Latin America enjoyed a golden age in the 2000s, a decade defined by sustained economic growth and decreasing levels of inequality, with around 50 million people escaping poverty. At one point, experts believed Latin America would become a largely middle-class region. Now, it has once again become home to economic turmoil, social unrest, and growing disparity.
Protests have erupted in Ecuador and Chile. Argentina faces another economic collapse of its own. Bolivia is on the cusp of civil war—with tensions remaining high after former President Evo Morales left the country following a military coup. And Venezuela continues its descent into full-scale socioeconomic chaos.
The International Monetary Fund has lowered its growth projections for the region to just 0.2 percent this year and 1.8 percent in 2020. In a recent report, the Economic Commission for Latin America (CEPAL) said that the slowdown is likely to continue.
So, what went wrong?