Freedom in the world regressed again: Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are the worst cases in America

Freedom in the world receded for the seventeenth consecutive year (Freedom House)

the NGO Freedom House reported that freedom in the world receded for the seventeenth consecutive year. In his last report, he denounced that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine led to atrocities and devastating results in terms of human rights. He also pointed to the “new coups and attempts to undermine the representative governments of Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Peru and Brazil”.

Peru and Burkina Faso top the list of global deterioration of freedom in 2022amid a net decline in freedom around the world despite improvements in several countries, the organization said.

In its 50th annual report, the US global democracy research group downgraded both Peru and Burkina Faso in his list of levels of freedom, and further demoted the positions of Russia, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Hungaryamong others.

Peru went from “free” to “partly free”, according to the Freedom House report. “For years, a scene of political and institutional instability, the South American country plunged into chaos after the impeachment and arrest of President Pedro Castillo on December 7 after attempting to dissolve Congress and rule by decree. Today he faces violent protests calling for the resignation of Dina Boluartewho -as vice president- succeeded him in the government, as well as anticipating the 2026 elections,” he said.

Freedom House Report
In green the countries where there is freedom, in yellow where it is partial and in purple where there is no freedom (Freedom House)

While, Burkina Fasowhich endured two coups in 2022, went to the category of “not free”.

For his part, Colombia and Lesotho were upgraded to the “free” categorywhen before they were cataloged only partially.

Colombia saw the election of its first left-wing president, Gustavo Petrowho promised to increase democratic inclusion, while lesotho chose the diamond magnate sam matekane on a platform of transparency and economic reforms in the landlocked African nation,” he explained.

Despite the net diminution of freedom in the world, Freedom House marked improvements in Slovenia, Kosovo, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines and Zambia.

However, the 2022 report “documents the continuation of worrying trendsbut it also provides some reason to hope that the freedom recession of the last 17 years can turn around,” said Freedom House president, michael abramowitzit’s a statement.

Freedom House Report
The countries that have regressed the most in recent years (Freedom House)

freedom in the region

Latin America is a key front line, which “for years” was “a stable region, with relatively high levels of freedom, being Cuba an isolated caseuntil the authoritarian consolidation took hold in Venezuela and later in Nicaragua“, said Amy Slipowitzco-author of the report.

He added that “one of the trends we found in the broader global investigation was that both coups and attempted coups can lead to long-term impairment in the future”, citing as an example the aftermath of the military rise in thailand in 2014 and the attempt to overthrow the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoganin 2016.

Indiawhich boasts of being the largest democracy in the world, was listed as “partially free” for the third year in a row after being demoted for its restrictions on civil rights and freedom of expression under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Bolsonaro coup attempt in Brazil was one of the brands that Freedom House analyzed (REUTERS / Adriano Machado)
The Bolsonaro coup attempt in Brazil was one of the brands that Freedom House analyzed (REUTERS / Adriano Machado) (ADRIANO MACHADO /)

50 years measuring freedom

The 2022 report marks 50 years since the organization, dedicated to promoting democracy, began producing this annual document. As a novelty, the text includes a section that identifies the trends that they have observed in this time.

For slipowitzone of the keys of these 50 years is that the declines have not always been registered in the same group of countries, but rather there are more and more consolidated democracies that present weaknesses.

The researcher considers that this last point is key, since some of them, such as USAThey have great international influence. “Seeing more internal decline there gives authoritarian regimes more room to say, ‘You’re just as bad. Why should I stop doing what I’m doing?’” he said.

The US note, which has experienced a 10 point decline in the last decade, stayed the same in 2022. He won one point for the peaceful conduct of the November midterm elections but lost one for abortion restrictions.

Another example of a weakening democracy, according to the researcher, is Brazilwhere last January there was a attack on the headquarters of powers in Brasilia by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro.

Although the events of January were not included in the report because they happened in 2023, Slipowitz believes that worrying trends were already visible even earliersuch as the intimidation and threats suffered by many voters during the 2022 elections or Bolsonaro’s own statements that he would not accept the results if he did not win.

Freedom House Report
The Countries That Were Never Free (Freedom House)

positive feedback

In this section of 50 years, there was a positive evaluation of the changes in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile. “After the disastrous invasion of the Malvinas Islands in 1982, the military leaders who had presided over Argentina withdrew, which allowed an election that returned the country to civilian rule”, they said regarding the Argentine case.

And they continued:Democracy that also returned to Brazil after the military (…) lost control in 1985. A military regime that made Uruguay called ‘Latin America’s torture chamber’ faltered after a failed attempt to reform the constitution in 1980, ending with elections four years later.

“Military regimes like the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chili they also came to an end thanks to the power of the ballot box when referendum voters rejected a proposal to give the general eight more years in office.

On the other hand, the report gave an account of the countries that were never free, not even moderately. These are China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam.

the full report

(With information from AFP and EFE)

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