Week 13 – Uncertain Future

This weeks’ material was interesting for me in the sense that for the first time in the course it seems that Latin America is experiencing something that I can connect with as a young Canadian and I see in other regions of the world. That being said there are important differences but the changing political climate, uncertain economies, mass immigration and differing opinions on social reform are all things that I see in Canada’s national discourse today. Again, uncertainty about the future is something that is not unique to Latin America but in my opinion has now swept across many nations. For example we are seeing the rise of nationalism and fascism reminiscent of WWII which demonstrates that despite all the “progress” we make as a nation/global community we are not immune to going “backwards” and our path forward is less predictable than previously thought. Similarly, it was interesting to see how similar peoples’ reactions are the recent socio-political change and economic downturn as the “exit, voice, loyalty” options explained by Hirshman can be seen in different varieties throughout the world.

I also enjoyed the discussion of how climate change adds another key feature to the uncertainty of the future. Once more, this is not unique to Latin America but Latin America and other regions around the globe with economies dependent on agriculture or with large coastal areas will suffer specific and acute challenges. On a side note, it is truly amazing to me that some people still deny our role in climate change whether it be because they are ignorant of the evidence or they have some sort of agenda.

In terms of the changing political climates of Latin America, from more right-wing after their economic downturn in the 1980s to more left-wing in recent years, I think this is healthy. For me this demonstrates the resiliency of Latin Americans and capacity for progress and positive change in the region. This is supported by the fact that many nations have dynamic and expanding democracies as well as vast reductions in their income inequality. I also think it is amazing considering that earlier in the 1900s so many nations had state-sanctioned violence/kidnappings, coups and dictatorships.

Altogether, as we have seen and discussed Latin America has faced numerous challenges since its “conception” in 1492. Despite this, this week’s readings has instilled in me a sense of optimism for the region that I sincerely hope is not yet another failed promise. On this, my question for the class is to what degree is all of this uncertainty unique to Latin America? Do you agree with me that recent elections, policies, natural disasters, conflicts etc have demonstrated that we are in a time of uncertainty throughout the world?

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