SANTIAGO – Among Latin American countries, the citizens of Uruguay and Ecuador are most satisfied with the functioning of their democracies, according to the 2015 Latinobarometro survey, released Friday in Santiago.
Begun in 1995, the annual survey seeks to measure support for democracy in 18 Latin American countries.
Uruguay, where 70 percent are satisfied with the political system, and Ecuador, with a positive reading of 60 percent, are the standouts in the latest edition of the poll.
Not far behind are Argentina and the Dominican Republic, both with 54 percent favorable ratings, while support for democracy stands at 48 percent in Bolivia and Nicaragua, well above the regional median of 37 percent.
Peru and Paraguay, both at 24 percent; Brazil, 21 percent; and Mexico, 19 percent, are the countries with the highest proportion of citizens unhappy with their political systems.
Twenty years of survey results show a strong correlation between satisfaction with democracy and the economic situation in the region.
Between 1999 and 2001, when the Asian financial crisis spilled over onto Latin America, only 25 percent of the region’s population said they were “satisfied” with their democracies, while the level of satisfaction rose to 44 percent during the relative prosperity of 2002-2007.
“These figures show that democracies are not solidly established in Latin America, as they are linked to swings in the economy,” Latinobarometro director Marta Lagos said.