Latin America December 2020 —

Written by  //  December 30, 2019  //  Americas, Government & Governance  //  No comments

Latin America 2013 – 19

30 December 2019
Latin America’s tumultuous year turns expectations on their head
2020 could bring another year of turmoil for Latin America after the dramatic events of 2019 from the Caribbean to Chile
by Tom Phillips, Latin America correspondent
(The Guardian) The final year of the decade was only 23 days old when the turmoil began with an explosion of dissent on the streets of Venezuela that most observers felt sure would displace its authoritarian leader, Nicolás Maduro.
Mass protests, frantic predictions of Maduro’s imminent downfall, and a botched military uprising followed before Juan Guaidó’s campaign to topple Hugo Chávez’s heir fizzled and an uneasy calm returned.
But elsewhere the action was only just beginning, as a wave of protests and violence swept Puerto Rico, Haiti, Ecuador and Bolivia – where President Evo Morales was forced from office amid a bloody military crackdown – leaving some wondering if a Latin American Spring had arrived.
In Peru the president dissolved congress; in Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner staged a dramatic political comeback; and in Colombia hundreds of thousands flooded the streets in opposition to the rightwing president, Iván Duque.
Even Chile, supposedly a haven of Latin American stability and affluence, was sucked into the mayhem as a hike in subway fares triggered its worst unrest in decades, leaving a trail of destruction and President Sebastián Piñera’s future in doubt.
As the year draws to a close, minds are turning to what comes next.
In a new report the Economist Intelligence Unit warned of a high risk of “protest contagion”, noting how Colombia’s protests were inspired by rebellions in neighbouring countries.
“There is a strong chance that 2020 will be another volatile year for Latin America,” the report said, predicting particularly choppy waters in Lenín Moreno’s Ecuador.
[Ivan Briscoe, the International Crisis Group’s Latin America chief] saw three likely 2020 flash points: Venezuela, as it fell deeper into political and humanitarian ruin; Brazil and Argentina, as a diplomatic spat intensified between their ideologically opposed leaders; and Mexico, where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is struggling to control a historic murder crisis claiming almost 100 lives a day.
Observers are split on whether Latin America’s biggest economy runs the risk of unrest, with former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently urging followers to “follow Chile’s example” and rebel against the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.

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