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The Ombudsman in Latin America


During the last 20 years ombudsmen have been established in most Latin American countries. This article provides an overview of the how these institutions have evolved in six countries, particularly with regard to their political independence and strength. In spite of the potentially important role that such institutions may have in promoting public accountability, respect for human rights and the rule of law in new democracies, some ombudsmen have been more successful than others in these tasks. This article reflects on possible factors accounting for the relative effectiveness of the ombudsman, and discusses the role that this institution plays in contemporary Latin America.

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This article was written while the author was a senior associate member at St Antony's College in Oxford, benefiting from a post-doctoral scholarship from the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT). Material was gathered as part of an evaluation on behalf of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (with María Luisa Bartholomei and Lena Blomkvist). I particularly wish to thank Alan Angell, three anonymous reviewers for the JLAS, and the participants of the comparative politics seminar in Uppsala for their kind remarks on the contents of this essay. Of course, the author alone bears entire responsibility for the contents.
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Journal of Latin American Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-216X
  • EISSN: 1469-767X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-latin-american-studies
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