It was late October 2019, when different academics and activists from all over Latin America were preparing to meet in the south of Chile to share our ideas and perspectives on UBI for the first time. The idea of forming a regional basic income network had been present for a long time and people were eager to contribute to it.

Suddenly, Chilean police and army went to the streets to suppress unarmed protestors. What started as high-school students protesting the rising metro fees became the a turning point in Chile’s history. The basic income event was sadly cancelled but the seed of something else was planted.

Fast forward to early March 2020, together with Gabriela Cabaña we decided to kick-start the network. Our first call was on Monday, March 9th, one day after the biggest protest turnout in Chile, on the eve when petrol prices went negative and right before the COVID-19 pandemic spread to most countries. We did not know what to expect next.

After the Corona virus hit, the interest on basic income surged tremendously in Latin America. In a matter of months, UBI in Latin America has gone from being almost no-where in the political radar to being the politics of the future, with events discussing the idea in countries like Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Uruguay.

The Latin American Basic Income Network meets once a month. Since July and with the help of the Institute of Central American Fiscal Studies (ICEFI), the network has started to organize a series of talks in order to contextualize the importance of basic income in the region. You can watch the first one here, featuring Pablo Yanes (Mexico), Nelson Villarreal Durán (Uruguay) and Alejandra Zúñiga Fajuri (Chile), on the present importance of basic income.

Our goal is to produce a Latin American perspective on Basic Income, situating it in the socio-political context of the region on all it’s different dimensions, such as ecology, indigenous perspectives, welfare, democracy and so on. The next talk will be held on August 4th, 16h CDT, titled “Feminist Perspectives on Basic Income” which can be streamed live and viewed here.

Watch out for more news coming from the region! To get in touch, please contact us at:

About Julio Linares

Julio Linares has written 5 articles.