South America 2021: South America Today
In 2016 Colombia finally negotiated an end to its five-decades-long civil war. Meanwhile, with falling oil prices undermining Venezuela's economy and political stability, and protests challenging leftist governments in many nations, Latin America's Pink Tide crumbled. As Venezuela descended into chaos, its GDP per capita fell below Colombia's for the first time in modern history.
5 Jun 2012–19 Feb 2014 ALBA nations leave TIAR▲
Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela—the four ALBA members still within the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR, or Rio Pact)—announced their withdrawal from TIAR. Nicaragua left the treaty on 20 September 2012, Bolivia on 17 October, Venezuela on 14 May 2013, and Ecuador on 19 February 2014. United States President Barack Obama’s administration referred to the decision to leave as “unfortunate”, but respected it.
26 Aug 2012–30 Nov 2016 Colombian peace process▲
Negotiations in Havana, Cuba, between the Colombian government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) brought about a deal to end the more than 50-year-long Colombian conflict. A ceasefire was agreed on 23 June 2016 and, despite a referendum to ratify a peace deal being rejected in October, the Colombian government and FARC were able to come to an agreement on 24 November. This new deal was ratified by Congress on 29–30 November, marking an end to the conflict.
12 Feb 2014–pres. Crisis of Bolivarian Venezuela▲
By the early 2010s the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s dependency on oil and its policies of overspending and price controls were proving unsustainable. Following the death of President Hugo Chávez from cancer in 2013, his successor, Nicolás Maduro, continued his policies only to face recession, rampant inflation, rising unemployment, and widespread protests. In 2016 alone the consumer price index rose 800% while the economy contracted by 18.6%, leading to hunger in much of the population and a general social collapse.
24 Dec 2014–pres. Latin American Spring▲
In the wake of the 2014 crisis in Venezuela, demonstrations against government corruption and oppression broke out in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and other Latin American countries. Corruption scandals led to political instability in Brazil in 2016, while mass anti-government protests shook almost every other country in Latin America in 2019. The collapse of pro-Venezuelan governments in Ecuador and Bolivia led to those countries withdrawing from ALBA in 2018 and 2019.
26 Feb 2020–pres. COVID-19 in South America▲
The first case of COVID-19 was reported in Brazil in late February 2020 and by April the disease had spread across the continent, causing significant havoc. As of mid-January 2021 there were over 209,000 reported COVID deaths in Brazil (second only to the United States), 48,000 in Colombia, 45,000 in Argentina, 38,000 in Peru, 17,000 in Chile, 14,000 in Ecuador, 9,000 in Bolivia, 2,000 in Paraguay, 1,000 in Venezuela, and 298 in Uruguay. However, citing a lack of testing, some experts believe that the number of actual deaths may be many times higher than what is being reported in most of these countries.