This is no longer the case. Over the last five years democracy has been put to severe test. Since the turn of the century, more than a third of Latin American countries – Paraguay (in 2000), Peru (2000), Argentina (2001), Venezuela (2002), Bolivia (2003 and 2005), Ecuador (2000 and 2006) – have experienced situations of acute political risk. In several cases, widespread public protest led to the downfall of elected presidents. Alberto Fujimori in Peru, Fernando de la Rúa in Argentina, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and Carlos Mesa in Bolivia, and Jamil Mahuad and Lucio Gutiérrez in Ecuador were removed from office by a combination of social protest in the streets and political action by parliaments. In Paraguay the military played a key role in the impeachment of President Raul Cubas Grau. In Venezuela, a farcical coup d’état, promoted by military and civil sectors with US support, led to the temporary overthrow of President Hugo Chávez, who was soon reinstated, with the full support of democratic leaders and public opinion throughout the region. To this list might added situations of extreme tension in the political system that did not reach the breaking point: Nicaragua in 2004 and 2005, when President Enrique Bolaños was threatened with impeachment; Honduras in 2005 when authorities delayed announcing the winner of the presidential elections; Brazil in 2005 when the government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was undermined by a wave of political scandals; and Mexico in 2006 when the opposition candidate, López Obrador, aggressively contested in the streets the legitimacy of Felipe Calderon’s election to the presidency.