Latin America: The Most Bizarre Political Landscape in the World

By Ricardo Tremblay | United States

I love bringing a foreign perspective to this organization. Being Canadian & Chilean, and having spent time in both countries for a respectable amount of time, it really is interesting seeing how my countries’ political climates differ from the United States. Something I noticed recently, however, is how particularly unique the political landscape is in Latin America.

Let me explain.

Chile, Argentina, and Colombia are all Latin American countries with surprisingly high standards of living. In Chile, for example, while the absolute bottom class members do live in inhumane conditions, the vast majority of the population enjoys a lifestyle much like most Americans do. There is class division, of course, meaning you’ll find lush and vibrant neighborhoods as well as crime-heavy slums. But once again, it really is not much different from the States.

What is really intriguing, though, is how utterly unstable Latin American politics are compared to many other developed countries in the world. If you thought the political drama in the United States was bad right now, go have a quick gander at Venezuela, or Colombia. Venezuela really needs no explanation, but Colombia’s situation is a little more interesting.

First of all, Marxism is popular in Colombia, and to an uncomfortable degree. In fact, ever since the 1960s (yes, that’s before Pablo Escobar came into play), there has been frequent terrorist attacks in the country by the National Liberation Army. ‘ELN’ for short, this terrorist group is still causing trouble in the country. A ceasefire agreed upon by the ELN and the government of Colombia recently ended on January 8th, 2018. Merely hours after the ceasefire expired, the ELN resumed their terrorist attacks on Colombian industry.

Colombia isn’t the only country in Latin America experiencing this bizarre phenomenon though. Other highly developed Latin American countries have just been completely politically unstable since their founding. Chile has had the most successful and attempted coup d’etats in history, with the most recent being in 1973. It occurred when Augusto Pinochet installed a right-wing government after successfully overthrowing the previous Marxist government, led by Salvador Allende. In Brazil, they have elected a goat, a clown and a rhinoceros to Sao Paulo city council. That rhino, by the way, received over 100,000 votes.

Latin America is a really bizarre place, but it is fascinating at the same time. I love Chile, and I believe that the entire continent has immense potential to become dominant world superpowers. But first, please stop electing clowns into office, both figuratively, and literally.

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