March 25, 2016 Print

Photo Credit: LatinAmerican Post

Dr. Alex Chafuen, president of Atlas Network, recently wrote in Forbes about three key trends in the battle for freedom in Latin America. Dr. Chafuen will talk about these at his upcoming talk at Trendsetters NYC in New York City.

Rejection of left-wing populism and arbitrary regimes

“We have seen election results in Argentina and Venezuela that were largely unexpected at this time last year,” Chafuen writes. “In Venezuela, electoral results themselves were not as surprising as the fact that the military stood by them instead of engaging in a large-scale cover-up. Demonstrators have flooded the streets of Brazil (by far the most relevant, economically potent country in the region), seeking to end decades of corruption and impunity. In Bolivia, the electorate rejected a change in the rules that would have permitted the re-election of current President Evo Morales. Though these events seem to herald change in the region, not all battles have been won. In Ecuador, for instance, leftist populist president Rafael Correa retains full control of the National Electoral Council, which has ruled against a referendum that would prevent him from running for president indefinitely.”

Slowing economies

“In Brazil and Venezuela, the economy has been shrinking for two years. Argentina’s economic slowdown was less severe, yet the country faced lower rates of growth in conjunction with increased inflation. When rampant corruption and abuses of power came to light, Argentina’s electorate shifted gears, pushing for a change in government. In Mexico, the second largest economy in the region, slow economic growth mimics that of the United States at just above 2 percent.”

Centrist policies

“Policy leaders and civil society in most of these countries have been eager to engage in efforts to seek a consensus around centrist policies. But they remain tilted towards a heavy redistributionist and regulatory state. As an example, those involved in “Primero Justicia,” the political party of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, are members of the Socialist International (which today includes mostly social democrats rather than Marxists); the same is true of members of the Radical Party, an important ally of Argentina’s ruling coalition. Chile, the darling of free market reforms, might also be influenced by this region-wide move to the center: If, in 2018’s presidential elections, centrist parties are able to defeat Chile’s socialist government, the government will be more centrist than libertarian.”

Read Dr. Chafuen’s full piece on Forbes here.