Most of Latin America is still far from the horrific conditions prevailing in Venezuela, where output has fallen by a staggering 75% since 2013. But, given the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe there, and the specter of political instability elsewhere, investors should not take a sustained economic recovery for granted.
The current disconnect between market calm and underlying social tensions is perhaps nowhere more acute than in Latin America. The question is how much longer this glaring dissonance can continue.
This article was originally published here on Human Rights Pulse on April 21, 2021.
“If I become President, there will not be another centimeter of indigenous land [demarcated].”
This statement and statements like it—including several where “centimeter” was replaced by “millimeter”—cropped up frequently in the campaign rhetoric of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s far-right populism and militaristic disregard for minority groups—including Indigenous nations, Black Brazilians, and LGBTQ+ people, among others—have made him immensely popular. It has also made him one of the greatest dangers to environmental conservation and the advancement of Indigenous rights. His presidency has seen large-scale destruction of Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest and encroachment on Indigenous lands by mining and logging companies. Yet, the centrality of Indigenous groups to Bolsonaro’s anti-environment campaign makes them key stakeholders in any effort to protect the Amazon. Since Indigenous rights and conservation are so closely interlinked, it is crucial that conservationists recognize the invaluable knowledge of Indigenous leaders.
For the U.S., the Latin American agenda is not a priority. Still, Biden’s arrival at the White House signifies a respite for foreign ministries, who are exhausted by the region’s tension created by Trump. What changes can we expect now?
While Donald Trump is disappointed with the results of November 8th, the world remains incredulous about the difficulties of the great American democracy in recognizing as president-elect the one who won the popular vote with 50.9% and more that 5.5 million more votes than his opponent, who obtained 47.3%.
Although Trump has raised an amendment to the entire election result, alleging massive fraud, he has been unable so far to present any evidence. Biden will be the 46th president of the United States after four years of Trumpism, which has generated turbulence worldwide. Latin America and the Caribbean wonder what the arrival of a Democrat like Joe Biden might mean for them.
In the headlines: Protests take over Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Haiti; Argentina puts Peronists back in power; Brazil suffers the largest oil spill in its history while former President Lula is released from prison; and more.
‘Machismo’. The idea that masculine pride comes from strength and aggression. A concept that is predominantly associated with Latin American culture and customs, but is also prevalent in societies across the globe. Historically and contemporarily, ‘machismo’ is used to justify male sexual, physical, and emotional dominance, primarily over females. It is the stereotype that the man goes to work and makes a living while the woman stays home to take care of children and clean the house, that men do not cry or need help, and that expressing feelings is a sign of weakness. Local, national, and regional feminist movements have been fighting to change these societal roles and customs.
The United States continues to be a global superpower. The US for the time being will continue to influence countries all across Latin America. However, recent events have suggested signs of decline. And as the decline grows more evident, how will the region’s political power rebalance? The election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) in Mexico, as well as the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil marks a radical departure from the current status quo. What does this mean for Colombia and Latin America at large?
Two years ago, I sat in a classroom in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and listened as Brazilian university students analyzed the election of US President Donald Trump on an international scale. It was the day after Trump was elected and I was still trying to wrap my brain around the outcome. I felt isolated from my country both physically and emotionally.The students spoke about a right-wing shift the world was undergoing, basing their arguments on their own political atmosphere – which had just seen their leftist president impeached – and the trends they were studying in England, France, and their own region. They predicted that their own country would again shift to the right in their next election, foreshadowing the results of Brazil’s presidential election on October 28.
Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election last weekend with 55.1% of votes against the leftist Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad’s 44.8%. Bolsonaro garnered attention during his campaign for his firm stance on combating the nation’s violence and ridding the government of corruption, which has indicted many high-level politicians since 2014. However, Bolsonaro is also known for his blunt, homophobic, racist, and sexist statements and is referred to as the “Trump of the Tropics” for the similarities in the two politicians’ rhetoric and campaign tactics. Bolsonaro’s election represents the most dramatic political shift in Brazil since it restored democracy in 1988, but the nation is not alone in its turn away from the left. Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and the United States have all recently elected conservative leaders, and this trend sparks questions as to why this shift is occurring and what it could mean for the Western Hemisphere.