Protests in Latin America

Examining social protests, political polarization, and the threat of populism.

Members event, Panel Recording
13 September 2021 — 3:00PM TO 4:00PM

Protests in Latin America - highlights

— HIGHLIGHTS: Examining social protests, political polarization, and the threat of populism.

2019 marked the beginning of widespread protests in Latin America in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia. The reasons for the popular demonstrations, however, differed.

In Bolivia, claims of fraudulent elections sparked the protests, while in Ecuador an end to fuel subsidies brought people to the streets. In Chile and Colombia demonstrations morphed into broader social protests over the lack of social mobility and policy failures. In many cases, clashes between demonstrators led to cases of violence by state security.

The pandemic has exacerbated popular discontent. Demonstrators are again taking to the streets with country-wide demonstrations in Colombia over a proposed tax reform plan, waves of protests in Brazil against and for the president of Brazil, and political demonstrations in Peru over unsubstantiated claims of vote fraud after the election of President Pedro Castillo.

The elections in 2021 and those planned in 2022 are serving as a safety valve for popular discontent. But can elections produce the type of change most citizens are demanding? In Cuba, where the communist party has dominated the government and elections since the revolution, nation-wide protests over the country’s failing economy were met with widespread state repression.

In this event panellists examine:

  • What policy changes are the protesters demanding?

  • How do they vary by country?

  • How has the pandemic exacerbated unrest and changed citizen demands?

  • In countries like Peru, Chile and Colombia what is the risk that protests and political division will lead to outsider, populist candidates?

  • Is there a new generation of young, moderate political leaders on the horizon in places like Brazil, Peru, Chile, Cuba and Colombia?

  • Who are they?

As with all member events, questions from the audience drive the conversation.

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