Social protest has been a common way for expressing demands in Latin America. The institutional weakness to respond to social needs through formal channels has made informal politics a more effective alternative to influence power. However, in recent years, states have, on the one hand, reinforced mechanisms to control dissent and, on the other, have left protesters unprotected. In a context characterized by the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic, inequality and the lack of political hegemony at the regional level, it is urgent to ask about the quality of democracy and the guarantees of activists and social movements. This presentation seeks to answer this question and identify the causal factors that explain the criminalization of protest in Latin America.