By the 1980s the combined effects of authoritarian persecution and increase international competition had weakened urban labor as well as other potential dissident forces, enabling the reestablishment of electoral politics. It was generally thought that elected civilian regimes could better deal with the debt and economic chaos created by military rule.
The Church also moved to replace reformist bishops and university rectors with more conservative appointments.
US foreign policy during the decade focused on El Salvador and Nicaragua.
 President Regan made it a personal crusade to remove the Nicaraguan Sandinistas from power… blew up in the presidents face with the Iran-Contra scandal.
 Soon afterward his administration articulated a mission to promote “democracy” around the world. Has become a cornerstone since the Cold War ended.
Contras original membership was drawn from Somosa’s ex-National Guard who had fled to Honduras… grew into a mercenary army of between 12,000 and 15,000 men.