What do young Latin Americans want for their future? Students from various South American countries share their dreams and ideas about the economic, political, and social future of the continent.
By Ana Luisa González
MARÍA PAULA GUTIÉRREZ HURTADO, COLOMBIA, 22, STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE ANDES
© María Paula Gutiérrez Hurtado
I dream of a continent where decentralized institutions, which have been built on leadership that was born in each territory, are recognized and devise forms of governance in the face of the state’s neglect. From these groups, concrete approaches to preserving the environment around them emerge. So much so that they learn how to participate in an ecosystem and how to take care of it so that they can rely on it. If we want development in the region, we must include these perspectives in public debate as well as at the state level to define where we are with social efficiency. Only through democratic and participatory decision-making can we achieve environmental and social well-being.
FACUNDO LÓPEZ, ARGENTINian, 21, student at the TORCUATO DI TELLA UNIVERSIty
© Facundo López
The Latin American political economy must take a leap toward a structure that encourages technological innovation. The COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity to break from the mold, and Industry 4.0 will offer distinct advantages for us to become more competitive. Ideally, countries should specialize in skilled services, digital networking in manufacturing, and high-tech sectors. That is a decision that will depend on past political legacies and on the coalitions that can sustain political-economic institutions that facilitate the development of each sector. My dream is that Latin American nations, regarding their political struggle, can establish a stronger consensus for institutional innovation to spearhead future business innovation.
GONZALO ZEBALLOS GALLARDO, BOLIVIA, 21, student at the private university of SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA
© Gonzalo Zeballos Gallardo
Among the new technologies, software technologies have been the major driving force of our economic system’s digital transformation. Latin America poses a great challenge: to bet on the continuation of this process. To find the solution, coordination is needed from all the involved actors in the development of the Latin American economy — the State, businesses, and consumers — who use new technologies in their daily activities. The Latin America I dream of seeks digital transformation, I dream of a Latin America with full technological sovereignty, but above all, my dream is that technology will be accessible to all.
ALANA ALVES RODRIGUES, BRAzIL, 28, student at the federal UNIVERSIty of VIÇOSA
© Alana Alves Rodrigues
Adélia Prado, a Brazilian poet, says that “dreams don’t die.” She may be right because, despite so many challenges, we are still dreaming. We could make a wish list here: after all, I hope that in the very near future we are free from the pandemic and that at the end of this period we can look at nature and people with more respect; I hope we can experience greater social and gender equity. I dream of having access to quality education; I want scientists’ work to be valued more. But what I wish most for Latin America is for us to be able to continue to dream because as long as we keep believing, we can still fight.
SEBASTIÁN PINO, CHILE, 24, STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHILE
© Sebastián Pino
My dream is for Latin America to advance towards being a region that operates on the core principle of strengthening as a bloc. I dream that it will become a region that establishes itself as an agent of change moving towards genuine sustainable development and political stability, where democratic processes and the security of fundamental social rights are guaranteed. The health crisis due to the coronavirus shows us what is important: establishing integration agreements that privilege the public sector and coordinating between individual states. That is why Latin America must reconsider its modes of interaction and seek unity to face the challenges of the future.
KEVIN STEVEN MOJICA MUÑOZ, COLOMBIA, 23, STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE ANDES
© Kevin Steven Mojica Muñoz
The Latin America I dream of has a specialized public administration based on meritocracy. The social challenges the region is facing can only be solved with public intervention that is based on a profound knowledge of the problems and technical methodologies. That can only be achieved by ensuring that people are only appointed to prominent public positions in decision-making in accordance with merit-based criteria and if they have highly specialized profiles. In the past, positions were doled out through cronyism and political convenience or favors, and we must leave this behind. That is not only illegal in some cases, but it determines the quality of public decision-making. We need a stronger state, but a good state.
SEBASTIAN STEVE PORTOCARRERO, PERÚ, 19, STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC
© Sebastian Steve Portocarrero
As a future economist, I dream of Latin American countries that enjoy sustainable economies and that, in turn, ensure a merit-based, yet equitable, distribution of wealth. I also dream of institutions that build solid social foundation so that public policies can accomplish proposed goals and escape the middle income trap and conditional convergence. Following this path, my biggest dream is to more clearly see a future in which people belonging to different countries in the region do not need to abandon their nations in search of better alternatives for their own social and personal growth.
MARÍA ROSA HERNÁNDEZ, VENEZUELA, 21, STUDENT AT THE ANDRÉS BELLO CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY
© María Rosa Hernández
Latin American countries were profoundly affected by the coronavirus pandemic because they lack infrastructure and have fewer financial resources and less access to finance. Nevertheless, digital models having emerged as the main protagonists has opened a window of opportunity, allowing us to see that it is imperative to concentrate our efforts on strengthening the digital ecosystem. The ideal for the future of the region is to have an efficient technological infrastructure that reduces the gap between those who can access the internet and those who cannot. This will, at the same time, contribute to the development of new ideas of how to interact with IT and communications.