Introduction to the Scenarios

Scenarios are stories that describe what could happen in the future, not what will happen (predictions) and not what should happen (proposals or recommendations).

Summary of scenarios for the future of democracy in Latin America 2015-2030

This is a scenario of redistribution of power, strengthening of democracy and institutional innovation.

This scenario depicts the strengthening of democracy in the region through institutional innovation. Latin America experiences widespread demand for a reassessment of its democratic institutions. This process allows the region to make progress on its most pressing structural problems. In a growing number of countries, the conditions arise for those democratic institutions to promote wide-ranging transformations in critical areas where special interests had previously dominated. Some countries show that it is possible to gradually overcome the structural inertia that had prevented the reduction of inequality and violence. In this way, they ensure that fundamental state institutions truly represent the interests of a diverse society.

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This is a scenario of a democracy in appearance, where power is concentrated and disputed among different political and economic forces, generating social frustration.

This scenario depicts a democracy of “appearances,” of tension and power disputes between diverse political and economic forces, and of frustration on the part of citizens. Political and economic power is concentrated. The region is marked by a caudillo political culture, with patronage and authoritarian tendencies. Some countries go through political crises and, in certain cases, authoritarian setbacks, with serious consequences for institutional structures and the exercise of citizen rights. Democracy in the region has endured, but few are satisfied with the ways in which it has done so.

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This is a scenario of popular mobilization, pressure and creativity challenging traditional power structures.

This scenario depicts protest, pressure, and popular creativity in the face of traditional power. The forces of social mobilization consolidate their capacity to push democracy forward and gradually begin to promote transformations. The proof that individual and collective actions, more than state actions, can generate large-scale social changes that solve public problems renews the democratic model. The organization of horizontal cooperation schemes that include multiple actors leads to broader and more transparent civic empowerment. The new forms of participation that go beyond the influence of traditional institutions create real benefits. At the same time, there is an awareness of the risk that those innovations could be appropriated by illegal and undemocratic forces and that the same technologies used to promote change could end up limiting its impact.

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This is a scenario of a hijacked democracy, dominated by organized crime, and generating fear and a sense of defeat among citizens.

This scenario depicts violence, fear, feelings of defeat, and the hijacking of democracy. In much of Latin America, the predatory influence of illicit activities prevails over or coexists with government action. Corruption serves as a way of life for politicians, businesspeople, and criminals alike, all of who live and prosper in the shadow of the state. Over the course of 15 years, violence has served to consolidate certain territories out of the control of nation states. Some failed states are merely contained by the regional and international communities. The shared destiny of the democracies in the region is unstable.

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Read more about each Scenario

A journey through future possibilities, a pathway for the next 15 years with an end station of Latin America in 2030.

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