Latin America is a continent of vast contradictions and contrasts. Enormous wealth rubs shoulders with extreme poverty. There is high and continuous economic growth but at the same time left-wing populists are gaining support, which is having an effect on the situation of democracy and the rule of law. Thirty years ago began a process of democratisation whose success is shown by the fact that, with the exception of Cuba, all countries of the region now have democratic governments.
But democratic development has come to a standstill and liberal reforms are more needed than ever to ensure that people in the continent can take advantage of its huge potential. Currently there is little trust in parliaments and administrations. Due to their authoritarian structures and lack of clear policies, political parties do not contribute enough to stabilising and developing democracy. The judiciary often cannot cope with the situation. Corruption and clientelism are part and parcel of everyday life.
Inflexible economic structures become a trap for democracy and the rule of law. Despite high economic growth, Latin America still has the largest income differentials in the world. The widespread prejudice that Latin America has suffered from too much “neoliberalism” is wrong. In fact, almost nowhere can we find open markets and equal opportunities for competition. As a result the poor have little chance of working their own way up. This reality is a major challenge for the project work of our Foundation.
In Latin America we have project offices in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and in the Central American countries.