In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke a lot about hope, and his book The Audacity of Hope became a best-seller. His campaign later was all about hopes and dreams. But times have changed. Today we have the Tea Party from the Right, active and influencing the mainstream GOP. The Occupy Wall Street movement from the Left is still very much in the news offering a different assessment of what ails America. This is a time where the outer edges of the political spectrum are dominating the news and affecting the mood of the country.
The 2008 recession continues to leave its mark on families and the social fabric of the nation. This goes a long way in explaining the emergence of populist movements: high unemployment, huge deficits, increasing debt, and income disparity make the general population more concerned about the direction of the country than at any time in recent memory. Is the country on an inevitable decline? Are hopes and dreams just part of the political rhetoric spewed by politicians on the hustings? Has America seen its best days?
From the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
Political Fallout in Peru after Bloody Clash
Indigenous protesters and police forces clashed in Peru’s northern Amazon region over the weekend in a violent clash that claimed dozens of lives on both sides. The unrest followed months of demonstrations against a set of decrees that protesters said violated their ancestral claims on land and resources in the region. The Minister for Women and Social Development Carmen Vildoso resigned as a result of the controversy over the government’s handling of the clashes. Indigenous leader and head of the Inter-ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle Alberto Pizango was granted political asylum by the Nicaraguan government on June 8, after the government accused him of inciting violence against the police on June 5.
An estimated 100,000 Puerto Rican workers and students marched on the capitol last Friday to protest a government plan to lay off 30,000 public sector employees. The plan, which also calls for a temporary hike in income taxes and increased sales taxes on wine, is intended to close an annual budget deficit of $3.2 billion.