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Arestas do Brasil / Edges of Brazil

Exasperation of radicalisms

Bruno Peron, 23 March 2017

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Latin America occupies an intriguing midfield in the global disputes for power. Yet, some of its countries plead for a vacancy to join the club of the most powerful nations, as Brazil does tirelessly through its “peace” missions (for example, that which Brazil conducts in Haiti); Latin America even offers candidates to run for high positions in international organisations (Roberto Azevedo as director-general of the World Trade Organisation, WTO). It is more viable to say that Latin America favours a balance of power instead of causing any risk whatsoever to the greatest powers.

The major conflict persists in the northern hemisphere, where refugees knock at the door of development to demand the life improvement that they had never had in their countries of origin. It is in this context that the German stateswoman Angela Merkel has received severe criticism made by the North American president Donald Trump due to her reception of Syrian and other immigrants who had their countries ruined by wars.

While refugees walk hundreds of kilometres between continents under extreme cold and against barriers of migration authorities, other people leave Africa overcrowded in small boats and struggling to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, the history of radicalisms does not end this way... Whether in clubs of Paris and Istanbul, or in a Christmas fair in Berlin, terrorism makes tens of victims.

It is true that, in various European capitals, there are entire neighbourhoods formed by Chinese, Turkish, Caribbean, Muslim, Indian and Latin American immigrants. These ethnic groups, wherever they reside, keep their eating habits, dress their typical clothes and follow the religions that marked their place of origin. These migration movements have redrawn European identities, as when it comes to the Islamisation of Europe.

The conflicts, however, do not derive simply from this ethnic redesign, taking into account that the respect of diversities is a topic that had a repercussion in Europe itself. It may be enough to consider the basic principles of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which form the basis of so many cultural policies. The problem emerges because of the conservatism and of the intolerance that, in practice, guide Europe. The feeling of despair is even larger now that the war does not only happen somewhere else, distant from the European civilisations. Radicalisms and terrorisms demand from the European civilisations that which for centuries have been taken away from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In the Latin American countries, there is a feeling of malaise in the search for a guilty one, who is never found. In doubt and ignorance, public personalities are denigrated while hopes are corrupted. In this way, in Brazil, the former president Dilma Rousseff has been ousted on dubious grounds, since she had been elected democratically; in Argentina, the president Mauricio Macri had his car stoned; in Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro does everything that is possible to stay in power; and, in Mexico, Enrique Peña rejects Trump’s suggestion that Mexicans should pay for the wall on the border.

Radicalisms, therefore, do not only have a religious aspect, whose reductionism comes frequently from the mouth of leaders such as Trump himself, who has been newly elected as president of the United States. He had the courage to say that he would impede the entry of Muslims from seven suspicious countries in North America. Those who embarrass the cultural, economic and social development of other people can also be considered radical. Latin America has innumerable examples of this.

The Latin American governments suck up to the bone the workers of these grounds to sustain the caste of expensive or unnecessary civil servants, corruptions and other deviations. These lands of the every man for himself, where its laws are elegant but unknown to the majority of people, are very distant from the notion of public space and of the civic and political cultures that are in force in the civilisations of Western Europe. Thus, Latin American societies end up conforming to riots in prisons (such as those that took place recently in the states of Amazonas and Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil), and to the fact that entire populations are weakened by the lack of education, income and security. This world needs a profound ethical review.