How is 2022 for Latin America and the Caribbean?
An economic recovery will be the major effort in the region; and society will continue to fight protest movements and, in all likelihood, new strains of Covid. The Caribbean could be the only source of some joy with its energy boom.
By Dr Aparaajita Pandey
Covid, protests and elections have been the main theme in Latin America for 2020-21. The electoral cycle that began in 2019 will end in 2022 with the two major presidential elections in Brazil and Colombia. An economic recovery will be the major effort in the region; and society will continue to fight protest movements and, in all likelihood, new strains of Covid. The Caribbean could be the only source of some joy with its energy boom.
2022 seeks Latin America and the Caribbean, much like its last two years. It would be unfair to think that such gloomy predictions are confined to Latin America and the Caribbean; most parts of the world are grappling with economic and social insecurities that have been made worse by the constant threat of Covid-19 and its ever-evolving new variants. As the north of the world prepares to provide booster vaccines to their populations and those in the south have not yet vaccinated the vast majority of their population; it would be wrong to only retain Latin America and the Caribbean, which would suffer the consequences of the Omicron variant.
However, it is true that the pressure of this variant will certainly add to the already struggling policies, societies and economies in the region. With such a backdrop of a very obvious dark cloud of the new variant of Covid, this piece attempts to explore the prominent themes that will eventually be highlighted in the Latin America and Caribbean region in 2022. .
Starting with politics, every few years the world is obsessed with the beginning or the culmination of a new “pink” tide in Latin America. The pink in the pink tide is an acceptable shade of the “red” originally left in the proverbial American court. This palatable shade of pink is emblematic of governments often referred to as center-left, focused on socialist fundamentals, social spending and welfare. While the election results in this cycle almost offer frameworks favorable to the declaration of a pink Latin America; they don’t quite hit the mark. The region has often been characterized by its contradictions and this electoral cycle is not free from such beautiful puzzles either. While Honduras, Peru, and more recently Chile have elected presidents who can be placed on the spectrum to the left to varying degrees; and Argentina continued with Fernandez and Bolivia elected another indigenous leader immediately after Evo Morales; they all come with caveats.
The Peruvian president has been very firm with immigrants and has shown no sign of softening the Peruvian position on homosexuality and / or women’s reproductive rights. Boric Gabriel in Chile has yet to keep his campaign promises and it remains to be seen how he effectively marries economic interests with social interests. Alberto Fernandez’s party, which narrowly won the provincial election, is already showing signs of a split and in all likelihood he appears to be a one-term president, although he was the one that legalized abortions he a year ago.
Moreover, one need only look to Central America and Venezuela to realize that authoritarianism is alive and well in the region. Daniel Ortega, Nayib Bukele and Nicolas Maduro are the pillars of authoritarianism in the region who refuse to fall. People seem to be too exhausted and terrified to protest or fight. It would be hard to turn the lack of popular protest in authoritarian countries into capitulation; it must be studied with an understanding of the region’s history of death and torture squads and little qualms about political assassinations.
The existence of Gabriel Boric, who represents change and popular will, and Nicolas Maduro, who represents oppression and autocracy in the same region, does not indicate both the convenience of a global wave but the need for a better understanding of the individual. countries.
As Brazil and Colombia head to the presidential elections, it looks like a likely victory for Lula in Brazil and Gustavo Petro in Colombia who is quickly becoming a favorite. While Lula’s return seems certain in Brazil, it won’t be wrong to expect Jair Bolsonaro to adopt Trump-style tactics of violence and disruption; However, Bolsonaro does not enjoy such a loyal, blind, and large support base as Trump in the United States.
Colombian politics, on the other hand, responds to the protests that have taken place in the country over the past two years. Colombia has been a largely conservative country; however, popular outbursts over increasing taxes and cutting social spending and protests in Chile inspired the people to see a potential leader in Petro. Polls suggest he would collect 43 percent of the vote in the first primary, which is not enough to avoid a second primary, but it would come close to saying that Petro could well win the race.
2021 has not been too catastrophic for Latin America. The region showed signs of improvement as the world began to put in place systems that could work with the pandemic restrictions. As these systems are put in place; Latin American economies have also started to gain a foothold and stabilize. While no country in the world has reached its pre-Covid growth levels, the same is true for Latin America; 2021 saw the Latin American economies recover better than expected.
However, economists again suggest a slight slowdown. This would be attributed to the statistical adjustments that occur after a first stroke, while the increase in the growth rate that occurred in 2021 was encouraging. This was also statistically exaggerated, as the benchmark became the year 2020, when the world came to a complete stop. So in 2022, when the benchmark is 2021; the slight statistical decline of the Latin American economies is a mathematical inevitability.
The Caribbean, on the other hand, is expected to experience rapid increase in growth rates and across all economies as it is poised to become the world’s new energy destination. With Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Barbados discovering crude oil and natural gas in their waters, companies like Total, Shell and Exxonmobil have flocked to the region and the Caribbean is expected to become the new oil destination in the near future. This would certainly lead to a strengthening and expansion of the region’s economies; however, political interaction with large multinational oil companies and state sovereignty over their own resources is a separate topic of discussion.
Social unrest appears to be a foreseeable outcome for the region in 2022. The impact that protest movements can have on the region’s politics has been fairly well demonstrated over the past two years. However, as people demand greater incremental change for a more equal society than the one in which they grew up; the values of political, religious and economic conservatism are brought into conflict with the values of the majority of the workforce which demand paid employment, job security, income equality, gender and sexuality. Although it is difficult to categorize politics under one term, the demands made by voters between the ages of 18 and 40, who also constitute the majority of the workforce, can be characterized as demands from the “left.” of the millennium ”. They want a progressive, tolerant and tolerant society. A more equal society with opportunities for growth. A voice for women and minorities, and equal opportunity for those who have been marginalized for generations.
As Latin America and the Caribbean enter the New Year, it would be interesting to see how they match their expectations with their reality.
(The author is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy at Amity University and holds a PhD in Latin American Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University. The opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. Reproduction of this content without permission is prohibited).
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