Considering the themes in my book ANDEAN ADVENTURES, available in both English and Spanish, it was notably awful to watch what Peru has been going through this week. An allegedly corrupt Peruvian Congress has used the tar of so-called past corruption against an independent President Martin Vizcarra who had been fighting against corruption on the national level since taking over. They impeached and removed him abruptly, ostensibly on a constitutional basis. Yet many Peruvians were out on the streets in Lima and across the country protesting his intemperate and poorly justified removal, just nine months before the end of his term. Keep your eyes on Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador when you have a chance.
I’m extremely frustrated by the continuing decay of democratic government and norms across much of the world. This actually predates Mr. Trump but he threw gasoline on this fire as well. The decline of democratic governance has been underway worldwide since 2005; the fact that the global review by Freedom House continues to stain the U.S. and U.K. among countries becoming less free is appalling. This is now the first year since the end of the Cold War that the percentage of people living under free societies has dropped below that of less free ones. As some have commented, “corruption has been weaponized to pursue authoritarianism.” It might be easy to perhaps fall back on pessimism and self-question ‘Who are we to go to other countries to talk about democracy?’ But I applaud President-elect Biden’s plans to convoke a global gathering or summit to discuss reinvigorating democracy. Biden knows that democracy is more than just exercising elections, even though that can sometimes seem awfully hard too these days. But we need to confront corruption, and the corruptive force of money in politics and how it furthers the agenda of oligarchs and undermines democratic values.
As a former colleague noted a couple days ago, there has been a decline in democracy around the world, and yet in recent years there has also been an increase in the demand for democracy and freedom. We must pull our weight again in the direction of freedom very soon. I’ve been trying to follow the names and potential proposals developed for the Biden-Harris Transition Team, and weigh in with suggestions when possible.