Global democratic regimes were the topic of discussion in professor Juli Minoves-Triquell’s speech, “No End of History: Democracy, Latin America and the State of the World” on May 1.
Minoves, a Andorran diplomat, author and professor of political science at the University of La Verne brought his knowledge of world affairs by comparing democracies from around the world.
He began the speech with a quote from Winston Churchill, stating that “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried.”
He vocalized the tribulations a nation has to endure in order to rule as a democracy.
“In other countries the struggle for freedom is met by repression,” Minoves said. “Travel to Asia or Africa and try to speak out; you’ll flee for your life.”
With his profound diction, many in the audience said Minoves’ speech was an eye-opener.
“You learn to appreciate what it is to have a true democracy here compared to other countries who have limited freedom,” Mariela Martinez, freshman political science and English major, said.
Growing up in Andorra, a small country wedged between Spain and France, Minoves spoke of his travels and work for human rights.
He discovered that many non-democratic countries use culture and religion as a basis for their ruling rather than ensuring what is best for the people.
“Democracy is not granted in society, and culture and religion are not exclusionary traits that prohibit democracy and human rights,” Minoves said.
Minoves said many third-world countries have gone through civil and political strife. The Rwandan genocide demonstrates this theory, showcasing the perils of ethnic and religious divisions. He also said that Latin America is still divided in terms of democracy.
Out of the 20 countries that make up Latin America, Cuba is the only communist country.
“I don’t think presidential systems have supported Latin America well, especially since they concentrate too much on power,” he said. “Their offices are too personalized and they muzzle the press.”
Chile and Argentina are functioning democracies, and Brazil and Uruguay have initiated some social reforms.
In 2012 Minoves traveled to Colombia with members of the European parliament in hopes of ratifying a free trade agreement, bringing an end to violence by putting energy towards future development.
He also expressed his views on Mexico, saying that it is a country that deserves special attention because of the increased violence, drug abuse and demilitarizing conflict.
He praised Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto’s efforts to restore the power of the state and how Mexico has transformed from a dictatorship to a democracy. Minoves denounced Cuba’s corrupt government and lack of freedom and electoral college.
“Cubans do not even have the ability to think, speak or write freely,” he said.
Minoves concluded his speech with the thought of China soon becoming a democracy.
“A democratic China would have a huge impact on the world, and then maybe we will have an end to history,” he said.
Much of the questions from the audience related to a claim Princeton University made, stating that the U.S. is an oligarchy, ruled by a few, because much of the policymaking is dominated by a small number of affluent Americans and powerful business organizations.
Minoves disagreed with the statement, and said that the U.S. is indeed a democracy due to the freedom of the press and the electoral elections we have. Other questions revolved around China as a democracy, and how that would shift diplomatic relations.
“China takes up about one-fifth of the world’s population, and there might be a point where it will have to become a democracy,” he said.
He compared China as a democracy to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and said no one could have ever imagined the wall falling, but the fate of China as a democracy is inevitable.
“I liked (Minoves’) reference to the Berlin Wall and how anything can happen rapidly regarding politics,” said Traci Ramirez, freshman biology major.
Minoves said there will be no end to history until democracy encompasses the whole world.
Erum Jaffrey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.