South America is rolling wave “Maidan”. Almost the entire continent with a population of almost 630 million people covered hard protests, which have not spared even the most prosperous and stable country in the region – Chile. Every Latino out in the streets, have their own motives, but the root of the problems in the region’s total. “Apostrophe” tried to predict the future “Latin American spring”.
The economic downturn is the cause of all troubles
The main reason Latin American protests are economic factors. After the fall of dictatorships in the 1980s, the years of democratization of the region and its integration into the world trading system in Latin America has experienced almost 12 years of stable economic growth, which replaced the now 6-year period of stagnation and decline. According to IMF forecasts, this year the region’s economy will grow only 0.2%, the lowest rate in the world (the whole world economy will grow by 3.9%). The volume of government debt for key countries in the region over the past five years has doubled – up to 80% of GDP.
“Despite their differences, countries in which protests occurred this month, often experienced stunning economic growth in the first decade of the XXI century, and thereafter no less rapid decline, when prices of key exports fell. Even Haiti, whose economy all the time stagnated, received billions of aid from oil-rich Venezuela, which has now also disappeared”, – explained in the report, researchers Assosiated Press Michael Wisenstein Louis and Gene.
Economic hardship has aggravated the problems of social welfare and inequality, which are “famous” for Latin American States. Michael reed, a researcher of the politics and history of Latin America, notes that “inequality was more tolerable when there was the feeling of open opportunities and a better future. And now we see the breakthrough of the accumulated discontent that has occurred through the realization that the situation is not improving, and the children will not live better than now.”
The actual catalyst for the protest of the bombings was public anger after a wave of corruption scandals that in recent years swept through the region. In some States, such as Haiti and Peru, they brought to the protests, while others (Brazil, Mexico, etc.) brought to power populist regimes. Very eloquent for Ukrainians an example of such a takeoff on the anti-corruption slogans is Guatemala, where the President was actor-comedian – Jimmy Morales. But while none of these governments have not demonstrated the wonders of recovery from the economic crisis, but because virtually no country in the region is currently not completely stable.
Digital face of protest
The situation when due to the economic problems of the revolution and protests erupt in the whole region, there is not the first time – enough to recall the “Arab spring” started 2010 years, the echo of which is heard in the middle East so far. In addition to the General spirit of the Latin American and the Arab spring also brings together the leading role of social media and the Internet, without which large-scale protests would have been impossible.
“In the current environment of official censorship does not work because of digital technology. Social media and mobile communications facilitated the organization of effective protest actions, allowing youth to overcome the control of the government. Formal communication is balanced millions of videos, photos and texts Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And when legitimacy and credibility are lost in social media, no government can rule,” said George Ramos, the Univision network coordinator, researcher of migration processes in America.
Among other things, the experts shared that one of the catalysts for the explosion of protest in South America became the “copying effect” of the protests in France and Hong Kong. Which, in turn, were largely inspired by the Ukrainian Maidan (to the extent that as symbols and in Paris, and in Hong Kong the protesters used the yellow-blue and red-black flags).
Copy effect and social media give an answer on why the protests have become possible. And stereotyped behavior of Latin American political regimes explains why almost everywhere political action accompanied by violence and victims. As noted by George Ramos, “power in Latin America used to respond to the protests only one way – repression.” Indicative is the reaction of the President of Brazil to the protests in neighboring countries. Air Bolsonaro described the situation as “terrorism” and the “machinations of the left” and ordered the army to be ready to immediately force the suppression of possible performances. And the President’s son, Eduard Bolsonaro proposed the adoption of “new Institutional act number 5,” a law that allowed security forces to use torture during the dictatorship years 1964-1985.
Not less rigidly react and other States, completely ignoring the casualties among the protesters. For example, the government of Chile, where the clashes with police have killed more than 20 protesters, all these deaths are called “accidental” and does not even suggest the guilt of the security forces. In the region, where violence from the state people used to respond with guerilla warfare and criminalisation of such “die-hard” of the ruling regimes to anything good will not.
What awaits Latin America?
Perhaps the main issue, “Latin American spring” is not whether it will repeat the fate of its Arab namesake, which achieved very limited success in terms of democratization, and in some places only canned authoritarianism or even led to the collapse of States and numerous wars.
While some progress in antivlastnogo performances is observed only in States where there was more or less democratic regime. In particular, in Chile the authorities agreed on the constitutional reform, and in Bolivia the President actually fled the country in the best traditions of Viktor Yanukovych. But the authoritarian regime of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro, despite just apocalyptic socio-economic situation, is held.
The bright future of the “Latin American spring” the researchers did not expect. Because of social and anti-corruption protests do not exist konstruktivnye political forces that could replace the existing one. And the economic problems that are the cause of the protests, the populist assaults will not solve.
Alma Guillermoprieto browser policy in Latin America, veteran of Mexican journalism, told the newspaper The Guardain that he sees the prospects of the protests: “These events are called “Latin American spring”, but I don’t think this is correct. Because there is no political movement that “spread the wings” as a result of the protests. There’s a lot of anger and resentment – but they go nowhere”.
Protests in Latin America have deep economic and social roots. And while these problems will not be eliminated – but it’s not year and not two – region will be agonizing. This opens up a wide scope for intervention in Latin American Affairs foreign forces – in particular, China and Russia. The Kremlin has supported the Venezuelan regime “and Kalashnikov”, a fugitive of the Bolivian President was preparing a contract with Rosatom to $ 300 million; does not hide the friendship with Moscow and Cuba. A generous Chinese investors paid little attention to such things as democracy and human rights, unlike the IMF, which until now had no alternative to cooperating Latin American countries. Given that the United States take a passive position, and, moreover, actively apart of the regional structure in the Eurasian dictatorships only free hand. With such “friends” and “investors” it is possible that as a result of the revolutions and protests in Latin America back to the juntas, authoritarian regimes and dictatorship. And problems on the continent will only become more.