San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Survey Shows Support For Democracy, Fear of Crime

Support for democracy, distrust of politics and fear of rising crime characterize Latin Americans’ opinions about their countries, according to the annual Latinobarómetro survey.

The survey, carried out by pollster CIDGallup in 18 countries between Oct. 3 and Nov. 5, was sponsored by the nonprofit, Chile-based LB, and is the sister to similar studies in Europe, Africa and Asia.

It has a 3% margin of error and a sample size between 1,000-2,000 respondents per country.

Costa Rican opinions generally remained about the middle of the pack, though Costa Ricans expressed the highest support for democracy in the region at 83%, followed by Uruguay and Venezuela.

However, fewer than half of Costa Ricans – 47% – expressed satisfaction with the country’s democracy, compared to 66% of Uruguayans and 59% of Venezuelans.

Despite all the support for democracy, the region’s opinion of politicians and political parties is remarkably low. Asked how much confidence they had in 20 different institutions, only 20% of Latin Americans trusted political parties, making that group score the worst.

In Costa Rica they did even worse with only 15% of people responding that they trusted the political parties.

Joining political parties at the bottom were Congress, the Judicial Branch, the government and the police.

The Roman Catholic Church got the second highest vote of confidence, with 74% of Latin Americans expressing their trust. The most trusted of the 20 social elements listed in the survey was firefighters, with a 75% confidence rating.

Costa Ricans also broke from the middle when it came to the topic of security, with 77% of those polled responding that they felt insecure “all or almost all the time” or “sometimes,” making Costa Rica the third most worried country in Latin America.

Only 8% of Costa Ricans responded that “the majority of people can be trusted,” making Costa Rica the third least trusting country in Latin America, just above Paraguay and Brazil.


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