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Chart: The State of Democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean

December 12, 2019

Latin Americans' faith in democracy might have declined in the 2010s, but the region notches the highest levels of electoral participation and freedom of religion in the world. We chart the state of democracy in the region.
Two out of three Latin Americans agree that democracy is the best system of government, down 14% since 2013. As we head into the 2020s, we analyze the state of Latin American democracies after a year of political unrees as we look ahead to the 2020s.

Latin American democracies have been heaving in 2019. Chileans kicked off a wave of protests this fall and are discussing how to rewrite their constitution in the coming year. Peruvians will hold early congressional elections in the new year after a constitutional showdown between the executive and legislative branches at the beginning of October. Bolivia remains in a state of electoral limbo after President Evo Morales fled the country amid uproar over his disputed electoral win. Even Panamanians were in the streets over constitutional reforms. And Venezuela is approaching 11 months of dueling administrations

In a rosier interpretation, citizens’ public petitioning of their governments for redress of grievances is a fundamental act that can only strengthen democratic institutions. On the flip side, the unrest comes up against and threatens inchoate frameworks of democracy in the region, where many countries have spent less than half a century as democracies. And while surveys show that public confidence in democracy as a system is in fact down, the region still is the world’s third-most democratic and notches the highest levels of electoral participation and freedom of religion. 

In the below charts, we look at reports that analyze and assess the state of the region’s democracies as we head into the 2020s.