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Country and the people

There are many issues facing Peru today that affect the overall economic and political geography of the area. These issues also relate to topics that we have discussed in class in terms of the political geography of South America and the emerging Third World, and the economic geography of an emerging democracy in the midst of much corruption. In this article, there were five issues that were sparking protests in Peru. The first was the mines and oil exploration interests.

Communities either did not want them or did want them to pay more money to the local communities that they were directly impacting. The second issue was the issue of government infrastructure projects. The issue was some individuals either did not want them in their backyard, or “yes in my backyard and on no account in my neighbor’s. ” This means that there were some advantages to be gained by these infrastructure projects and the people wanted to take advantage of that. The next issue was general strikes.

Fourth was the demand for better bus service, and finally, the ejection of corrupt officials. In this fledgling democracy, there have been many instances of the President himself putting out fires from a conflict over a hydroelectric plant to having to set up talks over a solid-waste treatment plant. It is difficult to separate the political geography from the economic geography. They are so intricately tied together. Politics and economics are necessarily tied together because the political system is so dependent on the economic system and condition of the country and the people.

Where the people are happy and economically well off, there tends to be a stable government that is fairly democratic. Where the people are economically disadvantaged, despotism reigns. Politically, these conflicts are blamed on far-left fringe parties. They are common in this part of the world, and are all over the place, from Venezuela to Chile to Argentina. This part of the world may be emerging, but they are still very fragile and prone to both corruption and downfall from protests. Amazingly, a shocking 88% of the Peruvian people approve of the protests so long as they are non-violent.

Economically, the system is corrupted. Money is being wasted on swimming pools when schools need to be built and health services are lacking, and there is no internet. However, one commentator has it correct when they state that “democracy does not nurture capitalism, it is the other way around”. Where there is capitalism, there is democracy, simply because there are more stakeholders in the government system and they are willing to work to make the democratic system work within the bounds of the economic system.

When we look at Peru as an emerging capitalistic democracy, we see it as a test of all other future democracies in the region. In other words, if democracy and capitalism work in Peru, it is likely to work in other areas in South America. With the emerging despotism of Venezuela, the true test will be to see if this emerging democracy will create pressure on Venezuela to change its despotic ways and become a more mainstream quasi-democracy. It will also encourage other emerging capitalistic democracies to take the plunge and become full members of the community of democratic nations.

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