News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Nov. 20,
2019: It’s been a “hot” fall in Latin America that is now spilling into the
winter with no real end in sight. People power is trumping elected power and
holding governments and leaders feet to the fire.
From Chile to Bolivia, Brazil and Nicaragua, protests have been ramping up for weeks on the heels of the hot summer of protests in Venezuela.
On Tuesday, 19 November 2019, students, friends and
relatives of political prisoners in Nicaragua, protested in front of a police
line at the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua over the arrest last week of
16 people for bringing water to mothers of political prisoners who were going
on a hunger strike in Masaya.
The UN human rights office also called on Nicaragua
to end its “persistent repression of dissent” saying that the recent detention
of the 16 anti-government protesters accused of arms trafficking appear to be
based on “trumped-up charges.”
In Chile, protests entered month two with 22 people
dead and more than 2,000 injured as Chileans continued on Monday to protest
social and economic inequality, and against an entrenched political elite that
comes from a small number of the wealthiest families in the country.
And in Bolivia, protests continued from supporters
of Evo Morales, who resigned and fled to Mexico after losing the support of the
security forces. The protest has also triggered food shortages with locals yesterday
lining up to buy chicken in the Miraflores neighborhood, La Paz, Bolivia. The
unrest in Bolivia first erupted after Bolivia’s ex-President Evo Morales — the
country’s first indigenous president — was accused of rigging the results of
the October 20 polls to gain re-election to a fourth term. Jeanine Anez, the
former deputy speaker of the Senate, declared herself the interim president and
has pledged to call elections soon.
Bolivian citizens residing in Argentina also demonstrated
in Buenos Aires on November 18, 2019, carrying Wiphala flags, representing some
native peoples of the Andes, Bolivian flags and banners translating “No
Coup in Bolivia.”
Also on Nov. 18th, supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, again demonstrated, though in smaller numbers, against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela while on Sunday, Nov. 17th, protesters took to the streets in Sao Paulo, Brazil, calling for the impeachment of Brazilian Federal Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes while
The latest protests comes on the heels of protests
earlier this month in Honduras against the construction of a housing project at
La Tigra National Park, in El Chimbo, north of Tegucigalpa and in Ecuador,
where protests began this fall when President Lenín Moreno touched the third
rail of Ecuadoran politics: lifting state fuel subsidies.
Most experts, including the authors of a recent
Foreign Affairs article, “Why Latin America Was Primed to Explode,” trace the
recent spate of protests to inequality, anger over corruption, unaccountable
political systems and political elites, and the collapse of rising popular
expectations after the end of the commodities boom of the early 2000s. All of
these have contributed to popular discontent.
The question now is whether the people powered protest
movements will win or fail to bring about much needed reform.
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