Going Global: The Reason Behind Urban Unrest

Henry F. Carey

Numerous anti-government protests have paralyzed cities across the globe for months, from La Paz, Bolivia, to Santiago, Chile, and Monrovia, Liberia, to Beirut.

Each protest in this worldwide wave of unrest has its own local dynamic and cause. But they also share certain characteristics: Fed up with rising inequality, corruption and slow economic growth, angry citizens worldwide are demanding an end to corruption and the restoration of a democratic rule of law.

It is no accident, as Foreign Affairs recently observed, that Latin America – which has seen the most countries explode into the longest-lasting violent protests – has the slowest regional growth in the world, with only 0.2% expected in 2019. Latin America is also the world’s region with the most inequality.

Bolivia’s once-powerful president, Evo Morales – whose support was strongest in rural areas – was forced out on Nov. 11 by a military response to mass urban unrest after alleged electoral fraud.

In October, Lebanon’s prime minister also resigned after mass protests.

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