In the name of the people

By Ingo Ploger, Brazilian entrepreneur and President of CEALm Conselho Empresarial da América Latina – Brazil


Popular movements and demonstrations have intensified throughout Latin America. In Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, in all Latin America people are using their political right and seek to ensure their participation in the political process, since the politicians are speaking on their behalf.

Crowds in civic engagement use their powerful democratic weapons, smartphones, handheld posters, flags with ready-made slogans, and shout phrases with a new and straightforward mode of communication through street demonstrations, confronting those who supposedly speak in their name. It is clear that they want to take back their voice.

Politicians claim the demonstrations for themselves, by settling their street positions, get a hold of a list of popular requests, go into collision with established governments in an attempt to change them, by the so called  “in the name of the people” idea. 

Increasingly, large movements are most often hatched from a society by the free will of initiatives that do not originate with governments, political parties, trade unions or institutional representations. They are born at the core of a common discontent that happens in the very strong aggregation through social media. Their simple claims that directly affect the citizens are born of a weak economy, public deficits, tariff increases, impunity and corruption.

For a long time, politicians were the protagonists of the proposals, the opposing positions, elected by the people do not understand that there may be a different representation other than theirs or the opposition. And if there is a new political dynamic developing, it quickly collects itself and takes its position.

The streets bring simple changes to the status quo, with short, precise and objective arguments, with hand placards that are just 30 characters but long enough to show what they want, while platforms like Twitter have 280 characters.

We had in Bolivia ,weeks ago, the outbreak of what the people’s power has achieved.

Not even Evo Morales expected the people’s rage to put him in a position with only one alternative: to leave power and the country in less than 48 hours. The people on the streets with the Bolivian flags said enough! The time had come to change. Even with a positive economic scenario and high popularity it was time for democracy to speak louder and they called a referendum to end the prolongation of a government that manipulated power and interfered with the elections. The OAS (Organization of American States), which for some time had no credibility, was called, the report prepared by auditors of democratic scrutiny left no doubt that the procedures made it impossible to receive a guarantee of fairness. At the same time, the people were simply looking for the option of…  not him again…

Interestingly, Evo’s exile was accompanied by politicians, who distorted reality because it was not the people who ceased to support them, but a political ruse orchestrated by elites that knocked them out of power. This version went around the world. Of course, followers of Evo also protested and wanted at all costs to keep Evo in power. The security forces of Cochabamba and Santa Cruz joined the popular struggle and did not prevent the people from entering the cities, there was no more support.

… In the name of the people… in Brazil protests escalated against the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the arrest law on the second instance. Lula, released from prison, started to do what he knows best… a campaign, for his own political benefit, convincing the people that he is innocent. The people have now witnessed a weak, reeling opposition. The people have long decided that this kind of politician would no longer be their voice, and Lula in every corner of the country receives incisive criticism… on behalf of the people…

… In the name of the people… civil societies rediscover a power to influence and make changes, regardless of who is in power or in Congress. But there is a risk in this very important voice …

The risk of not being right, deep, not being able to discern, wanting the immediate without sticking to the consequences.

In this voice comes the risk of a tool like Twitter, the site of arguments, but where the superficiality of the solutions can lead to just the opposite, to the populism of offering the immediate right-looking and wrongly done becomes a nightmare.

This is the case of Argentina… in the name of the people… who decided to change, replace Macri, who on his journey gave little to the people, sought a candidate who by his biography demonstrates competence. Fernández, who is supported by an old tormentor known in the pink house, and that all in all will keep away from political decisions. The people have created an illusion, and Argentina calls for urgency and strength in the difficult solutions it needs.

If on the one hand… in the name of the people… we see course corrections, on the other hand we need to strengthen the institutions that were created for this purpose. The world is increasingly divided to extremes, even within the democratic framework, the people feel better understood by some, who articulate themselves… in the name of the people…

The voice that needs to be echoed is from leaders who have an increasingly difficult role to play, to interpret the correct… voice of the people… and to send the right solutions from the first call.


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