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Shooting Yourself in the Foot: The Symptoms of a Sick Latin America

América Latina

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Returning to El American is an honor, but also a duty as it is important to expose what is happening to the Latin American region. In the face of a generalized weariness, an absurd simplification of politics and dynamics where criminals run many of the nations of the region, it is urgent to try to respond with a stark analysis and a proactive spirit so that we do not lose the little that remains “healthy” of Latin America.

That is the reason for this series called “Shooting Yourself in the Foot: The Symptoms of a sick Latin America“. Perhaps it is hard, but it is enough to see what has been happening in the region to assume that a good part of the responsibility lies with its societies, particularly those that have had the option of choosing freely and doing it badly.

After a few years of apparent relief due to the halt of the São Paulo Forum and its mutations, and after having overcome a completely socialist map to one that seemed to turn more right-wing, today the region is once again under the shadow of the ideas of opprobrium and misery. This is not by chance, but by design; it is not by improvisation, but as part of a plan; and it is not for lack of results that evidence the disaster of that plan in the past, but for lack of will of those who could have stopped it and have not done so and of the societies that insist on jumping into the void.

A review of the fall of Chile, once the crown jewel of the liberal model, today in the hands of leftist president Boric; a review of the surrender to the most rancid communism, represented by Pedro Castillo, of a Peru that had been a reference of free-market policies; the understanding of the return of the Zelaya family to Honduras and of the indecipherable and dangerous Bukele in El Salvador; the alarm of a Colombia whose freedom hangs by a thread thanks to Petro and the tragedy of a Brazil that seems to open the doors to crime so that Lula can return — not to mention the Mexico of López Obrador, the Bolivia of Arce and the Argentina of Fernandez.

These will be the installments that will allow us to enter into a project where ideology is no more than a pretext and where freedom, like truth, continue to be the great victims.

Lula da Silva - Latin America
Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Image: EFE)

Defenders of democracy and freedom — through their underestimation of this sad reality, simplification based on disbelief, and the lack of solid and long-term projects — have made the task easy for the architects of a project that has its origin in the Castro’s communist Cuba, which, 60 years later, continues to manage the region. These architects have morphed, however, into different mutations, including progressivism and democratic socialism; and with a fierce media campaign of Cancel Culture, manipulation, and disinformation they have perpetrated a perverse narrative of resentment, envy and hatred.

This serves as the perfect mix for populists to reach power and become entrenched in it. In those places where they do not have it, it serves as a great scheme to destroy everything in their path—all with the purpose of justifying the need for their arrival.

Strategy for Latin America is textbook

The implementation of this project already looks scripted and it is easy to identify at least 10 common characteristics:

  1. Imperious need to change the constitution: The problem is always the status quo. Faced with this idea, everything must be changed to make it work. It is the perfect excuse to dismantle the existing democratic institutions or manipulate them.
  2. Control of the judiciary and the justice system: An independent judiciary and a real check and balance through the courts are the main enemies of those who want to do everything as they please. Therefore, infiltrating the judiciary, politicizing it, and turning it into an arm of those power with total impunity is crucial.
  3. Censorship and persecution of the free press, disinformation as an engine: Truth is the first victim of war, but also of these regimes. Nothing worse than a truth that strips them naked, so they will always seek to control the media by means of censorship, persecution, or threats that lead to self-censorship. In addition, they use propaganda and manipulation of information to misinform and impose their narrative.
  4. Abuse of the electoral route: Under the excuse of popular power, these regimes abuse democratic mechanisms to empty them of content and make people believe that, by asking them everything, they really decide. In reality, they seek to control the electoral instances and sow permanent doubt and tension, so that confidence in the vote as a true democratic instrument is lost.
  5. Indoctrination and manipulation of history: If there is anything these regimes need, it is to adapt history to their own narrative to make it favorable to them. With this, they also indoctrinate in schools and seek to change society through lies.
  6. Links with criminal and non-democratic actors: In such a complex geopolitical dynamic, if there is one thing that all these actors have in common, it is their links with international crime and the financing they provide or receive, as well as their relations with non-Western and non-democratic countries. Thus, they seek to change the historical and natural relations with actors such as the United States, to connect with Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and, of course, Cuba.
  7. Re-election, a need for survival: They all have in common that one term is not enough to “implement their project”. If they were in power, left and came back, now the excuse is “to make the plan irreversible”. If they are still in power, the excuse is to say that “more time is needed”. The truth is that the use of democracy to, paradoxically, perpetuate themselves in power, is a rule.
  8. The superior enemy and the division of society: For these regimes, there is always a superior enemy. Usually, it is the United States and its allies. And, of course, they are to blame for the failure of the project. Moreover, this enemy is the cause of the division of society into good and bad, the bad ones being those who are allies of that enemy. They foster resentment and polarization while doing everything in the name of the “people”, who are the good guys.
  9. The eternal conspiracy: They see conspiracies everywhere. They resort to victimization to always accuse someone else of wanting to overthrow them or attempt against them.
  10. They crush their opposition: All these regimes seek to crush their opponents. They also seek to have their emblematic prisoners persecuted to show them as trophies, while they persecute, repress, torture and annihilate everything that may be different from their project or a threat to it. They do not operate under a democratic logic, but under a war logic where they have an enemy to defeat.
AMLO, América Latina
López Obrador. (Image: EFE)

Although with different intensity and density, in different time spans and with varying magnitudes, all these are common characteristics that allow these regimes to coordinate and act. Their purpose is clear and they seem to have nothing to stop them.

Today it seems that the bad guys are winning because the good guys are absent, or the vast majority of them. This series of articles will precisely try to go, country by country, making an x-ray of what these regimes represent and how societies opted for a kind of suicide believing that an adventure to try something new would lead them to something better and now they are heading towards misery and horror. It will also try to alert those who can still avoid becoming that way, with the focus on Colombia and Brazil, if it is not already too late.

“Shooting yourself in the foot” is a series of six articles by Pedro Urruchurtu for El American. This is part one.

Pedro Urruchurtu, is a political scientist. He is the Vice President of RELIAL and coordinator of International Affairs for the Vente Venezuela party // Pedro Urruchurtu es politólogo. Vicepresidente de RELIAL y coordinador de Asuntos Internacionales del partido Vente Venezuela

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