Boulevard St Michel
admin at living in latin america dot com
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently released the results of the report: Democracy in Latin America: Towards a Citizens Democracy. The most surprising finding was that approximately 55% of those surveyed would support an authoritarian government, instead of a democratic government, if it meant that economic conditions would improve.
Over half of the Latin American citizens who participated, do not see how democracy has significantly improved their economic standing. This lost confidence is reflected in the increased social unrest that has led to four Presidents being forced out of office since 2000. Other important result found that 56% of those surveyed thought improving economic development was more important than maintaining the institution of democracy.
The eighteen countries included in this study have had different histories of their transition from authoritarian military dictatorships. Even though this transition has produced many favorable changes, such as improved freedom of press and relatively fair elections, there still remains the widening gap between rich and poor.
No matter how overwhelming these challenges may appear, it still pales in comparison to the dark history of military rule throughout the region. A flawed democracy is still better than a perfect dictatorship.
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute --
where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic)
how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishoners for whom
to vote--where no church or church school is granted any public funds or
political preference--and where no man is denied public office merely
because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the
people who might elect him.
- from John F. Kennedy's address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
September 12, 1960.