2017 has been a good year for the LATINNO Project. We launched the first part of our project containing more than 2,400 democratic innovations in 18 countries in Latin America; and the findings of our research were featured in OpenDemocracy/ DemocraciaAbierta, DADOS, the European Journal of Political Research, The Governance Report, and T. Falleti and E. Parrado's book "Latin America Since the Left Turn."
Relief mechanisms after natural disasters, citizen monitoring systems in the face of blatant corruption, forms of citizen participation aimed at reducing the evergrowing number of homicides: as the year comes to an end, we want to look back and celebrate the most innovative forms of political experimentation implemented this year in Latin America.
Our Favourite Democratic Innovations of 2017
1. The Life Instinct campaign is an organized civil society initiative of the seven most violent countries in Latin America: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Venezuela. The objective of this alliance is to reduce, in ten years, the number of homicides that occur in the region through the creation, dissemination, and implementation of public policies and concrete measures that seek to reduce the current rate of killings; the mobilization of civil society; and the dissemination of data and information. The actions of this campaign are based on citizen participation, data analysis, access to justice, and rejection of hard-hitting policies and the militarization of public security.
2. Brazil's Mudamos App (lit. We change) is a mobile application developed by the Institute of Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro (ITS Rio) for proposing bills through popular initiative. The purpose of the application is to assist the process of taking citizens' signatures, usually done by paper, using blockchain technology, where the signatures are univocal and auditable. The App has had more than 100.000 downloads.
3. Guatemala's #NuestroPropioNorte (lit. Our Own North) is an initiative by the civil society that is carried out with the aim to create a space for migrant leaders, returnees, and the organized civil society in the United States and Guatemala; and to advance institutional responses to the phenomenon of migration, deportation and return. In the framework of the first summit and as part of the digital campaign, around 170 migrants and returnees agreed on a manifesto of demands to the Guatemalan State.
4. Peru's The Voice of Peruvian Internet is a crowdsourcing project devised by a civil society organization, in which about 500 people expressed their preferences and their opinion on national public policies regarding technology and connectivity. The objective of the platform, which was online for three months, was to create a space in which citizens could propose and decide the necessary reforms to improve the digital ecosystem of the country. The online consultation addressed issues of cybersecurity and open government, among others, and identified problems such as the lack of awareness from the side of citizens regarding the current legislation on those issues.
5. Mexico's #Verificado19S was an online platform co-created with the aim of giving live and reliable information for those in the areas affected by the Central Mexico earthquake of September 19th. The platform showed a map that indicated where and how was the infrastructure damaged, the capacity and services provided by the shelters, and the supplies that needed in the different collection centers. Around 4 million people consulted this platform.