Monday, January 30, 2023

Attacks on democracy, the great challenge for a troubled Latin America

The attempted coup in Brazil, the attack against the Argentine vice president, the institutional crisis in Peru and the disputed situation in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua call into question the democratic health of a region, Latin America and the Caribbean, which this Tuesday will hold a conclave in the midst of the great political polarization that their countries are experiencing.

In Buenos Aires, the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) – a mechanism for dialogue and political agreement made up of the 33 countries of the region – will once again sit at the same table, for the first time since the meeting of Mexico of 2021, to the presidents, some of them of antagonistic ideological colors, of a subcontinent that does not win for shocks.

“Yes or yes, it has to deal with the problem of institutional instability, and a mechanism must be found through which Latin American societies, even if they think politically differently, can dialogue again. The mechanism of political difference, but fundamentally the mechanism of hatred as an instrument, is something that clearly leads us to defeat,” Anabella Busso, a professor of international politics at the National University of Rosario, told EFE.

Since the Mexico Summit, in which political and economic integration was committed to face the crisis left by the covid-19 pandemic, a multitude of challenges have arisen in all Latin American countries, although in some with special virulence.

The last one, the assault on the three powers of Brazil that on January 8 was perpetrated by followers of former President Jair Bolsonaro. Without forgetting the wave of protests in Peru, which have already left 50 dead and in which the resignation of the president, Dina Boluarte, who took office after the failed self-coup by Pedro Castillo (2021-2022) is demanded.

decrease cracks

For Busso, there is no way for governments to go through “such an international catastrophe unilaterally”, so they must “protect and consolidate” CELAC, in his opinion the “only space” for effective dialogue left in the region.

And the summit takes place at a time when the victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil has generated “great expectations” because it is the “most important” country in South America and he, “an experienced leader.”

Argentina, where months of strong political tension are expected due to the presidential elections in October, was shocked on September 1, when a man -currently detained, with two other people- pointed a gun at the vice president, Cristina Fernández, in a Demonstration of supporters in front of his house.

The former president (2007-2015) emerged unharmed from the attack, but the event had an impact on a society where there was a mixture of astonishment at what had happened and disbelief or relativization on the part of sectors not sympathetic to the Kirchner leader.

“This institutional instability and the reduction of the scenarios of rift (political polarization) is one of the most difficult tasks that the new governments of Latin America have, because in general terms and in the case of Argentina that is very clear, the right-wing they left their power intact”, emphasizes Busso.

And he warns that, in some countries, one can already speak of “the rights of the rights, with a connotation of very dangerous political instruments”, as they are “very fanatical rights and closely linked to the issue of emotional issues”, with ” a significant loss of any political rationality”.

Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua

For years the political situation in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua has generated great differences between Latin American governments.

The VI Summit was marked by criticism from the Paraguayan Mario Abdo Benítez or the Uruguayan Luis Lacalle Pou – both still in power – of the participation of the Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro, who came by surprise.

Earlier, in 2020, the far-right Bolsonaro decided to remove Brazil from Celac for the defense that, in his opinion, the group was making of the “non-democratic regimes” of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, in turn questioned by the United States and the Organization of American States (OAS) for alleged human rights violations.

Upon assuming the presidency of Celac a year ago, the Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, of a progressive tendency, said that the organization was not born “to interfere in the political and economic life of any country”, but that it always promoted “the consensus and plurality in a framework of democratic coexistence without any type of exclusions”.

And he questioned, during the United States Summit of the Americas last June, the US president, Joe Biden, for having excluded Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the meeting, and invited him to the meeting in Buenos Aires, although he will be represented by his Senior Advisor for the Americas, Chris Dodd.

However, Fernández himself had difficulties obtaining the pro tempore presidency of Celac. In the conclave in Mexico, it did not succeed due to the sole rejection of Nicaragua, which reproached the criticism that Argentina had made of the arrest of opposition politicians in the Central American country, but Nicaragua overcame its reluctance and ended up giving its arm to twist in January 2022. .

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