by Luis Horacio Najera, Visiting Fellow at Massey College and a Research Fellow at the Citizen Lab.

Four years after the ‘Arab Spring’, the empowerment of civil society in Latin American countries has been  hampered – legally and illegally – by formal and informal structures of power. This has meant that digital expression of political dissent has been minimal.

Examples include Mexico’s deflated movement #Yosoy132 (I am 132) after the federal election of 2012, and cyber-harassment of politicians and journalists in Venezuela by the pro-Chavez N33 group. Government agencies have allowed civil society minimal access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), but not enough to effectively threaten their institutions of power.

Latin American governments appeal to the constitution to justify the restriction of political liberties, and in doing so maintain the status quo. This sets physical, legal, and economic limits on access to the Internet. Additional security measures taken by the government include equipment and software similar to those used by authoritarian regimes.

Read the full post in Portuguese here.