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Latin America: Democracy, Freedom and The Rule of Law

By Aleksander Boyd

London 26.04.06 | Respect to one’s life, rights and dignity, protection from the State, functioning institutions, separation of powers, enjoyment of one’s property, freedom of expression and flow of information… all characteristics of truly democratic nations, whose citizens bask on the certainty of going about their lives doing pretty much what most please them. Pluralism is celebrated; civility rules debate; fair and transparent elections, a normal occurrence; economic puissance, the ultimate source of funds to maintain government’s plans and policies.

But how about under developed countries; how can its citizens cope with irresponsible, inefficient, utterly corrupt and, in some cases, autocratic regimes? Where do they go for redress when rights are trampled upon? What do they do when justice systems are in fact, appendices of the Executive? More importantly, what tools are at their disposal to re-establish, or tougher still, create democratic order?

Difficult questions that merit introspective analyses. Latin America has yet to overcome the mercantilistic hurdles imposed centuries ago. The common saying “if you do it in New York, you can do it anywhere” ought to be modified, impervious conditions for the successful establishment and operation of commercial enterprises are such, that economic growth keeps lagging behind other regions in similar conditions. Banking on widespread ignorance scruple-less politicos have identified the blame-for-everything scapegoat: The Washington Consensus forced upon the region by the imperialistic neighbour to the north.

Little is said about the level of responsibility of those who have ruled. As a common human treat, it is always more comforting to blame others for one’s own inefficiency, and Latin American leaders are but example of that premise.

The time to face our destiny, and responsibility quotas, has arrived. With that in mind the Sao Paulo Commercial Association has organized an International Seminar on Liberal Democracy to be held next May, 15-16. The aim of the Seminar is to present and discuss the ideas of a group of intellectuals and directors of organizations from different countries on the principal matters related to Democracy, Freedom and the Rule of Law, from a liberal-conservative point of view and also to suggest contributions to specific policies to practical implementation of liberal ideas in Latin American Countries.

I have been honoured with an invitation to this conference that, hopefully, shall be the much needed platform for the discussion of ideas and projects on how to get the majority of the people in our continent out of poverty, inequality, ignorance, fear and unemployment.

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