For centuries, Latin America suffered under colonialism and wealthy elites. Military regimes and oligarchies, US interference, and leftist insurrections have shaped its politics. But now, Latin America is seeing a new wave of unrest — some even call it the Latin spring — but each of these nations has a different story to tell.
CHILE Chile has among the world’s highest inequality levels
- Relatively fast-growing & stable, but Chile is also the most unequal among OECD countries.
- Mass protests erupted against inequality and neoliberal economics, which started with fare-dodging by students who objected to a rise in metro rail fares.
- The right-wing government of Sebastian Pinera imposed emergency in move reminiscent of military regime of 1980s.
- But amid protests, he has offered concessions, including scope of a new constitution focused on welfare.
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Upheaval in Bolivia despite growth
- The leftist Evo Morales, a three-term president, lifted millions out of poverty. But he overplayed his hand and made a bid for a fourth term.
- In 2016, he lost a public referendum on whether he could run again — but ignored it and got legal endorsement to fight the election again.
- A US based outfit he invited to audit the vote claimed there were irregularities in the election — a charge still to be proven.
- But as protests mounted, Morales went for fresh polls. As many in his MAS party resigned, the army chief “suggested” that Morales step down. Morales was forced to seek asylum in Mexico.
- The right-wing Jeanine Anez swore herself in as interim president, a move courts endorsed. She is to hold polls within 3 months.
Venezuela’s deepening economic and humanitarian crisis
- There is a power struggle between leftist president Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido, as the nation grapples with hyper-inflation, food and medicine
- On January 23, Guaido declared himself interim president.
- Meanwhile, the UN says that 7 million Venezuelans are in need of humanitarian assistance.
- Western media blames this failure on Maduro’s price and foreign currency controls and state-led tyranny; others lay responsibility on US sanctions, which led to fuel shortages.
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THE TURMOIL IS SPREADING ACROSS THE CONTINENT
- Ecuador, Haiti and Peru are seeing their own crises, as is Brazil .
- The only common factor is the end of the commodities boom that had powered these economies during the pink tide. Now, the bust has set in, and expectations have been dashed.
- Forced austerity, weak institutions, social hierarchies and inequalities, and intense political polarisation and the possibilities of socially networked protest, are all part of this season of anger in Latin America
Source :The Times Of India | Media reports, IMF, World Bank