November 22, 2019

Protests in Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and a Revenge of Left-wing Forces in Argentina

Reasons for These Events and Consequences for the Region



Kateryna Vakarchuk

Mid-autumn of 2019 was marked by many events in Latin America. At first glance, protests in Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile have much in common, but they do differ. Historically, leftist ideology has been spreading in Latin America for quite some time. As you know, Cuba became the mainstay of it, later — Nicaragua, El Salvador and, eventually, Venezuela. In the early 2000s, Left-wing forces came to power in 14 Latin American countries.

2019 unrest in South America
2019 unrest in South America

Each of the three countries — Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile — where there are protests, has its own nature and etymology. In Ecuador, any attempt to move to a neoliberal model of the economy, for example, by setting a market fuel price for the population, provoked anger and made people protest. In Chile, where the market model of the economy has been operating for a long time, where prices are shaped by the market, rather than by the state, the public, on the contrary, is outraged and demands equal redistribution of the income between all categories of population. In Bolivia, the crisis is political in nature — a coup, but different from the Venezuelan scenario.

In 2015, Argentina, where Socialists were in power for a long time, elected a Liberal president. Although in 2019 Socialists won again. Mauricio Macri did not have enough time to carry out the planned reforms, and the population did not have patience to wait for these reforms.

It can be argued that there is no one model that is acceptable to all Latin American countries. But all these events have one specific feature: profound prevalence of leftist ideology within Latin American societies, polarization of strata, and a high level of civil society development.

Countries such as the United States, China, or Russia have undeniable influence in Latin America, but in the 21st century the USA still has the decisive word. The RF has significant influence on Cuba and Venezuela. In other countries of the region, this support is more ideological, but it should not be ignored, since Russia's activity and presence in the region is tangible.

The article is available in Ukrainian