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Politics Latin America


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


This course provides a general introduction to Latin American politics, emphasizing the specific ways in which the political process has evolved in each of the countries conforming this region. So despite the many communalities one can observe in this region with respect institutional systems and political practices, each country presents a particular type of political evolution. All sorts of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and ethnic factors have played an important role in shaping the political reality of the individual countries. This course follows a country-centred approach providing an explorative journey through the Latin American nations, from North to South.

  1. Mexico
    1. The Spanish Speaking Caribbean: Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico
    2. Central America I: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras
    3. Central America II: Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama
    4. South America I: Venezuela
    5. South America II: Colombia
    6. South America III: Ecuador
    7. South America IV: Peru and Bolivia
    8. South America V: Brazil
    9. South America VI: Uruguay and Paraguay
    10. South America VII: Argentina
    11. South AmericaVIII: Chile

Course objectives

This course aims to allow students to comprehend the main dynamics characterizing the Latin American political process since the late 19th century until today. Students will learn to distinct the specific political features of each Latin American country. Finally, students will also learn why political phenomena affecting the entire region have dissimilar impacts and consequences in the different Latin American countries.


The timetable will be available on the BA International Studies website this autumn.

Mode of instruction

Lecture course with tutorials.
Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

Total course load: 5 ECT (140 hours)

spent attending lectures and seminars: 2 hours per week lecture x 12 weeks = 24 hours
2 hours tutoial x 4 weeks = 8 hours
Time spent competing compulsory weekly readings 4hours x 12 weeks = 48 hours
Time spent studying for exams and completing assignments = 60 hours

Assessment method

Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%

If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

AHoward J. Wiarda en Harvey F. Kline (eds), Latin American Politics and Development. Boulder: Westview Press, 2014 (8th edition). ISBN: 978-0-8133-4904-6.


Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.