protests in latin america

Hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Port-au-Prince to demand the resignation of Moïse and Ceant, protesting against corruption and demanding an end to austerity measures that alongside the increase in prices of basic commodities, have caused extreme suffering in the country. Read more about Evo Morales and the current situation in Bolivia here. Michael Alvarez is a spokesman for the Green party-affiliated Heinrich Böll Foundation, and served as the think tank's director in Santiago de Chile for several years. Imagen: Paro Nacional de Colombia. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the rise in petrol prices presented alongside other cuts in order to reduce the country’s deficit to pay off its IMF debt, a project known as the ‘paquetazo’ in Ecuador. Similar protests occurred last month over issues including the government’s draconian lockdown measures imposed in response to the Chinese coronavirus. Disruptive mobilizations in Haiti, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador are only the tip of the iceberg, and protesters around the world are fighting to force governments to rethink development baased on extractivism and economic paradigms that have shaped the way our world works today. This demonstrator is holding a sign that reads "Let's be realistic, let's ask for the impossible." The demonstrations began after the presidents in each country made economic announcements, which in turn sparked a massive public outcry. A report by The Washington Post published in November also revealed the death tolls for different protests around the world this year. "If there was a risk of contagion, I would think people in Argentina would have gone out onto the streets, too. Andres Bernal. The eruption of protests suggests that Latin American governments are having difficulties delivering what voters care about: fair elections, honest politicians and economic redistribution. Protesters in favour of Morales are calling these events a coup d’etat, due to actions of the Bolivian police and military that forced the leader to resign before carrying out a rerun of the elections. Using communications technologies safely and privately is key to freedom of expression in the form of demonstrations and protests. The sight of soldiers on the streets is unsettling for many citizens of a country still haunted by memories of military rule under dictator Augusto Pinochet. Although President Sebastian Pinera canceled the planned hike in subway fares, the violence has only worsened, leading to nearly a dozen deaths. Police abuse has been widespread in Latin America for decades, with security forces often violently putting down political dissent and carrying out extrajudicial killings. María Victoria Murillo outlines some of the immediate consequences of Covid-19 for democratic governance in Latin America for our “Covid-19 and the Social Sciences” series. The social trends behind the protests can be seen in other South American countries, said Valeska Hesse, director of the Latin America office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), a political think tank with ties to Germany's Social Democratic Party. Legal notice | A protest against the killing of Black people in Rio de Janeiro, May 31. The protests began as an expression of frustration towards the government of President Duque. Indigenous communities in Ecuador have been victims of extractivist exploitation for centuries, and it was also a general rejection of petrol extraction, deforestation, and mining that led them to march last year in Quito. Only two countries outside of Latin America — South Africa and Rwanda — were ranked among the world's 10 most economically unequal. You can find more information in our data protection declaration. Despite the strict measures, the country has recorded over 1.2 million coronavirus cases, the second-highest figure in Latin America and the seventh … Hesse doesn't think so. Bettina Horst, deputy director of Chile's conservative think tank Libertad y Desarrollo, is more skeptical. "[It's] protests with no clear aims and no leadership, simply set on destabilizing the country's democracy.". According to the Gini index, the most widely used international measure of inequality - for which the higher the number, the greater the inequality - Chile ranks as the most unequal country among a group of 30 of the world's wealthiest nations. Morales left Bolivia for Mexico and later Argentina, where he is currently residing with the status of political asylum. For these reasons, we explore the main protests and civil society movements in Latin America that occurred throughout 2019 that had impacts on the region and beyond. The event was moderated by Professor Maria Jose Hierro who is currently teaching a course at Yale in the Political Science Department on Political Protests. We encourage anyone to comment, please consult, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. Regardless, Morales became an extremely divisive figure who gradually began to lose his popular support, and was unable to deal with this. "For more than 50 years, the IMF has always trumpeted the same recipe, namely economic liberalization and cuts to public spending," she said. 277 shares. Read more: What's behind wealthy Chile's deadly protests? In Latin America, Mr. Pérez-Liñán said, they are also growing more fearful of unrest. Alvarez disagrees. "If they can't attain power [at the ballot box], they seek to gain it through violence.". Numerous indigenous communities and other social sectors infuriated by the measures decided to mobilise and travelled to the capital where a violent battle between riot police and protesters began. With Santiago engulfed in rioting over several days, security forces and protesters clashed repeatedly. Leer en español There is a rage brewing in Latin America. Protesters seek cover from riot police wielding a baton. The data presents an extremely disturbing scenario: in Iraq, there have been a total of 320 deaths, (which has infact been rejected by the BBC who estimate it could even be 400), in Chile 23, and in Bolivia more than 10. Comparing cases across the region, she notes that the pandemic has weakened two crucial mechanisms for democratic accountability—elections and protests… In Colombia, over 500,000 people marched on the 21st of November after various sectors of civil society called a national strike, that has continued intermittently since then, becoming the most important mass mobilization in the previous decades. Every aspect of public life there has been privatized: pensions, health care, education," said Hesse. Duque began to create discontent among many social sectors and organisations that promote peace in Colombia last year, when he tried to dismantle the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, a transitional justice system designed to investigate war crimes and to uncover truths for victims of the conflict, that was also a fundamental part of the 2016 peace accords to end a 50 year long war against the guerrilla. After meeting with heads of the legislature and judicial system, President Pinera has pledged to seek "solutions" to "reduce excessive inequalities" in the country. He condemned the violence seen in Chile, but pointed out that many peaceful protests are being staged by citizens demanding their rights. Even so, year 2019 ended with 230 social and human rights leaders assasinated while general violence killed more than 10,000 people. Every day, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. Stay tuned! What’s more, the revelation by Senator Roy Barreras during a vote of no confidence against the now ex-Defense Minister Guillermo Botero, that 18 minors were murdered during a military operation in Caquetá in August against a supposed camp of FARC dissidents, created an enormous scandal and caused Duque’s impopularity to further soar. During the first two weeks of October, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Quito to express their collective frustration about the aggressive economic measures of Lenin Moreno’s government, who had previously negotiated a set of austerity measures with the IMF that would have negatively affected the most vulnerable of Ecuadorian society. The same report, however, found that 1% of the country's population owns 26.5% of its wealth. Contact The social dissatisfaction of Latin America’s unstable middle and popular classes has triggered social mobilizations at a time when we have been witnessing similar dissatisfaction around the world. Over the past two weeks, Ecuador and Chile — two Latin American countries separated by more than 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) — have seen intense anti-government protests. But Chile is posting good economic figures, a fact that was recently confirmed in a report issued by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. After months of protests, finally a space for debate about a new constitution has been opened, and important achievements such as a raise in the minimum wage were also gained. Sign up for the newsletter here. Aware that they don’t live in real democracies, the people of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia are taking to the streets. We use cookies to improve our service for you. After 12 days of conflict in Ecuador’s capital city, indigenous groups successfully negotiated with the government, which agreed to abandon the ‘paquetazo’, thanks to leaders and communities who camped out in Quito until Moreno responded to their demands. Read our analysis about the situation in Haiti here. QUITO, Ecuador — Protesters here in this capital city dug up cobblestones to throw at the police and set fire to the office of the comptroller general. Since then, there have been 22 deaths and 2,200 injuries in the South American country, due to the use of lethal force by the army and the Chilean police, according to the National Institute for Human Rights. These protests in Latin America are among those that created the biggest impact throughout 2019. But to others, the protests are a sign that the people of Latin America are willing to push back against attempts to shift the fiscal burden on poor and working class people. In Horst's opinion, that's exactly what is happening in Chile. The article focuses on Latin America, a region that has experienced substantial protests and demonstrations in the last decade, making use of individual-level data on redistributive preferences and protest participation collected across eighteen countries in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Rather than produce a sense of trust, cops are generally seen as the cause of … Read our analysis about the situation in Chile here. In a world aflame with protest, Latin America stands out as a raging ten-alarm fire. During the protests throughout the last months of 2019, around 10 people were killed, mostly as a result of excessive force used by the Bolivian police against protesters. Huge protests in Latin America on International Women's Day. Hesse said such extreme inequality between rich and poor can be seen in many countries across the continent. POPAYÁN, Colombia—This nation known as the “Gateway to South America” has become the latest Latin American state to be shaken by widespread, anti-government demonstrations. And although Chile doesn't have debt problems, she said there are nevertheless parallels to the situation in Ecuador and Argentina. In democraciaAbierta, we’ll continue to pay attention to what’s happening in the region in 2020, to monitor the implications and possible advances, and backslides that these movements could trigger in a region where democracy is still young and a barely consolidated concept among ruling political and economic elites. Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador are among Latin American countries to see protests in recent months. Read our analysis about the situation in Ecuador here. Although Chile is one of South America's wealthiest economies, resentment has been rising over increased living costs and the shortcomings of public services. Throughout 2019, we saw how mobilizations around the world grabbed headlines across Latin America, Europe, Asia and the MENA region. Many Chileans were on a long holiday weekend and the latest protest was relatively small compared to previous efforts. Their march started off a day of demonstrations on a long weekend in the Latin American country, expanding later as tens of thousands answered social media calls to match previous protests that attracted more than a million people. A series of protests have been escalating across Latin America in recent months. What is happening in Haiti today cannot be understood without also understanding its violent and colonial past, and of course the catastrophic behaviour of the international community providing emergency aid that failed to lift the country out of devastation after the 2010 devastating earthquake, whose aftereffects are still being felt today. The CIVICUS Watch List, which monitors democratic backslides across the world, included Colombia and Hong Kong in their October publication due to anti-democratic measures implemented against mostly peaceful protesters, attacking the democratic right to protest. According to the World Bank, in 2018, Haiti had a GDP per capita of only $870 USD, and in a country of 10 million inhabitants, 6 million live in a state of extreme poverty - 60% of the population. Haitians demonstrated their malaise this year by protesting against extreme poverty, but they also took to the streets to demand clarity over what happened to the millions of dollars that the country received from Venezuela that disappeared without a trace due to rampant corruption within the current government. Chile has been rocked by violent protests against President Sebastian Pinera. Soldiers were deployed on the capital's streets for the first time since the military dictatorship ended in 1990, and a state of emergency was imposed. Throughout the year, malaise in the region increased as did the idea that citizens have the power and capacity to organise themselves and influence the policies of their governments. Todos los derechos reservados. “The popular activism is the most important part,” Zibechi says. Scandals, autocracy and anger at inequality stir unrest across the continent. The interplay of those rights entails a set of safeguards that governments in Latin America are failing to ensure. Protesters, however, don't appear to placated. An estimated over 207,000 protesters across Colombia upset at decades of right-wing rule took to the streets Thursday in the latest progressive people's movement in Latin America to explode into the streets, following movements in Chile, post-coup Bolivia, and Ecuador. Millions of people have taken to the streets to rail against their governments, economic inequality, political corruption and an array of other issues, prompting mass transit breakdowns and a brutal response from police. But, she added, they failed to solve urgent underlying structural problems. And while Chile isn't the poorest region in the world, "its inequality is the world's most extreme." Curfews were also put in place in several other Chilean cities. In February of 2019, huge protests against President Jovenel Moïse and Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant erupted in Haiti, after a year of intermittent mobilisations. "Chile is the most neoliberal country in the world. (22.10.2019), Germany's Social Democrats are calling for nationwide wealth tax. Read our analysis about the situation in Colombia here. ", Read more: Berlin's new rent freeze: How it compares globally. | Mobile version, Berlin's new rent freeze: How it compares globally, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Latin America’s Wave of Protests Was Historic—Then the Pandemic Arrived The coronavirus and lockdowns have worsened the region’s economic divides—and set the stage for more political upheaval. "Economic hardship has focused protesters' anger onto related issues such as inequality and corruption," they wrote. What's behind wealthy Chile's deadly protests. Why is the idea gaining momentum, and is it the answer to bridging the growing gap between rich and poor? Over 80 people virtually attended the Roundtable on Protests in Latin America, a Spanish-language webinar hosted by the Council for Latin American and Iberian Studies, on Wednesday, October 7. Dressed in black, marching silently and raising one fist, around a thousand women have demanded justice for those killed during the civil unrest in Chile. Yet many Chileans have trouble making ends meet, and that has been an important factor in protests there. France), and others occurred in countries in which people mobilized on a massive scale for the first time in decades, such as Algeria, Colombia and Iran. This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. Armored personnel carriers drove slowly through the streets deploying heavily-armed troops as violence worsened in the capital, Santiago, and across the country. From Bolivia to Ecuador, Haiti to Honduras, the closing months of 2019 have seen enormous, sometimes violent demonstrations prompted by a truly dizzying array of grievances, including electoral fraud, corruption, and rising fuel … “The people have said ‘enough.’ They do not want to continue to pay the … In reality, it was a protest against low pensions, high gas and electricity bills, and unaffordable social services such as health and education that were inherited from an ultra neoliberal dictatorship lead by general Pinochet in the 1980s. Is there a risk the protests will spread to other countries in the region? The unrest shows the country's ruling elite are woefully out of touch with ordinary people, says DW's Emilia Rojas-Sasse. Although Duque has only been in power for a year and a half, he has a disapproval rating of 69% according to the the last Gallup poll, and 70% of Colombians believe that “things are getting worse” compared with last year. However, the disproportionate use of violence and repression against protesters in the region has also been a common yet worrying theme, which represents a serious threat to democracy in Latin America. "Every country in Latin America has its economic differences. "Compared with the last century, people in Latin America are no longer willing to accept social inequality," he said, convinced that this sentiment can be directly traced to the strengthening of civil society that has taken place over the past 20 years. It pointed out that poverty levels in Chile had gone down by three percentage points between 2016 and 2019. He told DW that after much social progress in the early 2000s, many Latin American countries are now tightening their belts. Many protesters began demanding a change in government, using the slogan, “it’s not 30 pesos, it’s 30 years”, referring to the past three decades during which Chileans have been subject to harsh economic policies at the hands of their governments. Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela: Large parts of Latin America are on fire with protest. The only thing they all have in common is the fact that organized left-wing groups are trying to destabilize their democracies," she said. Issued on: 09/03/2020 - 04:06. These protests in Latin America are among those that created the biggest impact throughout 2019. However, he also welcomed extractivist industries and weakened constitutional mechanisms that guaranteed democracy in the country to extend his presidential mandate. Here, one demonstrator waves a Chilean flag as the troops spread out. They have also made it clear that they demand a more effective response to the climate crisis, and to growing inequalities, that are negatively affecting millions of young people in Latin America and beyond. Whether the reforms will stop the general strike planned for Wednesday remains to be seen. In Ecuador, a government besieged by protesters forced to flee the capital. Is a wave of social protest about to break over all of Latin America? (23.10.2019), © 2020 Deutsche Welle | Now it's Colombia's turn. The new anger 2019 in review: protest and populism in Latin America. "When left-leaning governments were in power, [there were] many redistribution programs designed to improve the station of poor citizens," said FES expert Valeska Hesse. "Deficits are growing in Ecuador, Argentina and other countries across the region, and governments are not countering that with a systematic overhaul of their tax systems [and] tax reforms.". Why are people protesting in Latin America's most prosperous country? Over the past two weeks, Ecuador and Chile — two Latin American countries separated by more than 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) — have seen intense anti-government protests. This includes protests on the streets and online. The protests began over a planned hike in transport fares last week, but have turned into a movement against Chile's economic model of creeping privatization, low wages and growing inequality. In this image, a man is dressed as the the movie character "The Joker" while brandishing a Mapuche indigenous flag. If you have any queries about republishing please contact us. (27.08.2019), The president of Chile has announced a series of social reforms after a metro fare hike sparked days of deadly protests. Hesse pointed out that much like Argentine President Mauricio Macri, Ecuador's leader, Lenin Moreno, was forced to announce austerity measures — now canceled — because of debt negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. For all the market shocks, Latin America has a history of exploding unrest when prices go up for essential services and products, which are often … Chile is one the champion of neoliberal countries of the region, and throughout the previous decades, it has failed to eradicate poverty with its privatisation policies and cuts in public services, and it’s estimated that 36% of the urban population live in extreme poverty. But maybe they just aren't because elections are being held on Sunday anyhow," she said. Many marches occurred in countries that already have a strong culture of civic participation in protests (i.e. Millions of women in Mexico have taken part in a day-long strike to highlight rising levels of gender-based violence. Chile’s Protests Aren’t Like Other Latin American Protests. The initially extremely violent reaction of the Chilean government provoked subsequent violent reactions from protesters who began burning metro stations and looting supermarkets. Only a week after protests erupted in Ecuador, another Latin American country rose up against the economic policies of its government: Chile. Chile was ranked seventh. During his presidency, Evo successfully integrated indigenous and rural groups into Bolivian political life, and he also took a stand against the US and DEA policy of eradication of coca crops, defending its medicinal use by indigenous communities in the country. Ecuador and Chile have been the scenes of anti-government protests in recent weeks, many of which have ended in violence. And, he said, it's not just happening in Chile. A demonstrator gestures as Chilean soldiers advance carrying their weapons, during a protest against the country's state economic model in Santiago. Several social sectors in Bolivia celebrated Morales’ resignation and the supposed “return to democracy” in the country, whilst others remain sceptical and terrified about the new Christian fundamentalist government that has taken over and the actual uncertain prospect that fair elections will take place. Opinion. Sometimes protests are continuous but not always frequent. Español. Indignation caused by the violent death of 18 year old Dilan Cruz during the National Strike, fatally injured in the head by riot police whilst peacefully protesting in November, confirms that many Colombians have had enough and demand a change from the days when institutional violence was the norm. Tear gas has been used against the protesters, and the army confirmed it had shot people dead while chasing looters. Metro stations, buses and businesses were set ablaze as the protests began to turn violent. In Chile, 2,500 injured and least 20 dead in weeks of unrest. However, his insistence to remain in power would become his ultimate weakness this year, when presidential elections that presented irregularities were denounced by the OAS, sparking protests across the country both against and in favour of his presidential mandate being renewed. The latest protest followed a short break in the wave of demonstrations in which several people have died, forcing the cancellation of two upcoming international summits. Please check individual images for licensing details. In Latin America, the year began with Juan Guaidó auto proclaiming himself the Interim President of Venezuela, challenging the Maduro regime and provoking huge protests in the streets of Caracas and other cities. Tired of the economic policy of their government, Chilean students occupied the streets in what became a protest against much more than the symbolic rise in price of a metro ticket. 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