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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Latin America Unrest Forces Biden to Confront Challenges to Democracy Near Dwelling

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Venezuela, as soon as one in every of South America’s most affluent nations, is now one in every of its poorest, gutted by corruption and sanctions that precipitated its profitable oil trade to decay. Mr. Maduro stays in energy, with the assistance of Russian and Cuban backing.

An estimated 4 million refugees have fled Venezuela since then, creating one of many world’s worst humanitarian catastrophes. Almost half of them are in neighboring Colombia, which this spring grappled with its personal home unrest, as protesters indignant over nationwide taxes and coronavirus fatigue clashed with safety forces.

In an interview in Could, President Iván Duque Márquez of Colombia stated he didn’t doubt that the US would proceed to assist his nation, regardless of human rights considerations about his authorities’s techniques.

“Now we have to be all sincere and put her fingers on our hearts for a sure second,” Mr. Duque instructed reporters for The New York Instances. “We’re residing in very sophisticated occasions world wide. Now we have seen excessive ranges of political polarization. You’re residing it in the US. And you recognize that whenever you mix polarization with social media and opinions that generally are usually not primarily based on thorough understanding, they’ll additionally generate violence.”

Different Latin American autocrats have adopted Mr. Maduro’s lead.

In Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega has imposed a nationwide crackdown in opposition to the information media and civil society earlier than elections in November, during which he’ll search a fourth time period. On the sidelines of a assembly of Central American international ministers final month, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken discreetly urged Nicaragua’s prime diplomat to make sure a free and truthful vote.

The subsequent day, Mr. Ortega’s authorities detained one in every of his highest-profile political opponents.

U.S. officers later insisted it was necessary for the Biden administration to place Nicaragua and different Latin American nations on discover of the US’ rising concern about challenges to democracy. Mr. Ventrell, the State Division official, stated the aggression by Mr. Ortega — a former revolutionary and lengthy a thorn within the aspect of the US — was proof of how weak his assist was amongst Nicaraguan voters.

However the Biden administration is all too conscious of the fragile nature of democracy within the area.

“Let’s be sincere: Democracies are fragile issues. I absolutely acknowledge that,” Samantha Energy, the administrator of the US Company for Worldwide Growth, stated at a speech final month at Central American College in San Salvador.

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