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World Populism pushes torture in Latin America

05:40  30 june  2020
05:40  30 june  2020 Source:   dw.com

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Populism is on the rise in Latin America for the simple reason is that voters have no other Populism is not an intrinsic part of Latin America . It is a learned one, and it will continue to be a Ustra oversaw the operations of the same torture unit that tortured Rousseff after her capture in the

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Mistreatment by the authorities seems to belong to the times of dictatorships. But the legacy of the Juntas is still present in Latin America. Populism lowers the inhibition threshold for such acts in many places.

Provided by Deutsche Welle © picture-alliance / dpa / M. Shephard Provided by Deutsche Welle

The young man had been subjected to severe torture that amounted to torture. Sexualized torments weigh the most: He was forced to strip completely naked. He was then handcuffed and beaten and sexually abused by police officers with a truncheon. The lawyer Pablo Riviera describes a case from Chile that does not originate from the early Pinochet dictatorship in the mid-1970s, but from 2019.

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Populism in Latin America . Chapter · January 2019 with 14 Reads. In Latin America every three years for the last 12 years a group of professionals have been meeting to The effects of globalization on the Latin American economies have pushed local population to emigration to other world regions.

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It is one of 951 advertisements that the National Institute for Human Rights in the environment of the protests registered in October 2019. "The excessive use of violence, such as the suppression of protests, goes so far as to be comparable to what we call brutal, inhuman or degrading punishment, or even torture," said Argentinian lawyer Juan Méndez from Washington College of Law of the American University, who was the UN's special rapporteur on torture from 2010 to 2016.

A spiral of violence

Archaic practices like this persist in many Latin American countries. According to Amnesty International, there are no reliable figures to compare the conditions in the individual countries objectively. And subjectively, the picture is distorted, says human rights lawyer Méndez: "The cases in which politically persecuted people are tortured as in Venezuela and Nicaragua are significantly more prominent than others." The main reason for this is that the middle class identify strongly with them.

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1 Populism in Latin America INTRODUCTION Looking back upon Latin American politics in the past century, we can see certain patterns in leadership styles. In some countries, military dictators predominated. In others, old-fashioned parliamentarians rose to commanding positions.

Almost every Latin American country has expanded the number of watchdogs, or as they are often called, observatories. Nonetheless, there is reason for optimism. Authoritarian populism is a recurrent threat in Latin America , and now in advanced democracies too.

Der Menschenrechtsanwalt Juan Méndez war Sonderberichterstatter für Folter der UNO © picture-alliance / dpa Human rights lawyer Juan Méndez was the special rapporteur for torture at the UN

. In democracies, Méndez says that political torture can be assumed to be a thing of the past, but not the torture of criminals. And it is usually heavier if the victims are indigenous people, black people or people from socially and economically weaker classes. Méndez says torture of suspected criminals is particularly widespread in Mexico, especially in connection with organized crime.

The situation in Mexico, explains Stefan Rinke, Latin American historian at the Free University of Berlin, is on the one hand a result of the economic interests from the lucrative drug business: "Organized crime in turn practices torture with great brutality." This would result in mutual needs for revenge, which drove a veritable spiral of violence.

A legacy older than the dictatorships

Rinke sees in the history of the region that the problem is so prominent in Latin American music: "Latin America did not need dictatorships to discover the torture." But the military regimes had opened up a new dimension with their state terrorism. And this continues - albeit with reduced harshness - in many places to this day because the police and military units were not or only poorly reformed after the democratization. Also because violations of prohibitions on torture are rarely punished.

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Even if the torture is no longer as intense as it used to be, the damage will not be less, says Rinke, especially since the violations are then more difficult to prove.

Populism lowers the inhibition threshold.

Both police experts currently do not expect fundamental police reforms or a clear rethink. This is opposed by the attitude of many politicians who were elected because they promise a "hard hand" policy. As an extreme example, historian Rinke mentions Brazil, where politicians would openly defend the torture. There are even setbacks to be expected there as in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Mexico. Méndez also said that rejecting torture was more natural: "Although politicians should know that it is not helpful to fight the crime." Nevertheless, the human rights activist remains cautiously optimistic: "I think a continent without torture is possible - maybe not in my life span, but certainly in that of my children and grandchildren."

author: Emilia Rojas

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