In Latin America, the Latin Barometer poll shows that there is a sharp decline in public support for democracy. It is a human relation crisis that is at the center of society between individuals, citizens, politicians and institutions. The only viable path, the only legitimate answer to successful citizenship, is democracy built through active participation. On one side, from a government perspective, there should be more openness, transparency, and accountability. One the other hand, citizens must be more active, informed, and conscious when participating. Without wars, Latin America blames violence, corruption and inequality as the most powerful factors that prevent democracy. So much so that according to a World Economic Forum report, among Millennials, corruption is their biggest concern.
Concrete Answers (New Technologies, Information and Civic Social Entrepreneurship)
Social networks are enabling greater citizen participation, making each person a potential change agent. In this context, governments must do more to communicate better with the society they are serving.
What we are proposing as Humanitas360 Institute in Latin America and PDR Institute in Brazil is to encourage dialogue and activities that put human beings at the center of all of the work we do. Whether it is civic social entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs that produce results with real social impact with a civic component that can go back into their own community or to raise better citizens.
An example of a human-centered public policy is drug policy. Let’s stop focusing on the substance and look more at the person and their health. Let’s open our eyes to the use of medical cannabis. Let’s look at the legal aspect of the penitentiary systems and focus on rehabilitation instead of solely viewing it as a public security problem. An example is the work of civil society in a San Pablo prison where guards created a program for detainees, which uses art and music as tools for recovery. Our challenge as a civil society is to change the way Latin American societies participate in solving challenges throughout the continent.
When the human crisis reaches a state of denial and is unable to respond to catastrophic events such as in Haiti or political developments such as in Venezuela, it generates a humanitarian crisis.
Civil society plays a key role in responding to humanitarian needs and human rights (Venezuela) and Haiti. Citizens who are more willing to participate, more transparency and more efficiency improve public services, increasing their resilience and thus preventing humanitarian crisis that are politically rooted and can react better to natural disasters.