NGOs in Latin America

Dictators don’t like NGOs

As has been seen, there are reasons to believe that a strong and vibrant civil society is positive for democracies in Latin America. That point, however, does not stand uncontested. NGOs, as has also been seen, like other parts of society, are prone to inefficiency, institutional weakness, over-politicisation, divisiveness, and even corruption and unfairness. While on balance positive, the presence of thousands of NGOs in most Latin American countries does not automatically preserve democracy or guarantee development and social inclusion. However, it is also interesting to turn that question around. There is strong evidence that Latin American dictators and authoritarian leaders invariably, or almost invariably, come into conflict with NGOs and end up persecuting them as perceived threats to their desired monopoly of political power. There is a large playbook on how dictators do this.

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