Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Is Leftist Populism on the Decline in Latin America?
Created by John Eipper on 05/15/16 4:46 AM

Previous posts in this discussion:

Post

Is Leftist Populism on the Decline in Latin America? (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 05/15/16 4:46 am)

Is leftist populism declining in Latin America?.

This is a question many of us are pondering when looking at what is happening in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, or to a lesser extent in Ecuador, Bolivia or Nicaragua.

Failure, incompetence, corruption, autocracy and despotism were common factors of the regimes of the Kirchner dynasty in Argentina, or of Lula and Dilma in Brazil. Social pressure and democratic institutions defeated them.

Massoud Malek posed a question: Does impeaching a president make a country a democracy? The answer is yes: as imperfect as a democracy might be, to recall a corrupted and incompetent politician is the democratic way.

In Venezuela, the constitution also provides opportunities for impeaching the president for very much the same reasons as in Brazil. However, the current Venezuelan regime is probably the least democratic of all the Latin American countries, perhaps as much as Cuba. Moreover, because there is no separation of powers, the Electoral Council is illegally maneuvering to hamper the current legitimate process of recalling president Maduro. (In less than two days more than 2 million signatures were collected to support it! Only 175,000 were needed.) The government will probably succeed in stopping the recall, and the ruin of the country will continue on the same path.

Scarcities of food, medicines, water, electricity, basic services, etc., crime, impunity, drug trafficking, corruption and repression--you name it. There is also the macro economic crisis--inflation, devaluation, lack of international reserves, decreasing oil production, etc. These are common issues Venezuelans must face every day. It's become a matter of pure and simple survival. The situation is so grotesque, that even cash is scarce, because the government does not have enough funds to print more money. It is not able to pay the printing cost. I would prefer not to go deeper in describing the miseries of the country at this time.

The only justification for this situation is what the Venezuelan government calls "economic war against the people" and blaming--who else?--the United States of America, the empire, the villain, in an international capitalist conspiracy. Sound familiar? This was the Cuban political cliché during the blockade years.

But getting back to the original question, it is my opinion that populism in Latin America is not in decline; rather, it has momentarily retreated, a backward motion for the cases just mentioned. In some other countries, Bolivia with Evo, Ecuador with Correa and Nicaragua with Ortega, though the economic and social situation might be perhaps precarious, the regimes there still enjoy enough popularity to maintain the status for some time.

Furthermore, I believe that societies in Latin America, in general, are still democratically immature, for reasons I have commented in previous posts about democracies, and social frustration with politicians and ideologies of all kinds will be a perfect breeding ground for left (or right) populism.

JE comments: Populism in Brazil and Argentina has definitely experienced "retrenchment," to use Enrique Torner's term of late.  The final nail in the coffin will be Venezuela, if (more likely, when) Maduro falls.  I'm grateful for José Ignacio Soler's updates from Caracas.

But populism always comes back. Note that the United States with Trump is flirting with right populism.  The Donald is the closest thing to a Latin American caudillo the US has seen since--ever?  Bernie Sanders's day in the sun is drawing to a close, but his candidacy showed the appeal of left populism.

I'll be attending a conference in La Paz (Bolivia) this August.  It will be interesting to see the Evo Morales phenomenon up close.  He is already the longest-serving president in Bolivian history.


SHARE:
Rate this post
Informational value 
Insight 
Fairness 
Reader Ratings (0)
0%
Informational value0%
Insight0%
Fairness0%

Visits: 126

Comments/Replies

Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

  • Populism in US? (David Duggan, USA 05/16/16 4:56 AM)
    When commenting on José Ignacio Soler's post of 15 May, John E asked about populist US presidential candidates. What about Douglas MacArthur? He was approached by some to seek the Democratic nomination in 1952. Like the Caesar that he was, he wanted to be drafted and not run as a candidate.

    JE comments: We'd also have to add Ross Perot in 1992 and '96, and William Jennings Bryan (1896, 1900, 1908). Teddy Roosevelt leaned populist when he felt fit as a bull moose in 1912.


    Note that "true" populists (whatever that means) don't win presidential elections.

    Please login/register to reply or comment:


Trending Now



All Forums with Published Content (44270 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications

Economics

Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy

Education

Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series

History

Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust

Nations

Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire

Politics

Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 US Elections 2020 Violence War War Crimes Within the US

Religion

Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)

Travel

Geography Maps Tourism Transportation

WAIS

1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who