While there is still ongoing violence and conflict in Latin America, the politics of the region have shifted. The region now has more civilian governments than at any other time in the twentieth century, and many of these are centrist or left-of-centre governments that enjoy significant support from the majority and poorest sectors of the population. People in most countries have gradually acquired political freedoms, and legal systems have unevenly incorporated a measure of respect for human rights. However, the regionís structural problems persist: despite the fact that elections are more or less fair and reliable, democracy is not working effectively enough to resolve the problems of the great majority of people, especially women, indigenous peoples, and Afro-descendant communities. In many post-conflict countries, the violence is as or more intense than during the armed conflict. Peace processes addressed neither the root causes nor many of the effects of the original conflicts, in particular economic exclusion and the impunity of the powerful. So, along with high levels of common crime, much of the new violence is connected to organized crime with roots in past military structures, and to the paramilitary arms of "legitimate" economic interests, often linked to corrupted officials who continue to enjoy the impunity inherited from the past.
While Colombia is the only remaining "hot" war in Latin America, its internal conflict affects and is affected by issues that concern the entire region: struggles over natural resources such as petroleum and minerals often linked to the territorial rights of indigenous peoples as well as narcotics trafficking, and the fragility of democratic institutions in the region.
At the same time, a new citizenship is emerging out of the long struggle for formal democracy. People are demanding a say in the governance of their nations, livelihoods, and futures. Inter Pares works with national organizations in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru and Colombia, as well as with our long-time regional counterpart Project Counselling Service, to support people in their efforts to regain control of their resources, assert the political participation of women and indigenous peoples, challenge economic exclusion and the impunity of the powerful, and build democratic and authentic peace with justice.
|Reviewed July 15, 2011||Publishing Policies|