Aug 02, 2022

Those lucky enough and privileged to live in countries that enjoy stable democracies often believe that this is a given fact and will never change. 

However, in the 16 years that I have been working with Peter Knip at the head of VNG International, I have seen how the democratic processes and the great social transformations and decentralisation that countries like Nicaragua, Myanmar, Ethiopia and my country, Bolivia, have experienced, they have been reversed and perverted. Worse still, Nicaragua has once again had a corrupt dictatorship that has hijacked the voice of Nicaraguans, imprisons, tortures and organises fraudulent elections. The revolution only brought pain, death and another tyranny. In Myanmar, the military boot has painfully crushed the nascent democracy and freedom, leaving a country bleeding with withered hope. Ethiopia, which enjoyed a flexible federal constitution, ended up involved in a bloody civil war for not accepting the autonomy of one of the parts of the federation. Finally, Bolivia, which carried out a revolution in democracy through the decentralisation process called Popular Participation, today finds itself destroying decentralisation and concentrating power and resources in an authoritarian regime. For all this, organisations committed to democracy and peace in the world must stop being naive and act unapologetically in defence of democratic values, ultimately the bulwark that ensures peace in the long term.

Column written by, Alfonso García

As part of the publication ’Columns on peace and local democracy in international perspective’, composed in honor of the farewell of Peter Knip as director of VNG International 

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