Democracy, Economy, and Politics in Latin America: Analysis, evidence, and lessons on Bolivia and Brazil

Michael Chibba

Published: March 2021

From economic and political perspectives, freedom is the central concept in democracy. The economic and political background, and evidence from Bolivia and Brazil, show that democracy was briefly tested in Bolivia, but in Brazil it continues to face profound challenges. The 2019 military-led coup d’état in Bolivia temporarily suspended democracy in that nation. But the 2020 elections reinstated democracy and, with it, economic and political freedoms were restored. Its economy is back on track to be robust, but currently faces limitations due to the coronavirus. In Brazil, the situation is different. While it also has a nascent democracy, its current president is mired in controversy and turmoil due to unpopular and undemocratic economic and other policies that do not tackle key weaknesses in the economy but rather promote a personal and ideological agenda. Lessons to be learned, as highlighted in the conclusion, are drawn from analysis of both recent developments and the status quo in these two Latin American countries.

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