• There are violent riots in Colombia brought about partly because of a proposed tax hike.
• It is estimated that 45% of the people in the country are living in poverty. There are high levels of unemployment.
• Due to the protests, the proposed tax hike has been withdrawn, but that hasn’t been enough to calm the situation where other grievances are fueling the protests.
• Political parties have been weakened in Colombia and in effect, ceased to function. The streets are the only viable political vehicle.
• “Latin America is going through hell.” Says Moises Naim, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
• The consequences of the pandemic have been dire. Latin America has 8% of the world’s population, but 35% of total Covid deaths.
• Protest in Latin America is met with arguments of 1) conspiracy – protest is the effect of outside forces (the old “outside agitator” argument; 2) copy cats – this is people copying Hong Kong and other protests; 3) combustion – people are fed up because of other issues and they take to the streets.
• There is a covid-enhanced erosion of democratic forms. There is a concern about decreasing rather than increasing democracy in Latin America.
See the interview with Moises Naim on Amanpour and Company.