Hispanic Spring? Not quite,... yet
One major issue overshadowed by the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, which has consumed the attention of the International Community due the size of Russia and the provocative nature of its behavior, is the unrest plaguing Venezuela. With the death of the often-confrontational socialist President Hugo Chavez last year, there is no longer a beloved figurehead capable of pacifying the growing unrest rooted in the unfulfilled promises and failing policies of the Chavismo socialist revolution. Where the high-valued oil reserves of the South American country offered Chavez an easy and plenty source of revenue that could be used to fuel massive socialist programs, yet insufficient to meet all the interests of the Venezuelan People, Venezuela suffers from the shortcomings of an idealized socialist economy.
The fault of any socialist economy is that the political class is empowered to manually distribute wealth to the population. Because politicians are pressured to appease the whims of their constituents in order to stay in power, among other issues, it is far harder to distribute wealth (resources/capital) to areas of the economy that will increase production while developing new sources of capital for the economy. Of course, this fault does exist in capitalism economies when a small wealthy elite over serves its own interests to the detriment of all others, but the automated approach to distributing wealth can help weed out bad investments doomed to fail.
That said, Venezuela is not the only story in South America. Since before the beginning of the Clinton Administration, little constructive attention has been paid to the Americas by the United States and the rest of the International Community. NAFTA, which is probably the most significant foreign policy effort of the US and its neighbors, was essentially a “set-it-and-forgot-it” approach to dealing with the economic relationships between American countries. Certainly, there have been conflicts, which were either ignored or solved with hurried reactions, while there have been efforts to address humanitarian crises, but the US has largely been disengaged in its own hemisphere with no true regional leadership present.
Currently, we have Brazil emerging as a major global economic power, yet so ripe with hopeless poverty that civil unrest is certain to erupt into a major social conflict at some point. Meanwhile, the degenerative socioeconomic conditions in Haiti are getting no better while Mexico continues to be engulfed in an inner war against terribly vicious drug cartels that act like terrorists. Clearly, these are only a few well-known examples of what is going wrong South of America, but there is definitely an ongoing and growing trend toward governments failing to address the most basic interests of their Peoples. Given the inspirational nature of the Arab Spring Revolutions and the democratization/Americanization of the International Community, among a whole host of other consideration, including a shift away from outsourcing to as far away as Asia by the US, the Peoples of Central and South America will eventually have to demand their interests be addressed as the Peoples of the Middle East are.
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