What inequality looks like
After decades of electoral democracy, the countries of Latin America are experiencing sustained economic growth, a robust civil society, and growing confidence in the power of participation. Yet Latin America continues to be the most unequal region in the world. Inequality destabilizes democracy, weakens economic growth, and undermines the social fabric, leading to discrimination and disparities in wealth that most dramatically affect indigenous peoples, Afrodescendants, women, youth, and rural populations.
For too long, indigenous peoples and Afrodescendants have been denied full political recognition, impeding their participation and making them vulnerable to violence. In countries such as Colombia, Chile, and Peru, policies favor the wealthy and place high tax burdens on the poor.
Challenging exclusion, furthering equity
We believe that empowering indigenous peoples and Afrodescendants is essential to breaking historical patterns of inequality, exclusion, and discrimination. Only when these communities gain true visibility and participate freely and fully in decisions that affect them, including decisions related to natural resources, can the forces that perpetuate inequality be disrupted.
Natural resources are an engine of growth, a source of biodiversity, and a cornerstone of the region’s cultural heritage. We believe that improved government regulations and socially inclusive and sustainable corporate practices—consistent with human rights, high environmental standards, and a substantive role for communities—can go far toward ensuring more equitable access to, control over, and use of natural resources.
We also believe that well-structured and fair fiscal policy can bring benefits to all people. Taxation and budgeting are important tools that governments can use to distribute resources in ways that build just societies. When fiscal policy is participatory, transparent, and perceived as legitimate, it can disrupt inequality and enable a wider base of the population to thrive.