Understanding Central America explains how domestic, global, political, and economic forces have shaped rebellion and regime change in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras throughout their histories, during the often-turbulent 1970s and since. The authors explain the origins and development of the region's political conflicts, their resolution and ongoing political change. This sixth edition provides analysis of citizens' attitudes and participation through 2012 and up-to-date information on political changes in each of the five countries, including the 2013 and 2014 elections. Recent developments include dramatic changes in party systems in Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua; the extremely narrow victory of the newly elected FMLN president in El Salvador; and Guatemala's prosecution of human rights abusers. This book is an essential resource, as it provides a comprehensive introduction to the region and a model for how to convey its complexities in accessible language.