Latin America Leans Left

Barely six months into 2021, and already it’s been a busy political year in Latin America. What’s becoming more evident with each election is how Latin America keeps leaning to the left. On Sunday, Peru voted for its next president. At the writing of this, socialist Pedro Castillo, who leads a Marxist party that wants to nationalize mines and rewrite the constitution, holds a razor-thin lead over right-wing, controversial Keiko Fujimori. Mexico also voted this past Sunday on how much control to give President Obrador over Congress. In May, Chileans elected leftist delegates to rewrite their constitution. Argentina already has a leftist president. And Brazil may see Lula throw his hat back into next year’s elections as he was recently cleared of corruption charges by the Supreme Court.  

Economists believe that Latin America has failed to achieve what matters most–resilient economic growth. Even when countries like Peru consistently grew their GDP for 8 years, the lack of public services and infrastructure and a large informal economy caused incomes to fall and poverty to shoot up again during the pandemic. Governments across the region are dealing with mistrust, dissatisfaction, poor voter turnout, and political fragmentation that have weighed down new policies. In general, Latin Americans seem to be giving priority to inequality and social services over economic growth.

One need only look at neighboring countries to see what socialism has accomplished. Venezuela under Chavez and Maduro is poverty-stricken and isolated, with many of its citizens fleeing the country. Ecuador had slower economic growth under Correa. And Brazil suffered recession under Rouseff. 

Pray for Latin America. Democracy is increasingly under threat in this region. As people head to the polls this year, many seem to be grasping at any solution that will change their situation. Let’s be all the more willing to go and tell them of the everlasting hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. 

About the author

Tracy Paver is a missionary to Chile working alongside veteran church-planting missionaries Jason and Lori Holt.

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