Latin American Democracy: Dead or Alive?

Sep 16, 2021

 

Why hasn’t liberal democracy developed deeper roots in Latin America? Why are institutions under pressure in so many places? Why do many Latins seemingly embrace “strong man” rather than democratic solutions to their social, economic, and political problems?

Brian Winter is editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly and the vice president for policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas. A best-selling author, analyst and speaker, Brian has been living and breathing Latin American politics for the past 20 years.

Brian spent a decade living in Latin America as a journalist for Reuters, based in São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Since 2015 he has been based in New York City, overseeing Americas Quarterly’s growth into a must-read for Latin America’s most influential investors and opinion leaders, while more than tripling its readership online. Brian is also the author or co-author of four books including Why Soccer Matters, a New York Times bestseller he wrote with Brazilian soccer legend Pelé; The Accidental President of Brazil, co-authored with President Fernando Henrique Cardoso; No Lost Causes, with President Álvaro Uribe; and Long After Midnight, a memoir about his time in Argentina.

 


Over the years Latin America has seen more than its share of coups, dictators, autocrats, and stolen elections. Even today, well-functioning democracies—with free and fair elections, independent media, strong and independent institutions, and active civil society—are the exceptions rather than the rule for too much of the region.

Why hasn’t liberal democracy developed deeper roots in Latin America? Why are institutions under pressure in so many places? Why do many Latins seemingly embrace “strong man” rather than democratic solutions to their social, economic, and political problems?

Brian Winter, editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly and a journalist who has covered the region for twenty years, has some answers—but also lots of worries. 

Listen to this week’s New Thinking for a New World podcast and let us know what you think and comment below.

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