A different view of Latin America

I have been hearing a lot of discussions and criticism about violence and drug cartels in Latin America. In this side of the globe (Europe) people seemed to be at a certain point concerned about the violence that breaks these societies. What I’ve also noticed is that people don’t seem to understand the context, which I find to be the key note to understand such problems. But mostly because, the insider perspective seems to be missing at their stories and narrations.

You cant measure societies with the same stick. Every society is different. And most of all, Europe has been treated like the center of attention and social growth for a long time, so people in Europe are not really used to looking up to other continents, but looking down into them. First of all, it is important to understand that Latin America is not a country where everybody speaks a “sort of” Spanish and some of them Portuguese. Second of all, the way colonization and migration (physically) happened is still in most Latin American countries delimited by the natural geographical boarders (just with some exceptions). And third, the conception of race, mixture, nationality and belonging in Latin America are based on the Ius Soli principle, which means that one has the right of nationality in the country in which one is born, the right of nationality by soil. Which differs from Europe where the principle by which one obtains nationality is the Ius sangini, the right of nationality by blood or heritage. With this said, I mean to pursue people to discover a little bit more of the American history. And with that, I mean the continent, not exclusively the US. I mean America, the continent in its diversity of history, experience, learning processes and of course its connection to European, African, and even Asian and Australian history. I would like to encourage people to get out of their own contexts and dig in other life experiences. Why? because it is impossible to do something to construct new societies based on respect if we ourselves keep looking down on people, it is impossible to teach someone equality if we don’t treat people as equals. We have whole film industries (specifically in the action genre) that keep telling us stories about fist class citizens and second class citizens or, how the CIA, FBI and etc. would call it, “the casualties”. Which make many people automatically be all right with killing somewhere else “to defend our country, our people”. And that is how most foreign policies work, they value life just for their citizens (in any country) and they do it even within their own societies.

So the drug and violence problems in America, is not just America’s problems. We have producer, user, transit and profit countries. That means we have people all kinds of people involved, from all kinds of countries in the world. Some countries benefit from producing the drugs, others from selling them, others from transporting them and letting them pass through, others consume them, others by selling weapons to drug dealers and at the same time governments (to fight them), etc. With that said everybody is participating of it, directly involved, or also by ignoring this, or just not giving importance to it.

But from this experiences civil groups are emerging, some people are seeing the situation as complex as it is and they are proposing reforms to build a new society which will not be built on corruption and violence. Personally I’m very inspired by the student-social movement in Chile and their leader Camila Vallejo, that is something the whole America should be taking part in. Civil Society Organizations in Mexico which promote civil courage and public policy advocacy like Alternativas y Capacidades, Bolivian citizens, which I personally fell honored to know, which are fighting for the rights of the Quechua and Aimara populations in the country, etc. That doesn’t deny the violence and corruption that occurs everyday, but it might change some perspectives that are most of the time unilateral, short sighted, and most of all out of context. Opening our minds to see things in a wider perspective gives us a real chance to do something from wherever may be.


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