In the past two to three decades, there has been a general trend towards improvement in Latin America. Granted, there are still many issues in the region, but it seems that these countries are heading towards a more positive future. I think it’s important to note that this amelioration has come at a time when the US has become less involved in the political lives of Central and South American countries. I don’t think that this is simply a coincidence. Rather, I believe that the decreased American presence has enabled countries to now freely choose the way in which their government is run, and the people are given chances to be heard. Instead of being forced to only do what the North wants, countries have been able to choose for themselves. This is similar to my reasoning for why the enactment of IMF neoliberalist policies ended up actually hindering economic growth throughout the area. Latin America has a very distinct history, and thus, we cannot assume that ideals and practices from the Global North will translate well to this new context. Rather, each country has to figure out which system works best for it, and be allowed to explore. The Latin American people have significantly modified their governments over time (this sometimes occurred more easily in certain states than in others) and are still working today to find a happy medium for all citizens. This of course will take some time and will not be easy, but I think they are well on the way to reaching that goal.
One issue I couldn’t help but focus on was the continued, willful disregard of indigenous communities. It seems that from Columbus’ arrival to the present day, natives have been largely ignored, oppressed, and at times violently persecuted. Even in cases where the president or leader of the country directly reaches out for their support, such leaders often end up enacting policies that betray those that helped them gain their position. To justify their actions, those who go against Indians villainize, infantilize, and reduce them to primitives. It seems that the only way for Indigenous peoples to survive is to assimilate to leave behind their cultures and assimilate. I wonder, what is the future for indigenous populations that want to continue their traditions? Will their way of living eventually die out? Or will the be allowed to live as their ancestors have been for centuries?
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