The pandemic has highlighted longstanding shortcomings and challenges facing Latin America.  We must make the most of this moment to bring about the historic transformations necessary to build a democratic governance that will bring peace, prosperity and social justice.

The region requires structural change and this is, of course, nothing new. But now may be the most propitious moment in decades due to the electoral super-cycle that Latin America is experiencing from late 2020 until 2024, a period in which all presidential positions in the region are up for renewal, together with numerous legislative and subnational authorities. It is a unique opportunity that the region cannot afford to miss.

This report was prepared by Jorge Máttar at the request of International IDEA under the direction of Daniel Zovatto. It is based on the minutes of seminars from The State of Democracy in Latin America project, implemented in 2020 by the Fundação Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the Fundación Democracia y Desarrollo, and International IDEA, and on the sessions of the International Forum of Santo Domingo on the Socioeconomic and Political Panorama for Latin America, held jointly with Funglode in January 2021. It also includes reflections, analysis and proposals produced together with Sergio Bitar (Bitar and Zovatto 2021), as well as those of Fernando Reyes Matta, Sergio Fausto and José Octavio Bordón. Other papers and empirical evidence have provided essential background for the preparation of this report.


Publication date
27 September 2021
Number of pages
978-91-7671-470-6 (PDF)




1. Brief assessment: Where we are and where we could go

2. Effective and democratic governance for the great transformation

3. New social contract to promote the welfare state

4. Fiscal agreement for sustainable development

5. Renewed integration for greater cohesion and to strengthen the region

6. Building democratic governance


Annex A. Fiscal measures to be considered

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Democratic governance as an effective and enduring response to the challenges facing Latin America

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