Latin America is roiling with turmoil and protests. What will the political upheaval mean for democracy?
Plus: Can democracy be saved from Big Tech? Francis Fukuyama and his critics debate how to rein in Facebook, Twitter, and the rest. Rana Siu Inboden reveals how Beijing is suppressing civil society at the UN.
The lead set of articles in the Journal of Democracy‘s July 2021 issue explores Latin America’s political upheaval in the wake of mass protests by citizens weary of corruption, inequality, and rising crime rates:
- El Salvador’s thirtysomething strongman Nayib Bukele is destroying democratic institutions via a blend of traditional populist appeals, classic authoritarian behavior, and social media savvy—a unique strategy that Manuel Meléndez-Sánchez calls “millennial authoritarianism.”
- In Chile, dissatisfied citizens ditched the Pinochet-era constitution and re-founded their country. Claudia Heiss looks at whether this is the cure the country needs and if it will work.
- Peru’s democracy is at risk of derailing. Paula Muñoz explains how the once-stable country ended up with two populist candidates who have left it in an election-made crisis.
- Comparing Bolivia, Brazil, and Venezuela, V. Ximena Velasco Guachalla, Calla Hummel, Sam Handlin, and Amy Erica Smith show how hard it is for aspiring autocrats to build stable hybrid regimes.
- Laurence Whitehead argues that countries across Latin America are struggling with “democratic delinquencies” that threaten to devour their democracies.
- Ecuador’s new president, a businessman with no political experience, wasn’t most voters’ first choice. John Polga-Hecimovich and Francisco Sánchez look at why the country—and the region—can’t escape its pathologies.
Also in this issue:
- Robert Faris and Joan Donovan, Nathalie Maréchal, Dipayan Ghosh and Ramesh Srinivasan, and Daphne Keller take issue with Francis Fukuyama’s April 2021 Journal of Democracy essay “Making the Internet Safe for Democracy”; Fukuyama responds to his critics.
- Rana Siu Inboden writes that China is blocking civil society’s participation within the UN to avoid unwanted criticism on issues like human rights and to enforce its own positions, including the one-China policy.
- When leaders are more powerful than their parties and their personalities have an outsized impact on policies, political polarization deepens and democracy suffers, argue Erica Frantz, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche, and Joseph Wright.
- Péter Krekó shows how foreign autocracies are less powerful than their propaganda makes them seem.
- E. Gyimah-Boadi, Carolyn Logan, and Josephine Sanny explain how, even with billions in investments and incredible influence, China has not dented Africans’ support for democracy.
- Celeste Wallander reviews Kathryn Stoner’s Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order and Timothy Frye’s Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin’s Russia.