Crisis, coups, shifts from dictatorships to “free democracies”… It is possible to say that the political situation of the whole world has been turbulent for the last 15 years – in my opinion after the start of Bush’s war against terror. Also, we have been discussing so many issues at the same time that it seems that no main stream political system/party has a viable and reasonable path to solve all of them: sustainability, the constant economic crisis, religious freedom and privacy in the Internet are just some of the issues we have to deal with in the 21st century. Amazingly, South America can display this unstable situation in a really factual way.
Brazil, for example, has been suffering from a political crisis since the middle of last year, when an impeachment process started by the opposition, was declined by the Brazilian supreme court. However, in the end of March, an amazing turn of events happened in Brazilian politics, letting Frank Underwood – from the TV Series “House of Cards” – really jealous of the politician’s use of the political machinery. To briefly explain the subject, since it is not the main focus here, Brazil’s previous president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was being investigated by the police since he is allegedly involved in some (yes, more than one) corruption scandals. After multiple house searches and one request for his deposition, the police decided to turn Lula into a prime suspect of the investigation. Now, its good to make a remark here: Lula is the main reason why Brazil’s current president, Dilma Roussef, holds the post nowadays. His support towards her was the only reason why she was elected, since during his period as president Brazil’s growth was astonishing.
After Lula became the main suspect, on Friday the 11th of March, rumors that Lula was going to be arrested started. On Wednesday the 16th of March, Lula was nominated Minister by president Roussef, thus stopping the regular justice department from making any arrests since now he can only be judged by the Supreme Court, which also was nominated by president Roussef. In doing so, she not only publicly admitted to support Lula, but also admitted with his nomination, that Lula was either guilty of the charges, or did something else wrong.
In the middle of all of this, thousands of Brazilians went protesting against Rouseff’s decision as well as to call for the arrest of the ex-president Lula. The public reaction towards all this ‘freak show’ is what is really interesting. After tons of discussion with friends and family I realized how lost we truly are in the middle of this political exhibit. Both biggest parties in Brazil, left-wing PT (the Workers Party) and right-wing PSDB (the Brazilian Social Democracy Party), are being investigated, along with all the other parties affiliated with them. As a Brazilian, I find myself truly lost in whom to believe and whom to vote for in the next elections, and that’s is where my fear lies: moments like this are moments when the extremes of politics start to pop up. Fascism, dictatorships, communism and so on. Everyone that seems to have any certainty of what should be done right now is either using rate speech or is advocating for it. Doesn’t that seem familiar? Maybe with a presidential candidate from the U.S.A? Or maybe with a female deputy from the french parliament?
All the political systems that were already proven to be flawed, are, for sure, going to come to the surface again as the true solution to all the problems. In the last couple of years, the whole South American continent has suffered from what started as a severe economical crisis and then became a political one. Paraguay, Argentina, Venezuela, are just some of the examples of change of the regime and the political view sustained by the government.
GDP of Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile and Colombia
The shift to the right wing, clearly helps the countries in the first moment as does the shift to left wing: Argentina’s new president, Macri, who’s right wing, claims that over 20 billion dollars are expected to be invested in the country this year. Moreover, Macri increased the wages of public teachers after they protested for a couple of months asking for better working conditions. On the other hand, Obama’s left-wing actions also helped USA to get out of the 2008 crisis in a relatively short time, and assisted over 8.8 million people to get health care with the Obamacare program. The problem is what happens when we have a long-term view of the political-economical history, and South America pictures this perfectly: from 1960-1980 most countries in South America were living under conservative military dictatorships. After that, since most of the dictatorships were able to leave the government through settlements, a small liberal period occurred from 1980s to late 1990s. We then arrive at the last period, characterized by left-wing governments and dictatorships, which now are being deposed for the reintegration of the liberal right wing. If the GDP of these countries is analyzed, it becomes clear how the political scenario changes with the oscillation of a country’s economy.
Both left and right wing have been unsuccessful in presenting good approaches towards the improvement of any country in the last few decades: the proof of that is the constant political pendulum we have been living on since the very first start of the social economy. We go from the right, to the left and back again. With different names and different actors, the world political scene keeps changing the causes of our constant problems as well as the people who are responsible for it. And it seems like the more we know about what is going on in the rest of the world, the more evident is that the world needs a different view.
I know its pretty easy to stand here, talk about all of this, publish it, and then just leave a question mark in your head. What should we do then? Whom should we vote for? If there’s no right and left, where should I stand? And I believe that this is a good start. This is where actual improvement starts. The own realization that we are not sure about anything right now is a start. We need to realize that we either stop and think about the problem we are going through or, at some point, it is going to be too late. So maybe now is the time to listen to that hippie friend who is always talking about sustainability, or that hacker friend who is always talking about the pirate party or even that guy who always said that the system is broken. Things like this should open our minds to new solutions to the problems we have. We cannot expect to solve problems in the 21st century using theories that were created either in the 20th century or in the 19th century. Maybe at the moment the best thing to do is to have an question mark in our heads.