New York Times: St Kitts and Nevis among Latin American and Caribbean nations facing decline in democracy using pandemic

New York, USA, July 30, 2020 – Less than two months after the June 5, 2020 general elections in st Kitts and Nevis, the prestigious and influential New York Times has named the twin-island federation among nations in Latin America where democracy is in decline under the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the headline: Latin America is Facing a “Decline of Democracy’ Under the Pandemic, the author noted that leaders starting from the center-right to the far left have used the disaster as justification to increase their time in workplace, weaken oversight of authorities actions and silence critics — actions that beneath completely different circumstances can be described as authoritarian and antidemocratic however that now are being billed as lifesaving measures to curb the unfold of the illness.

“And in the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, the authorities (Timothy Harris-led Team Unity administration) imposed a strict lockdown on its 50,000 individuals throughout the marketing campaign for basic elections in June, hampering opposition efforts to fulfill voters whereas additionally preserving worldwide election observers from touring to the nation,” the author, Anatoly Kurmanaev said.

He added: “It was the first time that the Organization of American States, a regional group that promotes democracy, had its invitation to watch elections withdrawn by a host nation in current historical past.”

It was in reference to the withdrawal by Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris of the invitation to the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) to monitor the poll. The invitation to the London-based Commonwealth was also withdrawn.

The opposition St Kitts-Nevis Party alleging “massive fraud and corruption” is challenging the results in six of the eight constituencies in the High Court.

The New York Times report added that “the loss of public belief in Latin America just isn’t new, however the erosion of democratic norms in the pandemic arrived at a time when the area’s financial development and social progress had been already unravelling, leaving many unsure about the means of democratic leaders to unravel entrenched issues akin to inequality, crime and corruption.

As the coronavirus pandemic tears via Latin America and the Caribbean, killing greater than 180,000 and destroying the livelihoods of tens of tens of millions in the area, it’s also undermining democratic norms that had been already beneath pressure.”

“The gradual undermining of democratic guidelines throughout an financial disaster and public well being disaster may go away Latin America primed for slower development and a rise in corruption and human rights abuses, specialists warned. This is especially true in locations the place political rights and accountability had been already in steep decline,” said the New York Times.
“It’s not a matter of left or right, it’s a general decline of democracy across the region,” mentioned Alessandra Pinna, a Latin America researcher at Freedom House, an unbiased Washington-based analysis group that measures international political liberties.

The NYT said there at the moment are 5 Latin American and Caribbean nations — Venezuela, Nicaragua, Guyana, Bolivia and Haiti — the place governments weren’t chosen in free and honest elections or have overstayed their time in workplace. It’s the highest quantity since the late 1980s, when the Cold War receded and a number of other international locations in the grips of civil conflict or navy dictatorships transitioned to peace and democracy.

“Most of these leaders had been already bending the guidelines of democracy to remain in energy earlier than the pandemic, however seized on emergency circumstances created by the unfold of the virus to strengthen their place,” the New York Times said.

It concluded: “The political tensions gripping the region in the pandemic could be just the beginning of a longer wave of unrest and authoritarianism, said Thomas Carothers, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It will drag the region down into poorer economic performance,” he said. “It also means poorer treatment of human beings, their dignity and rights.”

Photo of St Kitts and Nevis included in the feature with the following notation: In the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, the government prevented some electoral observers from travelling to the country during a recent electoral campaign because of precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Credit…Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The New York Times