994), the protection of indigenous
rights (March 1995), a cease-¬re (November 1995), socioeconomic and land
issues (May 1996), and civilian control of the armed forces (September 1996).
They also reached a ¬nal agreement that set out liberal democratic constitu-
tional reforms and rules for elections, legalized the URNG, and declared a
“de¬nitive” cease-¬re (December 1996).99 From 1994 onward, representa-
tives from the United Nations served as the facilitators of these talks, thus

96 Reding 2000, p. 1. Sierra Leone and Brazil have the world™s most unequal distribution.
97 98 Louise 1997, p. 53. 99 Jonas 2000, chap. 3.
Booth and Walker 1999, p. 45.
The Peacebuilding Record

“paving the way for signi¬cantly increased involvement by the international
community” in the Guatemalan peace process.100
The United Nations deployed a monitoring mission in 1994 (called the UN
Human Rights Veri¬cation Mission in Guatemala, or MINUGUA), whose
mandate was gradually expanded to include supervision of all aspects of the
peace accords, including the demobilization of approximately three thousand
URNG guerrillas and their weapons and the creation of a new civilian po-
lice force. Paralleling earlier peacebuilding achievements in Nicaragua and
El Salvador, the demobilization of the URNG proceeded successfully, and
national elections were held under relatively calm conditions in December
1999. In the area of human rights, however, international observers con-
tinued to express concerns about the treatment of journalists and activists,
and some feared that para-statal death squads continue to operate in the
country. In April 1998, the Roman Catholic Church released its “Recovery
of Historical Memory” report that detailed the impact of the war™s violence;
two days later, the bishop who oversaw the project was murdered, and the
Church sees military complicity in the homicide.101 The next two years wit-
nessed an increase in the number of reported threats and attacks on political
activists, human rights workers, members of the judiciary, and opposition
politicians.102 MINUGUA, whose mandate was extended through 2001, re-
ported assaults, death threats, and other acts of intimidation directed against
journalists, prosecutors, and judges who were directly or indirectly involved
in the investigation of government security forces.103 Whether these isolated
reports augur a return to systematic human rights abuses in Guatemala re-
mains to be seen.
In the area of economic reform, the provisions of the Guatemala peace set-
tlement differed from the economic measures undertaken in Nicaragua and
El Salvador. Three major international donors “ the IMF, the World Bank,
and the Inter-American Development Bank “ were in close communication
with UN mediators during the negotiation of the Guatemalan accords, and
apparently resolved to correct some of the problems that had arisen from the
economic adjustment process in El Salvador and Nicaragua.104 Speci¬cally,
they pressed for agreement on a so-called socioeconomic accord that en-
dorsed liberalization and macroeconomic stabilization but also committed
the Guatemalan government to increased levels of social welfare spending.
The rationale for this policy was drawn from the lessons learned by the
donor agencies in El Salvador and Nicaragua, where traditional structural
adjustment policies emphasized rapid movement toward ¬scal balance, low
in¬‚ation, and economic liberalization, but at the expense of distributional
equity. The ¬nancial institutions now argued that lasting peace would not
be possible without a reduction in Guatemala™s sharp social and economic

100 101 Holiday 2000, p. 80. 102 MacDonald 2001; Rosenberg 2001.
Jonas 1998.
103 104 Jonas 2000, p. 167.
A/55/174, July 26, 2000, para. 13.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 131

inequities,105 and regarded the country as a test case for a new approach
to “postcon¬‚ict sustainable development” in the fragile circumstances of
war-shattered states.106
Among other things, the socioeconomic accord set detailed targets for in-
creased state expenditure on education, health, social security, and housing;
committed the government to raising literacy and to providing at least three
years of schooling to all children between the ages of seven and twelve; and
set the goal of providing access to jobs in which real wages increased over
time. Regarding taxation, the accord mandated an increase in the ratio of
taxes to GDP from under 8 percent to 12 percent by 2000 “ in order to pay
for the increased social spending. Furthermore, the accord called for the cre-
ation of a more progressive system of taxation in the country, that is, one that
would make individual tax burdens more proportionate to income. So while
Guatemala™s postcon¬‚ict economic reform package retained the traditional
elements of structural adjustment, including liberalization and deregulation
of the economy, it also placed greater emphasis than the Nicaraguan and
Salvadoran economic reforms did on measures aimed at immediately reduc-
ing social and economic inequalities.
That, at least, was how the reforms were designed. In practice, however,
certain business interests in Guatemala (spearheaded by the Coordination
Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Associa-
tions) put pressure on the government not to increase taxation levels or re-
form the tax system to the detriment of wealthier citizens of Guatemala.107
In the face of this resistance, the government delayed full implementation
of these elements of the socioeconomic accord. In 2001, a year after the
ratio of taxes to GDP was supposed to have been raised to 12 percent in
order to pay for new social spending, the tax rate was still only 9.75 percent
of GDP, one of the lowest in Latin America.108 The government, in other
words, was ful¬lling its commitments to privatization and fuller liberaliza-
tion of the economy, apparently because these policies served the interests of
the Guatemalan business elite, but the government was dragging its feet in
executing elements of the socioeconomic accord that were intended to even
out the asymmetrical bene¬ts of marketization and to redistribute resources
from the wealthy to the poor.109
The international ¬nancial institutions called on the Guatemalan author-
ities to ful¬ll their commitments under the socioeconomic accord, but their
actions were not as strong as their words: They compromised with the gov-
ernment, allowing it to implement these commitments more slowly and over

105 106 Jonas 2000, pp. 168, 171, 174. 107 EIU 1999a, p. 18
Ruthrauff 1998.
108 IMF 2001.
109 As William Stanley and David Holiday (2002, p. 453) point out, “Without progress on the
tax front, all other measures the government takes to [address the problem of socioeconoic
inequality] are unsustainable.”
The Peacebuilding Record

a longer period. Further, the donor organizations backed away from their
insistence on more progressive taxation in Guatemala, accepting the gov-
ernment™s proposal to increase indirect, value-added taxes, which are borne
by all consumers regardless of their income level, rather than increasing per-
sonal income taxes.110
According to some observers, the IMF, World Bank, and Inter-American
Development Bank did not press the issue as vigorously and consistently
as they could have. “One rather imagines,” writes Susanne Jonas, for ex-
ample, “that the international ¬nancial institutions would have sent an ex-
tremely clear, consistent, and uni¬ed message if the Guatemalan government
were refusing to privatize or repay the foreign debt, rather than refusing
to tax the rich.”111 Be that as it may, international pressure and threats to
terminate their aid did ¬nally induce the Guatemalan regime to negotiate
a “Fiscal Pact” with business and civil society groups in May 2000. The
pact recommitted the government to raising the level of tax revenues to
12 percent by 2002, and to increasing the minimum tax rate and eliminating
tax loopholes, while meeting speci¬c targets for social spending.112 But soon
after signing the pact, the government backed out of it.113
Although the effects of these economic policies will become clearer in the
coming years, the bene¬ts of several years of aggregate economic growth
in Guatemala have not trickled down to the poor majority.114 As the UN
secretary-general reported in mid-2000, “Guatemalans do not see the peace
process as having brought about any major, tangible improvements in their
lives.”115 This situation is problematic for those who hope that peace will
be lasting and stable in Guatemala. As in Nicaragua and El Salvador, fail-
ure to address the underlying sources of recurrent revolutionary violence in
Guatemala “ including profound social and economic inequalities “ poses
a serious threat to the durability of the peace settlement. Indeed, there is
widespread agreement among observers of Guatemalan politics that “the
question of development remains central to the overall equation of building
peace” in the country.116 Unemployment rates remain very high (estimated
at over 40 percent), half the population earns less than a dollar a day, more
than a quarter of children under ¬ve years old are moderately to severely un-
derweight, and almost 90 percent of the indigenous population lives below
the poverty line.117
The historical record in Guatemala “ as well as Nicaragua and El Sal-
vador “ indicates that high levels of economic growth alone are not a suf-
¬cient remedy for the problem of recurring social unrest: In the 1960s and
1970s, the Guatemalan economy grew at an average of almost 3 percent

110 111 Jonas 2000, p. 178.
Ruthrauff 1998; Jonas 2000, pp. 177“180.
112 113 Economist 2001 (February 24).
IADB 2001c.
114 Business Week 2000 (November 6); Holiday 2000, p. 81.
115 116 Louise 1997, p. 55. See also Preti 2002.
A/55/175 (July 26, 2000), para. 48.
117 Reding 2000.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 133

annually, yet revolutionary movements gathered force as real wages fell and
income distribution worsened.118 Since the peace settlement was signed in
1996, the country has also experienced a period of economic growth, but
addressing the underlying causes of con¬‚ict will require further efforts to
convert this growth into improvements in living conditions for the major-
ity of Guatemalans “ that is, more equitable growth than the country has
experienced in the past. This, in turn, requires the international ¬nancial
institutions to act more forcefully in emphasizing income redistribution as
a condition of assistance, and to move even further away from the tradi-
tional model of structural adjustment that emphasizes economic ef¬ciency
over equity.
Moreover, there may be limited time to address these problems. Persistent
poverty, unemployment, and easy access to weapons have contributed to an
upsurge in violent crime in Guatemala since 1996, including soaring rates of
kidnapping, theft, and homicide.119 As two World Bank observers wrote
in 2000, “Guatemala has become a substantially more violent country
since the end of the internal armed con¬‚ict.”120 In the countryside, a ma-
jor source of violence and insecurity is disputes over landownership, which
re¬‚ect the government™s failure to carry out its commitment in the peace
settlement to address the country™s long-standing land tenure problem “
over 70 percent of arable land is still owned by less than 3 percent of the
population.121 Some commentators express concern that the crime problem
may encourage the government to expand the domestic policing role of the
Guatemalan military, opening the door to a return of political repression
under the cover of crime ¬ghting.122 Indeed, MINUGUA™s July 2000 report
on the situation in Guatemala contained this warning: “Faced with the high
crime rate, and especially the impact of kidnappings, which serve to heighten
the perception of a climate of insecurity, the State has allowed persons or
groups outside the competent institutions to become involved in police inves-
tigations, on the pretense of supporting prosecutors, judges and victims.”123
MINUGUA also stated “ with remarkable bluntness for a United Nations
document “ that serious human rights violations have been committed by
government security forces, including extrajudicial executions.124 These de-
velopments pose a danger not only to the integrity of the 1996 peace set-
tlement, which called for a demilitarization of the society, but also to the
survival of Guatemala™s ¬‚edgling democracy.

The process of political liberalization in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and
Guatemala has provided opportunities for former belligerents to pursue their

118 Booth and Walker 1999, pp. 118“120.
119 Jonas 1997, p. 9; UNDP 1999b, pp. 5“6; Child 2000, p. 181.
120 121 Holiday 1997, p. 68; Black 1998; Reding 2000, p. 21.
Moser and McIlwaine 2000.
122 123 A/55/174 (July 26, 2000), para. 83. 124 Ibid., paras. 8, 19.
Jonas 1998.
The Peacebuilding Record

respective political objectives through peaceful means, but the effects of in-
ternationally sponsored economic-adjustment policies appear to be eroding
the relative success of democratic reforms and undermining the prospects of
a stable and lasting peace in all three countries. The principal weakness in
the Wilsonian prescription for postcon¬‚ict peacebuilding in Central America
is that it has failed to address the underlying sources of violent con¬‚ict in
the region. “Central America™s warring nations,” wrote the New York Times
in a March 1999 editorial,
have essentially returned to the conditions of misery and inequality that caused the
wars to begin with. While El Salvador has experienced steady economic growth,
poverty in rural areas remains unchanged. In Nicaragua, the poor are worse off than
at its war™s end. . . . Even the local governments admit that free-market changes have
so far mainly served the urban wealthy and middle class.125

These observations correspond to the view that now prevails among many
commentators: Peace will not last in these countries if it means a return to the
living conditions that sparked the wars.126 Economic growth is important,
but it is not enough, since unbalanced growth will not reduce the enormous
disparities in wealth and well-being that have traditionally fueled unrest in
these countries. Unless these disparities are reduced, democratic consolida-
tion will remain uncertain, and the threat of renewed violence will likely
All of this suggests that the Wilsonian emphasis on simultaneous political
and economic liberalization as a remedy for civil con¬‚icts is problematic.
Economic liberalization and adjustment programs have promoted free mar-
kets, helped to restore macroeconomic balance and led to several years of
economic growth in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala, but they have
also “reinforced historical tendencies toward profound social inequality” in
these countries.127 As we shall see in Chapter 10, the international ¬nan-
cial institutions have established “social investment funds” to counterbal-
ance the deleterious effects of liberal economic adjustment on vulnerable
communities, but in Central America, these funds have been too small and
temporary to have signi¬cant effects on poverty and distributional inequal-
ities.128 The Guatemalan case, however, suggests that international lenders
may be starting to recognize that market-based development strategies can
have dangerous effects in countries that are just emerging from civil wars.

125 New York Times 1999 (March 11).
126 Vilas 1995b; Vickers 1995; Arias 1997; Boyce and Pastor 1997; Robinson 2000.
127 128 McCleary 1999, p. 426.
Vilas 2000, p. 227.

Namibia and Mozambique
Success Stories in Southern Africa?

In the wake of peacebuilding missions in Namibia and Mozambique, the
danger of resurgent con¬‚ict in both countries appears remote. Namibia has
enjoyed more than a decade of domestic peace with little internal unrest,
and at the time of this writing, there are no signs of renewed insurgency
or intergroup violence. Although the durability of peace in Mozambique
seems less secure than in Namibia, Mozambique has enjoyed the longest
period of peace and stability in its history since its con¬‚ict came to an end
in 1994. Yet the apparent success of Wilsonian peacebuilding policies in
these two countries is not without quali¬cation: Like Croatia, both coun-
tries offered unusually propitious conditions for postcon¬‚ict liberalization,
not least because major parties to their con¬‚icts were external parties who ef-
fectively withdrew from the countries when the wars ended, thereby reducing
the risks of rapid liberalization exacerbating tensions among formerly war-
ring parties within these states. Indeed, neither the con¬‚ict in Mozambique
nor that in Namibia was primarily indigenous or “homegrown” because
both wars were instigated and sustained by external actors, and when
outsiders abandoned the con¬‚icts, there was little “demand” for continued

South West Africa, as Namibia was previously known, was colonized by
Germany in 1884, and it remained a German possession until World War I,
when South African troops seized control of the territory and imposed mil-
itary rule for the duration of the war.1 Following the war, the League of
Nations authorized South Africa to administer Namibia as a League man-
date and to prepare Namibians for their eventual independence. However,

1 For a comprehensive history of Namibia, see Kaela 1996. This section also draws upon Fortna
1993c and 1995; Forrest 1994; and United Nations 1996b, chap. 11.

The Peacebuilding Record

during the negotiations in San Francisco at the end of World War II that
led eventually to the creation of the United Nations, the South African gov-
ernment declared that Namibia should be formally incorporated into the
Union of South Africa on the grounds that there was “no prospect of the
territory ever existing as a separate state.”2 The UN subsequently refused to
give its consent for Namibia™s annexation, insisting that South Africa place
the territory under the control of the United Nations Trusteeship Council “
the successor to the League™s mandate system. South Africa responded by
rejecting the United Nations™ authority over the disposition of Namibia.
Thus began a dispute between the world body and the South African gov-
ernment over the status of Namibia, which eventually led the UN to declare
that South Africa™s occupation of Namibia was illegal and to press for the
country™s independence.
Meanwhile, several black nationalist organizations inside Namibia joined
forces in 1960 to form the South West African People™s Organization
(SWAPO), which soon initiated a military and political campaign to oust
South African authorities from Namibia and secure the territory™s inde-
pendence. SWAPO™s guerrilla army was based in neighboring Angola and
Zambia, from which it launched attacks on South African military units
inside Namibia. In response, South Africa established permanent bases for
thousands of South African counterinsurgency troops, who waged a small-
scale but persistent bush war against the guerrillas in the northern part of
the country. International negotiations were conducted sporadically during
the 1970s and 1980s, eventually linking Namibia™s independence with the
withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola, a formula that ¬nally led to the
signing of a comprehensive peace agreement in December 1988.
The agreement envisaged a “free and fair” election of an indigenous Con-
stituent Assembly, which would then write a constitution for an independent
Namibia. These elections would be supervised by the United Nations Tran-
sitional Assistance Group (UNTAG), an international mission of military
and civilian personnel, which, in addition to its electoral duties, would be
responsible for monitoring the demobilization of SWAPO guerrillas and the
phased withdrawal of South African troops from Namibia, the conduct of
local police, and the return of refugees, among other things.3 The imple-
mentation of this agreement was delayed by a resurgence of ¬ghting in early
April 1989, but peace was quickly restored and demobilization proceeded
with relatively few problems. Ninety-six percent of Namibians cast ballots
in the November elections, which were relatively free of intimidation and
violence, according to international observers.4 SWAPO won forty-one of
the Constituent Assembly™s seventy-two seats, while its main opponent, the

2 3
Cited in Kaela 1996, p. 12. United Nations 1996b, pp. 209“214.
4 Fortna 1995, p. 287.
Namibia and Mozambique 137

Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, secured twenty-one seats.5 Later in the
month, the newly elected Constituent Assembly convened and began ne-
gotiating the contents of a draft constitution, which the Assembly unani-
mously approved on February 9, 1990. Six weeks later, the leader of SWAPO,
Sam Nujoma, was formally sworn in as the ¬rst president of independent
International actors were instrumental not only in securing a peace set-
tlement in Namibia but also in promoting a particular model of domestic
governance for the country that Namibian leaders quickly embraced: liberal
market democracy. Indeed, the main elements of the peace settlement were
not set out by Namibians at all but by the “Contact Group” of Western
countries “ Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States “
in 1978, more than ten years before the con¬‚ict ended. The Western settle-
ment plan, endorsed by the UN Security Council later that year,6 provided
for “free and fair elections” to a Constituent Assembly, which would adopt
a constitution for an independent Namibia, as well as guarantees of free
speech, assembly, movement, and the press, and the repeal of “discrimina-
tory or restrictive laws, regulations, or administrative measures” that might
interfere with free elections. The plan also provided for the release of po-
litical prisoners and the “demobilization of the citizen forces, commandos,
and ethnic forces.”7 In 1982 the Contact Group went one step further and
promulgated a detailed set of guidelines for Namibia™s future constitution,
which read like a checklist of liberal democratic principles: The government
of Namibia would be constituted through periodic and genuine elections
by secret ballot and universal suffrage, and fundamental rights would be
guaranteed, including “the rights to life, personal liberty and freedom of
movement; to freedom of conscience; to freedom of expression, including
freedom of speech and a free press; to freedom of assembly and association,
including political parties and trade unions; to due process and equality be-
fore the law; to protection from arbitrary deprivation of private property
without just compensation; and to freedom from racial, ethnic, religious or
sexual discrimination.” Moreover, there would be an independent judicial
branch of government, which would be “responsible for the interpretation
of the Constitution and for ensuring its supremacy and the authority of the
When the Constituent Assembly ¬rst met in November 1989 following
the internationally supervised elections, the special representative of the UN

5 United Nations 1996b, p. 227. The remaining ten seats were shared among ¬ve parties.
6 See UN Security Council Resolution 435 of September 19, 1978.
7 “Proposal for a Settlement of the Namibian Situation,” UN Security Council document
S/12636 (April 10, 1978).
8 “Principles Concerning the Constituent Assembly and the Constitution for an Independent
Namibia,” UN Security Council document S/15287 (July 12, 1978).
The Peacebuilding Record

secretary-general formally communicated the 1982 constitutional principles
to the Assembly, which adopted these principles, in accordance with the pro-
visions of the 1988 peace settlement, as the basis for Namibia™s new Consti-
tution. Thus, the most dif¬cult and important work of Namibia™s founding
constitutional congress “ that of de¬ning the fundamental organizational
principles of the country™s governing institutions “ was effectively completed
by international actors long before the congress ever met.9
In the economic realm, the new Namibian government quickly adopted
an internationally endorsed plan for market-oriented reform. This was a re-
markable development given SWAPO™s long-standing advocacy of socialist
economics. SWAPO™s 1976 political program, for example, had committed
the organization to the goal of uniting “all Namibian people, particularly
the working class, the peasantry and progressive intellectuals into a van-
guard party capable of safe-guarding national independence and building a
classless, nonexploitative society based on the ideals and principles of scien-
ti¬c socialism,” which included public ownership of “all the major means of
production and exchange of the country.”10 The months immediately follow-
ing independence, however, witnessed a sea change in SWAPO™s economic
policies that “astonished many observers, at home and abroad.”11 The new
Namibian government emphasized the crucial role of the private sector in
promoting economic growth and the importance of creating an “enabling
environment” for foreign investment.12 At an international donors™ confer-
ence in New York in June 1990, Namibia presented a economic plan that
explicitly endorsed both liberal democracy and “a free-market path to de-
velopment,” along with a draft code to protect foreign investments.13 The
meeting resulted in pledges of almost $700 million in development aid to
Namibia, along with the country™s membership in the International Mon-
etary Fund, the World Bank, and the Lom´ Convention of the European
Union. SWAPO™s commitment to capitalist economics was reaf¬rmed in the
government™s July 1990 budget and in the Foreign Investment Act, passed
by the National Assembly ¬ve months later, which guaranteed security of in-
vestments, nondiscriminatory treatment between foreign and local investors,
and freedom to repatriate pro¬ts and dividends.14
SWAPO™s abrupt conversion to free-market economics appeared to un-
derscore the in¬‚uence of international actors over the domestic policies of
the new Namibian government. The incoming government was virtually
bankrupt and in pressing need of foreign ¬nancial assistance, and it was
offered such assistance by international lending agencies and donors on the

9 This fact was not lost on the Namibian leaders themselves, some of whom complained
bitterly that the new constitution was drawn up as much for international approval as for
the approval of the Namibian people. See Cliffe et al. 1994, p. 213.
10 11 Dobell 1995, p. 171. 12 Ibid.
Cited in Strand 1991, pp. 27“28.
13 14 Murray 1992, p. 34.
Cliffe et al. 1994, p. 230; and Dobell 1995, pp. 177“178.
Namibia and Mozambique 139

condition that the government agree to adopt liberal economic (and, to a
lesser extent, political) domestic policies.
Namibia has emerged from a quarter century of con¬‚ict as one of the most
peaceful societies in Africa. Elections were held on schedule and without ma-
jor disturbances in 1992, 1994, 1998, and 1999. Relations between SWAPO
and the white minority population remain amicable, and the political climate
is, by some accounts, “the most tolerant and free in the Third World.”15 A
wide range of constitutionally protected freedoms are respected, including
personal liberties, nondiscrimination in employment, property rights, and
women™s rights.16 Moreover, the economy has grown strongly since inde-
pendence.17 The country faces its share of economic and political challenges,
including allegations of corruption among government of¬cials,18 high lev-
els of poverty in the black community,19 and demands for prosecution of
those alleged to have committed atrocities during the war.20 Despite these
problems, the prospect of renewed armed con¬‚ict in the foreseeable future
remains vanishingly small. The process of political and economic liberaliza-
tion appears not to have destabilized the peace in Namibia, but rather to
have created the conditions for political stability and economic growth, just
as defenders of the liberal peace thesis might expect.
Much of the credit for this outcome must go to the leaders of SWAPO, who
eschewed vengeance against Namibia™s white minority in favor of an of¬cial
policy of “national reconciliation,” which has included a “hands off” policy
with regard to the white community.21 There was, for example, no wholesale
purge of white Namibians from the country™s civil service, or expropriation
of white businesses or property (including the huge swatches of white-owned
commercial farmland in areas formerly under the control of South African
police). In return, white settlers have responded to the political changes in
Namibia with considerable restraint. Furthermore, the SWAPO leadership
has insisted on “full inclusion of the country™s racial and ethnic groups in
the national political system” and has made special efforts to ensure “ethnic
and racial representation across a broad spectrum of political posts, from
the cabinet level through the lower ranks of the civil service.”22
While the accomplishments of peacebuilding in Namibia have been note-
worthy, the Namibian case should not be viewed as an unmitigated endorse-
ment of the Wilsonian notion that liberalization will generally foster stable
and lasting peace in war-shattered states. First, one of the principal belliger-
ents in the war “ the South African military “ withdrew its forces entirely
from the country as part of the peace process, thereby greatly reducing the

15 16 Forrest 2000, p. 98.
Forrest 1994, p. 96. See also Constantine 1996.
17 Namibia™s real GDP growth rate averaged 3.5% annually between 1995 and 2001 (OECD
2002, p. 231).
18 19 Kaela 1996, pp. 126“127. 20 Africa Watch 1992.
See McNeil 1997.
21 22 Forrest 2000, p. 100.
Forrest 1994, p. 97.
The Peacebuilding Record

danger that liberalization would exacerbate tensions among formerly war-
ring parties in the postcon¬‚ict state. The departure of the South African
military effectively made a continuation or renewal of hostilities impossible:
White settlers who remained in Namibia simply lacked the capacity to wage
a war against the new government. Under these conditions, the willingness
of white Namibians to accommodate themselves to a black-led regime is less
remarkable than it might appear at ¬rst glance; indeed, it was their only
possible course of action.
Unlike most other countries that have hosted postcon¬‚ict peacebuilding
missions, then, Namibia bene¬ted from the fact that one of the parties to the
con¬‚ict largely abandoned the territory at the end of hostilities. Indeed, one
could argue that Namibia™s war was to a considerable degree not a “civil”
war at all but a liberation struggle against South Africa™s quasi-colonial rule
of the territory. When South Africa abandoned its efforts to maintain con-
trol of Namibia, the principal impetus for violence effectively ceased to ex-
ist. These conditions appear to have facilitated the peaceful liberalization of
postcon¬‚ict Namibia. Because these conditions are uncommon among coun-
tries that are just emerging from civil wars, the Namibian case lends only
quali¬ed support to the peace-through-liberalization hypothesis.
Second, there are doubts about the degree to which Namibia can be char-
acterized as a multiparty democracy. Although the administration of free and
fair elections has been exemplary, there is virtually no opposition to SWAPO
or to President Nujoma, and some commentators argue that Namibia has
been developing into a one-party state.23 Not only have the number and
strength of viable political parties (apart from SWAPO) declined since inde-
pendence, but the distinction between the ruling party and the government
has also been steadily blurred.24 Further, in the lead-up to the 1999 national
election, Nujoma used his two-thirds majority in parliament to amend the
country™s constitution in order to allow him to serve for a third term (al-
though he later announced that he would not run for a fourth term in the
2004 elections).25 This is not to suggest that the government is acting ille-
gally or extraconstitutionally to subvert the opposition “ as has been the case
in Liberia and Cambodia “ but rather that the overwhelming dominance of
SWAPO and Nujoma in Namibian politics raises questions about the degree
to which the Namibian case corroborates the liberal peace thesis, given the
absence of real political competition. Indeed, one could argue that it is pre-
cisely the noncompetitive nature of Namibian politics that has made the
country™s peaceful democratic transition so relatively smooth.
None of these observations diminishes the fact that Namibia is now
at peace after decades of war. Yet despite these very positive outcomes
of Namibia™s peacebuilding operation, it would be a mistake to interpret
the Namibian case as strongly supporting the general proposition that
liberalization fosters peace in war-shattered states: not only because postwar

23 24 25
Mallet 1998; Bauer 1999. Bauer 1999, pp. 432“433. Swarns 2001.
Namibia and Mozambique 141

conditions in Namibia were unusually propitious for liberalization due to the
departure of South African forces, but also because the country™s democratic
system has been only nominally competitive.

Mozambique gained its independence from Portugal in 1975, when the
Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique (Frelimo), which had led the strug-
gle against Portuguese rule, formed the ¬rst postindependence government.
The ensuing period of peace lasted less than two years. The new Frelimo
government provided support to black nationalist groups ¬ghting the white
minority regime in neighboring Rhodesia, and the government of Rhodesia
responded by covertly recruiting a group of Mozambican expatriates to wage
a campaign of terror and destruction in Mozambique.26 The guerrilla organi-
zation, which eventually called itself the Resistˆ ncia Nacional Mocambicana
e ¸
(Renamo), included Mozambican-born soldiers who had fought alongside
the Portuguese against the independence movement, and was ¬nanced and
sustained by the Rhodesian intelligence service.27 For most of the Cold War,
the Frelimo government received support from the Soviet Union and Soviet
allies in Eastern Europe. Fighting between Frelimo and Renamo lasted
for sixteen years and resulted in the deaths of approximately one million
Throughout the 1980s, numerous attempts to end the war were made by
third parties, but with little success.29 It was not until July 1990, after both
sides had lost most of their foreign support, that the ¬rst direct talks between
the government and Renamo took place, mediated by the Italian government
and a Catholic lay organization in Rome, the Community of Sant™Egidio.
The negotiation process was slow and ¬tful, as both parties maneuvered
for strategic advantage on the battle¬eld and at the bargaining table.30
Over time, additional outside parties were brought into the negotiations
as observers and advisors, including France, Portugal, Britain, the United
States, and the United Nations. Two years of talks yielded a formal peace
agreement in October 1992, which ¬nally brought ¬ghting in Mozambique
to a halt. The main provisions of this agreement included plans for multiparty
elections, the liberalization of the popular media, freedom of association and
movement, the creation of nonpartisan commissions to monitor respect for
civil rights and the activities of police and intelligence services, the demobi-
lization of armed forces and the creation of a new national army, and the
reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian life.31

26 Newitt 1995, pp. 559 and 563“564; Reed 1996, p. 278; and Ciment 1997, p. 14.
27 28 Lloyd 1995, p. 155; and United Nations 1996b, p. 321.
Rupiya 1998.
29 30 For a detailed account of the negotiations, see Hume 1994.
Jett 1995, p. 23.
31 “The General Peace Agreement for Mozambique,” UN document S/24635 (October 8, 1992),
The Peacebuilding Record

Once again, the United Nations took on the principal task of monitoring
and verifying implementation of the peace agreement. The UN Operation
in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) included almost seven thousand international
military personnel and was fully deployed by May 1993. The military func-
tions of the UN mission included monitoring the local parties™ compliance
with the cease-¬re agreement, preparing the assembly sites where combat-
ants from both sides would assemble for demobilization, overseeing the
demobilization itself, and maintaining a secure environment, particularly
along transportation corridors, for other peacebuilding activities.32 Civilian
employees of several international agencies “ including the European
Union, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children™s Fund,
and the Swiss Development Cooperation Agency “ also worked alongside
ONUMOZ personnel as observers of the cease-¬re and demobilization pro-
cess.33 The humanitarian program involved the resettlement of nearly two
million Mozambicans displaced by the war, overseen by the UN High Com-
missioner for Refugees. The special representative of the UN secretary-
general, Aldo Ajello, was assigned the responsibility of establishing a politi-
cal environment in which national elections, scheduled to be held in October
1993, would be judged as “free and fair.” This meant, among other things,
overseeing the design and implementation of electoral laws and monitoring
respect for civil liberties, including freedom of the press and freedom of as-
sociation, as well as mediating disagreements among the formerly warring
parties in the postcon¬‚ict period.
Due to delays in the demobilization process, national elections were not
held until October 1994, one year after they were originally planned. Ap-
proximately twenty-three hundred international observers monitored the
polling, including personnel from the UN, the European Union, the Or-
ganization of African Unity, and several nongovernmental organizations.34
Despite last-minute complaints from Renamo about the fairness of the elec-
toral process, the vote was judged generally free and fair by most interna-
tional observers, with nearly 90 percent of registered voters casting ballots.35
The incumbent president, Joaquin Chissano of the Frelimo party, won a nar-
row majority in the presidential election with 53 percent of the popular vote,
while the Renamo candidate ¬nished second with 34 percent. Frelimo also
won a majority of seats in the country™s National Assembly.36
The elections represented a milestone in Mozambique™s transition away
from a one-party socialist state and toward a market-oriented democracy “
a process which had been ongoing for several years, and which was driven
primarily by Mozambique™s need for ¬nancial aid and other types of assis-
tance from international agencies and Western governments. In the period

32 33 Reed 1996, p. 286.
United Nations 1996b, p. 324.
34 35
United Nations 1996b, p. 333; and Reed 1996, p. 301. Jett 1995, p. 24.
36 United Nations 1996b, p. 334.
Namibia and Mozambique 143

immediately following independence in 1975, Frelimo had explicitly rejected
Western models of political and economic organization, opting instead to
pursue a program of “pragmatic Marxism.” In practice, this meant author-
itarian rule combined with anti“free market economic policies that empha-
sized large-scale, centrally planned, capital-intensive development projects
both in industry and agriculture, including the establishment of state farms
and collectives on the Soviet model.37 In the early 1980s, however, the gov-
ernment of Mozambique found itself unable to meet its obligations to in-
ternational creditors, due in part to the poor economic performance of the
state farms, along with the increasing costs of the war against Renamo and
the crippling effects of ¬‚oods, drought, and famine on the rural economy.38
The collapse of the economy and decline in state revenues led Frelimo re-
luctantly to solicit ¬nancial assistance from Western governments and the
International Monetary Fund.39 The conditions for such aid were clear:
Mozambique would have to liberalize its socialist economy and replace
it with a market-oriented one, which would entail privatizing state farms
and other state-run enterprises, lowering government subsidies, removing
wage and price controls, and lifting barriers to foreign investment and trade,
among other things.40 Mozambique became a member of the IMF and
World Bank in 1984. Three years later, in 1987, the Frelimo government
implemented an extensive structural adjustment program and economic lib-
eralization, which had been developed in large part by the Bretton Woods
institutions,41 and which amounted to a “complete change of direction in
economic strategy.”42
Political liberalization followed economic liberalization in Mozambique.
The Frelimo government, in order to shore up its support in the West, re-
nounced Marxism-Leninism as its of¬cial ideology and dropped the words
“People™s Republic” from the country™s name in 1989.43 In November 1990,
the government introduced a new constitution for Mozambique, which for
the ¬rst time authorized multiparty elections, freedom of the press, and a
legal right to strike “ reforms that were designed, in part, to elicit further
support from Western governments and donor agencies, while signaling a

37 Alden and Simpson 1993, p. 123; Alden 1996, p. 42; and Ciment 1997, pp. 17 and 176.
Whether or not Frelimo was a truly “socialist” government in its ¬rst few years in power, or
whether Frelimo™s commitment to “socialist” principles was primarily rhetorical, is a subject
of ongoing debate among scholars. See, for example, Cahen 1993; and Saul 1993.
38 Abrahamsson and Nilsson 1995, pp. 48“55 and 97“100; Newitt 1995, p. 566; Alden 1996,
p. 42; and Ciment 1997, p. 17.
39 Willett 1995, pp. 38“39. Frelimo turned to the West instead of the Soviet bloc for ¬nancial
help in the early 1980s partly because the Soviet Union had, in 1981, rejected Mozambique™s
request for closer commercial relations with socialist countries, including membership in
Comecon, the Soviet trading bloc. See Alden and Simpson 1993, p. 111.
40 Abrahamsson and Nilsson 1995, p. 100; and Newitt 1995, pp. 566“567.
41 42 Plank 1993, p. 411.
Hume 1994, p. 20; and Abrahamsson and Nilsson 1995, p. 111.
43 Ciment 1997, p. 142.
The Peacebuilding Record

willingness to pursue more serious peace negotiations with Renamo, which
had long called for democratic elections in the country.44 Frelimo™s endorse-
ment of liberal democratic principles represented an abrupt reversal of the
party™s long-standing refusal to hold multiparty elections in Mozambique.45
The shift in Frelimo™s position came in response to “immense pressure from
outside interests,” including the Western governments and international me-
diators who were urging Frelimo in the direction of market democracy.46
The peacebuilding mission, which oversaw the preparation and conduct of
the 1994 elections in Mozambique, served to reinforce and to expedite a
process of economic and political liberalization that had been ongoing since
the early 1980s.
As in the case of Namibia, the outcome of peacebuilding in Mozambique
has been generally positive. At the time of this writing, more than a decade
has passed since the signing of the peace accord, and the country™s two for-
merly warring parties remain at peace. Renamo has successfully transformed
itself from a guerrilla army into a legal opposition party in the country™s leg-
islature, showing no signs of contemplating a return to violence, in spite
of the fact that Frelimo ¬‚atly refused to appoint any Renamo of¬cials to
positions of authority in the government following the 1994 election. The
two parties appear to have settled into a stable, albeit quarrelsome, relation-
ship as parliamentary adversaries.47 A new round of national elections in
1999 resulted in the reelection of President Chissano and a small increase in
Frelimo™s majority of seats in the Mozambican parliament.
On the economic front, structural adjustment reforms, which were ini-
tiated in the 1980s and extended into the postcon¬‚ict period at the behest
of the IMF and World Bank, have yielded relatively high levels of economic
growth with low levels of in¬‚ation: Mozambique™s real GDP grew by an
annual average of 9.3 percent between 1996 and 1999, a ¬gure that the
OECD described as “remarkable” because it was so high in comparison
to most other African countries.48 Indeed, Mozambique is widely touted
as an economic success story with the potential for continued high rates
of growth.49 Positive economic reports have contributed to the perception,
shared by many if not most international observers of Mozambique, that the
peacebuilding mission was a resounding success that effectively helped the

44 Alden and Simpson 1993, p. 118; and Newitt 1995, pp. 572“573.
45 President Chissano and the Frelimo Central Committee had reiterated their strong opposition
to multiparty elections as recently as November and December 1989. See Hume 1994,
pp. 29“30.
46 Harrison 1996, p. 20. As Ciment (1997, p. 143) writes, Frelimo reluctantly agreed to elections
“as the price to be paid for peace.”
47 Economist 1997b, p. 44.
48 OECD 2002, p. 217. Growth slowed after a series of major ¬‚oods struck the country in
2000 and 2001 but was expected to rebound quickly.
49 For example, Rosenblum 1997; Matloff 1997; and Alden 2001, p. 101.
Namibia and Mozambique 145

country emerge from a long history of chronic war and economic stagnation
and begin a new period of peaceful democratic politics and economic
But like Namibia, Mozambique offers only quali¬ed support for the
Wilsonian hypothesis of peace-through-liberalization in countries that have
just experienced civil wars, for a number of reasons. First, the con¬‚ict in
Mozambique was not primarily an indigenous or “homegrown” war “ it
was instigated and sustained chie¬‚y by outside parties. As noted, Renamo
began its existence as an instrument of the white minority government
of Rhodesia. Renamo raids into Mozambique were organized by the
Rhodesian intelligence service and supported by the Rhodesian army. As
one scholar writes, Renamo was “simply a mercenary group of a white colo-
nial army” and not a genuine “political movement” when it was founded.50
After the fall of the Rhodesian government in 1979, Renamo was adopted
by South Africa, which was committed to a “total strategy” of destabilizing
nearby black African regimes through a campaign of sabotage and subver-
sion.51 At that time, most of Renamo™s membership and equipment were
transferred to South African territory. The rebel organization aimed to un-
dermine the Frelimo government of Mozambique, but beyond that goal, it
lacked a political program and received little encouragement from the pop-
ulation within Mozambique.
When Renamo did eventually acquire territorial bases inside Mozam-
bique, it still “could not gain a critical mass of support” and consequently
maintained its bases by terrorizing the local population into compliance.52
Techniques for building popular “support” included mutilating civilians by
cutting off ears, noses, lips, and sexual organs.53 Only in the latter stages
of the war did the group gain some measure of popular backing from rural
groups disaffected with the government, which ultimately translated into
electoral support in the postcon¬‚ict period.
Although scholars disagree about the depth of support for Renamo within
Mozambique by the end of the war, there is widespread agreement that
the war itself was a foreign imposition on the country.54 Renamo would
not have posed a serious military, or even political, threat to the gov-
ernment without the sponsorship and prodding of Rhodesia and South
Africa. Furthermore, the available evidence suggests that there was little
popular support for Renamo™s guerrilla campaign itself; rather, the vast
majority of ordinary Mozambicans wanted to have nothing to do with
the con¬‚ict.55 Thus, when the rebel group lost its foreign backing in the
early 1990s, there was virtually no popular support within Mozambique
for a continuation of the armed struggle, which in turn reduced the danger
of renewed ¬ghting in the postcon¬‚ict period.

50 51 Pitcher 2000, p. 192. 52 Ibid., p. 194. 53 Rupiya 1998.
Newitt 1995, p. 564.
54 For an overview of this debate, see Young 1994.
55 For further discussion of these points, see Finnegan 1992; and Ciment 1997.
The Peacebuilding Record

On the one hand, then, conditions were particularly conducive for rec-
onciliation in Mozambique after the war, due in part to the fact that the
war itself had only shallow domestic roots. But on the other hand, to the
extent that Renamo did obtain a measure of popular support, it apparently
stemmed from the disaffection of some rural dwellers with Frelimo™s policies
of “modernization,” which focused on spurring industrial growth and large-
scale agriculture while offering few bene¬ts to individual peasant farmers.56
These tensions “ between the wealthier urban industrial class and the poorer
rural peasantry “ were not resolved by the end of Mozambique™s war. On the
contrary, rapid economic liberalization has widened these socioeconomic in-
equalities dramatically since the termination of the con¬‚ict.57 Foreign invest-
ment and economic growth have been concentrated in cities such as Maputo
and Beira “ urban areas which were already the most highly developed in the
country, and therefore better able to attract new investment.58 At the same
time, cutbacks in government social spending mandated by the international
¬nancial institutions made it more dif¬cult for many Mozambicans (80 per-
cent of whom live in the countryside) to obtain basic necessities, including
food, shelter, and medical treatment.59
This is the second reason that the Mozambican case offers a less-than-
complete corroboration of Wilsonianism: As in Central America, the market-
ization policies that were part of postcon¬‚ict peacebuilding in Mozambique
have exacerbated long-standing socioeconomic divisions that today remain
“the greatest threat to peace.”60 Although the immediate danger of violent
con¬‚ict seems remote, the widening of distributional inequalities is probably
not conducive to a stable and lasting peace in a country in which the prin-
cipal lines of con¬‚ict are between a wealthy elite and a marginalized rural
peasantry.61 As Mozambique™s prime minister, Pascoal Mocumbi, observed
in 1997: “[S]ocial inequalities and regional asymmetry could endanger the
climate of peace, calm and social harmony that is a basic prerequisite for
balanced and self-sustaining socio-economic development.”62
Furthermore, economic hardship has given rise to increased levels of crimi-
nal violence and banditry, including robberies, hijackings, and armed attacks,
particularly in rural areas of Mozambique.63 As a result of this new vio-
lence, many parts of the country previously considered safe are now subject

56 Hanlon 2000.
57 Ohlson and Stedman 1994, p. 198; Hanlon 1996, p. 20; Pitcher 2000, p. 202; and Hanlon
2000. Moreover, de Sousa (2003) and Wuyts (2003) note that income inequality within rural
areas has also increased in the postwar period.
58 Abrahamsson and Nilsson 1995, pp. 161 and 189; EPSA 1997; Hanlon 2000; and OECD
59 60 Hanlon 2000. See also Thusi 2001. 61 Wuyts 2001.
Willett 1995, p. 35.
62 Cited in Economist 1997b.
63 Lloyd 1995, p. 155; Alden 1996; Daley 1996, p. 54; Dique 1996; Ciment 1997, p. 226; and
Alden 2001, p. 113.
Namibia and Mozambique 147

to armed attacks.64 While the precise causal relationship between increased
deprivation and rising violence in postwar Mozambique is dif¬cult to pin-
point, students of Mozambican history point out that sudden shocks to the
rural economy in the past have been accompanied by increased levels of vi-
olent crime and banditry in the countryside.65 This pattern appears to be
playing itself out again, as ex-combatants and ordinary peasants have re-
sponded to declining living standards by joining the ranks of criminal gangs.
In the words of one former government soldier: “We want to eat, or if not,
we will have to rob.”66 The upsurge in violent crime has, in effect, denied
the bene¬ts of the Frelimo-Renamo armistice to the many Mozambicans
who continue to be menaced by armed groups that roam the countryside
with relative impunity. Commentators who contend that peace has been
consolidated in Mozambique tend to focus too narrowly on the relatively
peaceful relationship between Frelimo and Renamo, while underemphasiz-
ing the proliferation of postwar criminal violence. Nor is it possible to rule
out the possibility that this unrest could eventually take on a more explicitly
antigovernment character. As Chris Alden writes: “[I]t is not far-fetched to
suggest that the criminal violence of today “ mediated through growing so-
cial disaffection “ could well end up as the political violence of tomorrow.”67
Others have similarly warned that declining living conditions in the coun-
tryside have made Mozambique a “potential powder keg.”68
Whether Mozambique continues to live up to its reputation as a peace-
building success story remains to be seen. As of this writing, the record of
Mozambique™s postwar democratization has been relatively favorable, with
the former adversaries apparently shifting their disagreements from the bat-
tle¬eld to the ballot box. Economic liberalization policies have also been
bene¬cial in many ways “ most notably, by contributing to high levels of
GNP growth and encouraging new ¬‚ows of foreign investment. But these
same economic reforms have also deepened existing schisms and traditional
sources of political tension in the country, and have apparently contributed
to the spread of criminal violence, which at least casts doubt on the Wilsonian
claim that liberalization promotes stable and lasting peace, even in what is
generally viewed as one of the most successful cases of peacebuilding in the

The accomplishments of the international peacebuilding missions in Namibia
and Mozambique are impressive: The wars in both countries show no sign of

64 65 See Newitt 1995, pp. 575“576.
EIU 1997d, p. 9; Amnesty International 1998.
66 67 Alden 1996, p. 55.
Cited in Dolan and Schafer 1997, p. 166.
68 Willett 1995, p. 48. See also Ohlson and Stedman 1994, p. 199.
69 Weinstein 2002 characterizes Mozambique as a “fading success story,” or one that is less
successful than it may have ¬rst appeared, for many of the reasons mentioned here.
The Peacebuilding Record

rekindling in the foreseeable future. Both countries, moreover, have adopted
liberal political and economic institutions and policies less problematically
than other peacebuilding host states that we have examined. Nevertheless,
Namibia and Mozambique are also unlike most other countries that have
recently emerged from civil wars: In both cases, con¬‚icts that preceded the
deployment of peacebuilders were instigated and sustained primarily by out-
side actors, a condition that facilitated postwar reconciliation and quite likely
diminished the destabilizing effects of rapid liberalization. Put another way,
the con¬‚icts in Namibia and Mozambique were, in important respects, not
“civil” wars at all. This is particularly true of Namibia, where SWAPO fought
what amounted to an anticolonial war against the South African army. To a
lesser extent, it is also true of Mozambique, where one faction in the war was
created and maintained by foreign governments and only started to build a
domestic political base after several years of trying to do so. Furthermore,
in Mozambique, economic liberalization policies have led to a worsening of
poverty and inequality “ circumstances that have historically been a source
of political unrest in the country.
part iii


The Limits of Wilsonianism
Understanding the Dangers

Despite the many differences among the eleven peacebuilding operations
launched between 1989 and 1998, these missions have pursued a broadly
common strategy, seeking to transform war-shattered states into liberal mar-
ket democracies on the assumption that doing so would help to consolidate
a stable and lasting peace. As noted in Part I, this strategy rested on a propo-
sition that liberal thinkers have propounded in one form or another since the
eighteenth century, and which gained widespread acceptance among schol-
ars and policymakers at the end of the Cold War: that liberal democracy and
market-oriented economics offer the surest formula for peace, both in rela-
tions between states and within their borders. I labeled this the Wilsonian
approach to con¬‚ict management and noted that this method of con¬‚ict
management is still largely unproven, because questions such as whether
the process of liberalization fosters peace, and whether democratization and
marketization are reliable remedies for intrastate violence, remain largely
unanswered. The case studies examined in the preceding chapters were con-
ducted in the hope of gaining new insights into these questions.
Some missions were clear successes (Namibia and Croatia); others were
obvious failures (Angola and Rwanda). The remaining operations fell in
between these two extremes. In most of these eleven cases, the process of
political liberalization, or economic liberalization, or both, produced desta-
bilizing side effects that worked against the consolidation of peace. In some
countries, liberalization exacerbated societal tensions, and in others it repro-
duced traditional sources of violence. The approach to peacebuilding that
prevailed in the 1990s was, it seems, based on overly optimistic assumptions
about the effects of democratization and marketization in the immediate af-
termath of civil war. (Operations launched after 1998 will be discussed in
Chapter 11.)
This conclusion points not only to weaknesses in the prevailing peace-
building strategy as a con¬‚ict management method but also to the limi-
tations of the liberal peace thesis itself. Although well-established market
Problems and Solutions

democracies do tend to be more peaceful and prosperous than other types
of states, the actual process of transforming a country into a market democ-
racy is tumultuous and con¬‚ictual, particularly in the fragile circumstances
of war-shattered states that typically lack governmental institutions capa-
ble of managing the disruptive effects of liberalization. Contemporary stu-
dents of the liberal peace thesis and practitioners of peacebuilding have
paid too little attention to this problem. They have, it seems, largely for-
gotten classical liberalism™s pragmatic emphasis on authoritative and effec-
tive “ in addition to limited “ government as a precondition for domestic
This is not to suggest that peacebuilders should abandon their efforts
to promote the principles and practices of market democracy. In the next
chapter, I shall argue that peacebuilders should continue to pursue the goal
of transforming war-shattered states into liberal market democracies, but
using a different strategy “ one that starts from the assumption that the
liberalization process is capable of undermining the very peace that it is
intended to uphold.
The remainder of this chapter proceeds as follows: After reviewing and
summarizing the ¬ndings of the case studies, I shall attempt to explain why
rapid liberalization has been a problematic peacebuilding strategy, an expla-
nation that is divided into two parts. The ¬rst part describes ¬ve “patholo-
gies” that can arise during a process of democratization and marketization in
any state undergoing these transitions. The second part explains why coun-
tries that are just emerging from civil wars are especially susceptible to these

Learning from the Case Studies
The Wilsonian approach to con¬‚ict management yielded problematic results
in many of the countries that hosted peacebuilding missions in the 1990s.
The main question I posed at the outset of these case studies was whether
efforts to transform war-shattered states into liberal market democracies
had fostered conditions for a stable and lasting peace, or a peace that is
likely to survive for the foreseeable future. I suggested that if we discovered
that the liberalization process had 1) contributed to a resurgence of ¬ghting,
2) recreated or exacerbated conditions that had historically been the cause
of civil violence in the host states, or 3) created new conditions within the
host states that seemed likely to spark a renewal of ¬ghting, these ¬ndings
would cast doubt on the Wilsonian assumptions of peacebuilding, since they
would indicate that the liberalization process had been, in some respects,
inimical to the establishment of a stable and lasting peace.
The case studies offer a mixed verdict on the effects of liberalization in
war-shattered states. In the worst examples “ Angola and Rwanda “ democ-
ratization efforts precipitated renewed violence. In the best “ Croatia and
The Limits of Wilsonianism 153


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