Felipe González, former Spanish president, a deep connoisseur of Latin America, was asked to describe the situation in the region, his laconic answer was: uncertainty.
The other characteristic note that stood out was the frustration with the young people’s disenchantment with the no-future, with the denial of opportunities. He was meeting with rectors of Colombian universities at the request of Universia del Banco Santander, in a gathering on the role of universities in the post-pandemic.
Uncertainty undermines. It is about the lack of certainty, that is, the impossibility of having a sure and clear knowledge of something. And this is precisely what is happening in a large part of the Latin American countries.
Chile is in a Constituent process that can be a Pandora’s box; Peru, with the new president Castillo, can surprise at any moment; elections in Colombia can go from one extreme to another … In this panorama, González points out the importance of strengthening politics, to avoid populism, from the left and the right, typical of fundamentalist views and intoxicated with ideology.
The role of the University was raised as a key to strengthen the scientific, depth and seriousness in the public debate. This necessarily implies a renewed commitment of the universities to society.
On the other hand, he drew attention to the level of frustration in the young, the generations without a future. And there came the examples of social mobilization in the country in recent months, where there is a very strong outcry from the new generations who are feeling excluded from opportunities.
To respond to all these unsatisfied expectations, a creative, dynamic and strong public policy is the answer. How to achieve it in such a polarized context? Well, González points out that the center as such does not exist.
Quite the contrary of the national pollsters who have dedicated themselves to building in recent years on the results of their surveys, the conditions of possibility of their existence. The former Spanish president says he prefers to talk about centrality, as a stage, a space to achieve consensus. And he says that this centrality must be helped to conquer in the public discussion so that the antagonistic blocs can reach agreements.
In Latin America, universities have an enormous responsibility, as dynamizers of the horizons of meaning, depth and transformation of our countries. The Pandemic put scientific knowledge at the center of the decision-making scene. Indeed, it should enlighten and enlighten the public policy makers.
Uncertainty that with good management will allow Latin America to continue its path of progress and development, or that it can lead to deterioration. Examples such as Venezuela, a short colony of Cuba; or that of Nicaragua with its new dictator Ortega, whom González the second Somoza calls; they show the fragility and vulnerability of our democracies.
Taking the current situation in Latin America as a backdrop, we must continue to insist on the renewal of ideas and, of course, of leadership. This will be consolidated when we decisively include young people and early leaders in crucial decision-making spaces. If experience shows us anything, it is that our young people have achieved changes, being able to mobilize social solutions, the result of their disruptive thinking. An example of this is the feat that we lived through the process of the seventh ballot, which led to the laying the foundations of a new social platform through the Constitution of 91.
Therefore, in the upcoming electoral process, we will have a valuable opportunity to interrupt the expansion of uncertainty and seek national consensus.