The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) presented a report on the rise of political polarization in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), which analyzes a number of elements that prove the radicalization of positions in the region, which in the last 20 years has brought with it social conflict, instead of dialogue .

Democracy without a Republic

Traditional media and social networks allow us to conclude that Latin American and Caribbean societies are more divided than ever, according to this report. This radicalism leads to the distancing between us who make up societies and to the conflicts we witness in expressions of social unrest, in electoral processes, in legislative paralysis and in many other manifestations that make our societies “toxic”, as the popular jargon says.. These expressions of polarization are plaguing the world. and they do not allow reaching agreements or far-reaching visions.

The double standards of Mexico and Brazil in their foreign policy

The growing polarization is not only in LAC, but globally, but the growth spiral in our region far exceeds what is happening in other parts of the world. Twenty years ago, LAC was below the world average and was the second least polarized region in the world. In 2015, polarization in LAC began to grow faster, surpassing the average in 2017. Since then, the region has become one of the most polarized in the world, surpassed only by Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

A la carte dictatorship

Fragmentation occurs when people identify with a like-minded group, in a dynamic that fosters distancing and alienation from other groups that are not part of their mental silo. The way we consume information increasingly emphasizes this fragmentation and makes it impossible to make commitments, agreements and understandings. These conflicts result in violence, loud and rude arguments, fratricidal fights, radicalization of racism and fruitless competition. All against all would be the motto of the moment.

The report also claims that as societies get information through social networks and the web, algorithms are programmed as sounding boards and filter out what users want, producing a selective effect of misinformation. The same happens when networks use political algorithms that promote ideological bubbles, that seek to confirm preconceived political beliefs, that bring violent rejection to those who do not share their ideas.

The wonderful information and communication technology we have in our hands should be a mechanism that increases the channels for dialogue, not the other way around. The use of algorithms that promote polarization could be regulated. The world information order, which guarantees freedom, human rights and democratic values, is necessary for these mechanisms to develop and serve unification, instead of encouraging polarization. (OR)