Colombian ballots. (AP)

Colombian ballots. (AP)


Brian Winter on Tällberg Foundation Podcast: Latin American Democracy—Dead or Alive?

"The more time passes from the pandemic and as people start feeling this recovery, we may see democracy still hold firm," said the AS/COA vice president.

Brian Winter, policy vice president at AS/COA, spoke to Alan Stoga on the Tällberg Foundation's New Thinking for a New World podcast about democracy in Latin America. 

"The future of democracy in Latin America is very uncertain. This is a region of more than 500 million people, several dozen countries, and the story differs from one to the other," said Winter. "I think this is a story that mirrors a lot of what’s happening throughout the West: Faith in institutions and in rules and in systems is in many cases being supplanted by faith in a powerful leader who predictably decries the system as being run by corrupt elites that are out to get you. I think that what we’re seeing in the region is really just a reflection of what we’re seeing elsewhere in the world, including to some degree here in the United States."

Winter explained that the 2000s was a period of broad-based prosperity in Latin America because of the commodities boom when more than 50 million people rose out of poverty and joined the middle class, which became the biggest demographic in Latin America for the first time ever. "This was a period that saw a considerable amount of optimism, support for democracy actually rose because people were happy," he said. "When the commodities boom ended…there was this phenomenon of people lashing out and in the process of lashing out, they looked at the politicians in charge and said, 'Maybe it’s not just one or two, maybe it’s the whole system.'"

Listen to the full episode.