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Development of Latin American political systems...

While attending the Latin American Culture course on Coursera, I’ve been presented with the task of answering the following question: "Can we be optimistic about the future development of Latin American political systems? Why?"
Since it’s quite an interesting topic, I’ve decided to publish here my answer (that incidentally has been graded 3 - on a scale from 0 to 3 - by some coursemates during the "Peer Assessments" phase), hoping that somebody else will have their say.

 

We surely should be optimistic, but...

There is always more than one reason to be optimistic about change and evolution, so the answer should be yes... but... as I see it, theres some uncertainty about what should be the next step (or the final goal) of this "development of Latin American political systems", and a few obstacles on the way.

The uncertainty

What do we really expect from development? There’s plenty of political systems around, and the simple fact that most of us (if not all) are attending this course from so-called "democracies" doesn’t really mean that they’re the best solution (I could quote Winston Churchill, here, and his famous phrase "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried"). Several people would actually claim that an "benevolent dictatorship" would help to solve lots of problems that democracies cannot deal with, especially when the form of state doesn’t really get the support of the people that is supposed to administer.
So, is it democracy were aiming to, in our optimistic expectations? Or is it something else? Are we looking forward something that will (would) allow to solve other problems, or just trying to get the best (for who?) form of state?

Obstacles (just some of them)

If we look carefully into what’s happening in Europe, right now, we will see that in lots of countries people is losing interest in the political aspects of their life, and retreating to their own little garden. Whether it is because of the corruption of politicians, or because of the economical crisis that pushes people to mind their own businesses and forget about what’s around them, or because of a natural drop of the interest curve in politics, it is undeniable that there’s a lot of disaffection going on (just the falling percentages of people casting their votes during ballots should be enough to prove it). A similar thing is happening in most of the Latin American countries: most of the people is not really concerned about politics, and about the form of the state they’re living in: when you get what you need to live (or, in certain case, to survive), that’s enough. Simple proofs can be, for instance, strikers in Bolivia, who do not really care about what they striking for - it could be against or for the Government, against or for some enterprise, etc. -, as long as somebody is giving them a few dollars to do it; or people in different parts of Chile, who still regret the Pinochet era has ended, because during that time "streets were safer, jobs were available, etc. etc.".

Besides, there is - in most of the L.A. countries - a strict control, sometimes a censorship, on the media and on information itself, and a spreadout lack of contents; and I am not even talking about the Internet, and the digital world, that out of the big cities doesn’t mean that much (take a single Internet café in any country of your choice, and you’ll mostly find boys and girls playing games or FB over the net... does that really help people to access to information?)... I am talking about press, about schooling (again, take Chile for instance: there’s a bloom of private universities, and a consequent blooming excess of people with a degree that is worth almost nothing because the universities need money to keep going, and consequently need to get people getting their degree...), about TV programs (ever tried to watch TV, nowadays? It is mostly soap operas, games, "realities", sparkling light shows and a little more).

Finally, foreign interests are usually even stronger than the local, or national, ones; and it’s hard to think that countries will abruptly stop to colonize weaker countries just because it would be right to do it. And there’s no need to blame the usual USA or China, that surely are doing their share: every single country will try to take advantage of, and to grow a profit from, their neighbors, whenever it is possible (think of Petrobras in Bolivia, just to name one), mostly because of economical gains, sometimes because of political gains.

And these are only 3 of the many obstacles around... So, does it make sense to be optimistic? Or is it just an optimist’s dream?


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