Common risk for Latin America

Corruption, criminality, economic uncertainty, weariness of political parties and class, and dangerous failures in public institutions outline the future of Latin America.

The achievements of the continent in the decade of 2002 to 2012 are not negligible. According to García-Sayán, thanks to the high prices of oil, iron, coal and other export products, economic growth was 80 percent, poverty was reduced by 30 percent and the middle class grew in The same encouraging percentage in almost all our countries, except for Cuba and Venezuela, victims of a disastrous tropical communism now called the socialism of the 21st century. Democracy finally prevailed throughout the continent, leaving behind, like ghosts of the past, military dictatorships.

After such a boom, the recession was felt in Latin America by the fall of oil prices and the ostensible decline of the global economy, which included advantageously competitive countries such as China. "It would be good," writes García-Sayán in El Pais de España, "that this short-term 'tree' will not prevent us from seeing the forest threatening the political and institutional stability of the region." And after this announcement, begins to make a count of the evils that lurk us.

The first of these is the growing discredit of the political class. Much of public opinion does not perceive it as an instrument for solving problems, but as a separate world driven by its own interests. Several scandals are associated with this visible and progressive divorce: the decline of the old parties, the vote turned into a buying commodity, bureaucracy, increased public spending, inflation, deterioration in health services and education And, above all, corruption scandals.

The crisis of the old parties is evident in almost all our countries. Over the time, the fervor that aroused in the popular classes was disappearing as their struggle for power became a clan struggle to dispose, to their advantage, an irregular management of public resources and bureaucratic quotas.

Corruption, which in Colombia causes daily scandals collected by the media, is much more common in Latin America than we could imagine. Especially the political world and companies and private companies that get millions of state contracts thanks to unscrupulous officials who, in exchange for secret prebendas, are assigned. Hence 'politician' has become a bad word in the continental scope.

Perhaps the exception is Chile, where there is still a culture of legality and respect for institutions, as Manuel Teodoro recently revealed in his television program Seventh Day. One might think that the same thing happens in Peru, but García-Sayán himself reminds us that in a recent survey conducted in his country, 85 percent of people had the perception that all politicians are corrupt. Of course, this is not a reality, but corresponds to an exaggerated popular feeling.

It is a fact that the country of Latin America most shaken by criminality is Venezuela. In Colombia, this phenomenon, which strikes, with the exception of Barranquilla, the main cities and vast regions of the country, is due to drug trafficking, displacement, and the rise of criminal gangs, which convert robbery and robbery into modes of life, already evident failures in the administration of justice implying impunity. Countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua live in equal or worse situation because of drug trafficking and gang warfare. The theft of cell phones has become the daily bread of criminals who find in this activity an easy and lucrative business.

Contrary to popular belief, the rapid growth of the middle class has not necessarily been a factor of stability for the region. The rural world, which half a century ago had a considerable weight in our countries, disappeared as its population moved to cities in search of better opportunities.

With some exceptions, the failures of public institutions and the lack of reliable authority are evident in the countries of the region because of the biases of a political class without the old validity it once had. In short, they are the time bombs that threaten us.

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