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Politics in Latin America

Latin America countries are mostly Spanish and Portuguese speaking nations mostly from central and southern America. Most of these countries in one or another have internal and external crises which have led to subsequent decrease in their growth. Latin American countries have been characterized by widespread neo-populism which involves formation of social policies which mostly favors the lower classes of people. These countries struggled to end tears of dictatorships and corrupt governments by forming the neo populism groups. These policies have led to extensive changes in the system of governance in these countries.

Neo populism became very popular with many Latin American countries towards the end of 20th century for instance Venezuela. Venezuela has been ruled by Hugo Chavez since 1999. He was an army officer since his teenage years and was a left wing supporter (anti government) coordinating left wing groups both in the army and outside. Emergence of Hugo Chavez Venezuela was faced with a lot of challenges towards the end of 1980s leading to formation of anti- government (left wing) groups from the military to the general public. Hugo Chavez became popular after being arrested after the failed 1992 coup.

Not even the jail term could stop them from developing ideas while in prison where he met other left wing members. Chavez became very popular with the majority of Venezuela people and this led to his successful win in the 1998 elections. He took over the office in February 1999 as the president of Venezuela with the aim of strengthening the Venezuela economy. He invested a lot in the military which he used in trying to combat poverty in Venezuela during the times of the ‘plan Bolivar’ which included road expansion and repair, advanced housing and immunization against common diseases.

Food stuffs were greatly subsidized ensuring that even the poorest people could easily afford food. Chavez also introduced policies that lead to reduction of inflation rates by a significant number. The continuation of this project proved futile before even one year was over as a result of corruption accusations from the military officers. Chavez changed many Venezuelan organizations and stopped the reliance of the USA based economy policies. This led to the increased growth of the Venezuelan economy because of the increased flow of money into Venezuela.

The increase was contributed greatly by the restructuring of the Venezuela oil company. Chavez also influenced the Organization of Oil Producing Countries (OPEC) to reduce oil production which led to increased oil prices thereby increasing the profits of oil to Venezuela and subsequent economic growth. This was realized by the growth of the gross domestic production of Venezuela by nearly 30% with economic growth at 10%. The reduced oil production threatened the energy security of the USA which depended almost entirely on the Venezuelan oil products.

Other factors that led to strong economic growth in Venezuela included social developments and steady firm influence. The petroleum industry in Venezuela influenced politics positively by increasing the number of middle class because the cash flow was high enough to support many people in the country (Karl 2001). A lot of job opportunities were also increased in the Chavez era for all people and allied parties. (Ellner, 2003). The high organization of social groups with the incorporation of the military, entrepreneurs and the church led to more institutionalization of social and corporate interests (Villa 1999).

These social groups were supported by Chavez and could discuss directly with the leaders. Neopopulism became very popular in the Latin American countries which an involved traditional political system which has led to a lot of complains in many nations. The neopopulism mostly leads to emergence of both urban and rural middle class populations with many employment opportunities boosting the economy of the countries that practice neopopulism. This has shown remarked growth in gross domestic production and the economy in countries like Venezuela.

In countries like Venezuela the media and pressure on the government are the key strategies use to enhance neo populism strong growth. Media is the most commonly use means to maintain the communication between the masses of people in support of the system and their leaders. The main objective of formation is to show dissatisfaction with the government when the government fails to serve its citizens as it is ought to (Mazzoleni, 2003). There are three main factors linked to neopopulism which include corrupt officials, need for a courageous leader and rhetoric unqualified and blunt (Blumler, 2005).

Through many means utilized by the media the neopopulism societies are intensely strengthened creating a lot of pressure on the non performing governments. In many ways these countries for instance Venezuela became more independent and started to make their own policies rather than depending on policies adopted in other countries. Chavez is faced with a lot of challenges as economy mismanagement is on the increase in Venezuela. Colombia is one of the Latin American countries where large scale farming of drugs is widespread and the government is faced with the responsibility of fighting these narcotics.

Colombia like many Latin American countries had issues that the government was unable to deliver and therefore the majority of the people believe that some people had solutions to these issues leading to emergence of new populist personalities. Colombians believed that Uribe would safe the country from the many guerrilla groups by ruling with iron fist. President Alvaro Uribe adopted measures like those taken by many populist presidents to maintain his position as the president for a long time.

Uribe gained fame from the common people because of his fight against guerrilla groups in Colombia majority of who were involved in the narcotics syndicates. Uribe has accused many countries of supporting the FARC paramilitary group which has been opposing the government for around four decades in a bid to cover the domestic issues facing his country. Eradiation of the guerrilla groups in Colombia has been a tough job because most of these groups are highly organized, well funded and a constant supply of armory. Colombia has significantly grown in the era of president making him a favorite to many people.

Uribe is not ready for another term but the congress wants him to b re-elected once more as the president. The challenges facing president Uribe are many and therefore he had to come up with laws and policies that would allow him to curb these challenges effectively. Democratic security policy was therefore introduced in 2003 to reduce violence, stop the illegal drug trafficking, manage resources and eventually improve the government performance. For all these to be met a lot of coordination between the government and the Colombian people was vital to succeed.

The government therefore increased its spending on defense, taking control of national roads and supporting the soldiers to help curb these challenges especially the terrorism activities. Within the first year of adoption of this law there was a drastic reduction in the number of kidnappings and terrorist attacks. A lot of soldiers were recruited and deployed in most Colombian cities and towns to reduce the activities of the illegal groups. The soldiers were many with all the necessary equipments for example helicopters and increased suppliers to be able to combat the illegal guerrilla group effectively.

The democratic policy was not embraced by everybody and was faced with a lot of critics especially from non governmental organizations, human rights activists groups and opposition parties. However, with time the critics agreed that there was an improvement in the whole situation with the number of violence related cases dropping significantly. There were lot arguments on the best way of solving the problem of especially the violence from the paramilitary groups to help bring the four decade problem to a stop.

The deployment of soldiers in most urban enters and villages helped to decreased illicit plant production there by reducing the revenue obtained by the guerrilla groups. Civilian Spies were also deployed in all areas especially in areas where the guerrilla grew illicit plant like coca to provide information on the guerrilla groups so that the government would be able to effectively control the illegal business. Civilians who operated right from their homes were also trained to fight the paramilitary groups which have left these people being targeted by the paramilitary groups endangering their lives.

To effectively adopt the democratic security policy Uribe granted the soldiers extra powers which allowed them to work without any approval from the judiciary or any other government officials. The number of people who were leaving their homes as a result of fighting was numerous and therefore Uribe introduced community development policy with the aim of reducing the numbers of people migrating ands giving them chance to appreciate the new parameters for fighting to end violence in both the urban and rural areas.

The economic growth in the reign of Uribe has been greatly influenced by USA support which has been advocating for the free trade in between Colombia and other world nations. The democratic security policy introduced by Uribe has seen Colombia curb some of its worst problems. The rates of deaths and kidnappings were significantly reduced and more job opportunities were created by recruiting more soldiers who were able even to operate right from their community homes. During this time Uribe was faced with a lot challenges which required fresh approach overcome them.

Uribe is one of the Americas popular presidents as he tried to raise the gross domestic percentage and the lives of many Colombians were better than there before. This made him to be liked by many Colombians. His approach involved fighting the guerrilla and paramilitary groups thereby reducing the number of killings and kidnappings. Privatization of many institutions was also done especially the health care sector. The national budget towards the health care was increased substantially ensuring that there were enough clinical officers and drugs.

Neoliberals in many ways have affected the performance in many Latin American countries. This is greatly enhanced by the keen watch of the performance of the government by the left wing groups. Neoliberals arise when some government fail to deliver leading to formation of anti government groups. The chosen by the population as a result of failures in the past government usually work to the satisfaction of the citizens who approved them to vie for instance president Uribe who was believed that he would deliver Colombia from guerrilla groups and increase the economic growth.

His policies have worked leading to a great decrease in the paramilitary and guerrilla groups thereby ensuring the safety of the Colombian citizens. The recruitment of more security guards increased employment opportunities by which many people especially the youth were encouraged to apply these jobs reducing idleness in youths. Idle youths could easily look for other money generating activities like drug trafficking or joining the paramilitary and guerrilla groups. Uribe’s administration was also successful by the fact that it recognized that there were paramilitary and guerrilla groups in the country and needed immediate abolishment.

This administration also had to recognize that there were a lot of illicit drug farming in the areas near and within the forests and adopted new measures like using airplanes to spray chemicals that inhibited the growth of the illicit crops thereby reducing the revenue obtained by the guerrilla groups. This approach was very effective because it meant that these groups were clipped financially and therefore regulating their illegal activities. The use of chemicals to spray the illicit plants was however not good because the chemicals were capable of causing harmful effects to the inhabitants around these areas.

This called for use of other means of controlling the growth of the illicit plants. Uribe strengthened most of the local institutions without being limited to the military surveillance. These activities shown deep social and economic problems and needed to be addressed with immediate effects to improve the social and economic image among these communities. References Leslie, B. Latin America since 1930: Spanish South America. 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press, 1991. Charles,B. Ricardo, P. Violence in Colombia: the contemporary crisis. 2nd Edition. SR Books, 1992.

Violence in Colombia: the contemporary crisis in historical perspective By Charles W. Bergquist, Ricardo Penaranda, Gonzalo Sanchez G. Contributor Charles W. Bergquist Edition: illustrated Published by SR Books, 1992 Liberalism versus conservatism: a bibliography with indexes By Francois B. Gerard Edition: illustrated Published by Nova Publishers, 2000 Violence in Colombia: the contemporary crisis in historical perspective By Charles W. Bergquist, Ricardo Penaranda, Gonzalo Sanchez G. Contributor Charles W. Bergquist Edition: illustrated Published by SR Books, 1992

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