Between 2015 and 2016 left-wing politics showed an interesting evolution among Latin America. What originated this seems to be general disappointment with leaders that were elected to revolutionize government policies and improve distribution of richness. Another important factor is growing corruption and high increase of danger in streets.
During 2015 elections, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, former president of Argentina and leader of socialism, got outvoted by right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri, a center right-wing candidate. Along with that, Frente Amplio, a center left-wing political alliance managed to concentrate several left-wing parties, setting a precedent for upcoming elections in other Latin American countries.
Bolivia is another example of change, current president Evo Morales ran a referendum to allow being re-elected for third time, unfortunately for him people decided it not go. This happenings changed political atmosphere and a new campaign for the center-wing and right-wing parties who are looking to sit on Bolivia’s presidential.
Brasil is currently under a revolution, since a huge corruption investigation ran against PETROBRAS (main oil company in Brasil), big enough to reveal that might involve former president Lula da Silva, currently being investigate. Protests against corruption are now usual every week and it looks like people has lost faith in the progressist left-wing current. Frente Amplio of Brasil is trying to help with stabilizing political atmosphere, time will tell what is going to happen, yet it shows a good level of organization, otherwise the would be disbanding right now, that is not the case.
In 2004 congress elections, Frente Amplio in Costa Rica, a progressist left-wing party, got bigger amount of votes than other parties, that has changed in 2014, getting the 3rd place. They seem to be leading the trend that is now taking over the rest of Latin America. Not only that, but the arouse of a new movement that states to not be left-wing nor right-wing or center, this new movement seems to have influence from Spain, that is raising awareness against populism effects. Will that be trending mainstream soon? Time will tell.
Last but not least, current Peruvian presidential elections demonstrate that Frente Amplio seems to work. By the way, Peru is know to always innovate during elections times, and if there is something to expect is the unexpected. They managed to have 20 candidates running for the presidential chair but 5 candidates abandoned the race whether by themselves or got removed for breaking election bylaws. Perhaps one of the most remarkable candidates that abandoned is Julio Guzman, who represented a change to something new and also showed to follow the new Spain politics against populism, yet his economical proposal showed right-wing politics roots. Once he is removed, Frente Amplio suddenly arouse from 2-4% to 6% and duplicated after a month, now fighting for the second place, which will give them a ticket for a second round between the first two, where big chances are to win the election.
While growth of corruption keeps disillusioning voters, elections demonstrate that something is changing in Latin America, people wants something different than 20th century politics, they are tired of being forced to choose among the same proposals just with different labels and flavors, they want a new receipt, yet they are not fools anymore. Voters are now more prepared and their parents and grant parents influence are helping them to take an educated decision. If you ask one of your latin american friends what is going on in their countries with politics, their speech might surprise you.
Let me elaborate a bit more regarding corruption. Things were mad during late 20th century, exponential inflation devastated the economical system and poverty broken records, all that cultivated frustration so many people lost hope and radicalism conquered minds of young people. Things seemed to have no end but things changed eventually. Some countries remained radical, some are still recovering and others are in another round of change. While all that happened, corrupt people joined forces with illegal traffic of drugs so they have political and economical power. What happens when corruption takes over? They want more and more money, so they steal from government funds, now generating about 30% of funds loss. For every 100 dollars paid in taxes, 30 dollars get into corrupt pockets. They way they do it affects everything in the way, for example quality of public constructions. Last year a bridge valuated in 2 million US dollars got destroyed unexpectedly, reason? low quality materials. That would not happen without corruption.
Let’s wear people’s shoes for a second. Imagine you live in a remote town that is disconnected from civilization because of river, then a presidential candidate comes and promises you that will build a bridge so your town gets connected, allowing economical development. Most people believe and vote for them. 2 or 3 years later the town gets the new bridge. Everyone is happy! President term ends after 2 years and a few weeks later the bridge disappears, everyone must be angry don’t you think? What happened? Corruption allowed this to happen! Now people wants a new bridge but a good one so they are not voting for someone that seems to be corrupt or corruptible, the big question is: How to pick wisely? Please tell me because I’m not sure how yet!
High increase of danger in Latin American streets is taking over everywhere. Poverty and hungriness forces people to choose violence, they have to feed their kids or pay medical treatment of some family member. While I’m against criminal behavior, the question remains in my mind: How to survive without money? Developing countries have increasing rates of unemployment, it means that one person has to feed more than one mouth, day after day. Then the news say that a corrupt authority steal lots of money, once again. That seems unfair and cultivates hate against a system that works only for a few ones, the rest of people are starving.
Things are not easy and are not changing that soon enough, also, a political movement like Frente Amplio is not changing things by itself. Hence it became popular in the middle of economical change, where people experienced big hope on finally abandoning extreme poverty, the same people are now disillusioned and are looking for a something completely new. If Frente Amplio is just another label and flavor for the same, the result will be just more radicalism, more hate against the system. If they instead re-organize for truly solving the big issues in Latin America, things will improve for the good of everyone.
Cross-posted to Devtome