In Latin America, badly affected by the corona, populists are on strike

In Latin America, badly affected by the corona, populists are on strike

Left-wing populist Andres Aras, currently the biggest contender for the presidency of Ecuador, has promised to provide corona benefits to the poor.

(Image by Eba / Jose Jacom)


When the Ecuadorian people voted for the president on Sunday, a key name was missing from the electoral roll: Lennon Moreno. Almost certain of defeat, the current president is not running for re-election. Since taking office in 2017, Moreno has switched from right to right, and his supporters have dwindled significantly in recent years. It Storage package He set out to tackle the Corona crisis, raising thousands of angry citizens in May. Its potential Sub, Left-wing populist Andres Aras has promised to reform economic reforms soon. A second round of voting in April will determine whether he really gets the chance.
Ecuador is not the only country in Latin America where the current president and other politicians could soon be ousted by populists. The region is facing an “exciting election year,” says Barbara Hoganboom, a professor of Latin American studies at the University of Amsterdam. Elections will be held in nine countries this year. In five of these – except Ecuador, Chile, Honduras, Peru and Nicaragua – a president is elected.
Growing popular discontent has led to various new names on the electoral rolls, including many populists. Frustrations, even in countries without elections this year, are mainly directed against the established order. “Many residents believe that today’s political class has no answers to the crises they face every day,” said Hogan Boom, director of the Center for Research and Documentation in Latin America. ‘As in the past, there are objects for the rise of populism: distrust and polarization.’

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The lost decade

These elements are already evident in the fall of 2019. Images of violent demonstrations in Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia and Haiti were later spread around the world. Citizens were outraged by corruption, unemployment and the growing divide between the general public and the privileged elite.
‘The corona epidemic has strengthened the sense of distrust,’ says Hoganboom. ‘For example, money has been damaged in various places fighting the virus.’
COVID-19 has dealt a “huge economic blow” to the region. In terms of economic growth, Latin America has lagged behind other regions for many years. As a result of infection Predicts The International Monetary Fund has shrunk by 8.1 percent this year. The number of the very poor is expected to increase by millions.
As in the 1980s, residents are facing a lost decade. At that time, there was no growth, no room for poverty reduction and no recovery. It was only after 25 years that social progress could be seen again. Now if it happens again, an entire generation will fall between the sinking ship. ‘
Hoganboom says populists are responding to these fears with the promise of a complete reversal of course. They present themselves as the leader of the common people. They identify one or more common enemies – the rich elite – to lay the groundwork for that artificial unity. ‘


Various heads of government are currently unable to create a sense of unity. For example, one says that most people in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico will not vote for the president who is now sitting in the election. poll Of the philanthropic system of Luminate.
An exception is Brazil. As the country posts the highest corona numbers in the sky, President Jair Bolzano is alone Very popular Become. This is mainly due to the emergency benefits available to the poor after the crisis. Erasmus’ presidential candidate Aras has promised similar assistance.
Hogan Boom: ‘Patriarchy often plays a role in populist appeals. Handing over the money gives residents the impression that they really care. However, the danger of these types of rapid solutions is that no structural changes occur. ‘
Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was also initially ‘praised’ for his socialist agenda. However, after his death, he left a poor land. “Venezuela is still deep in the mud.”
Democracy is also a concern because democracy is not so deeply rooted in Latin America. The professor believes that as the history of dictatorship is still fresh in their minds, most residents will cite democracy as the best political system. ‘But they also want a strong leader who can really do something for his citizens. If it is done in a slightly less democratic way, they will most likely be at peace with it. ‘

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This company opens up the opportunity for politicians to show dictatorial traits in the future. ‘We have seen examples of this in Venezuela and Nicaragua. As you often see among populists the role of the military is very important. Players become ministers or given an important task in maintaining order. Leaders run the risk of prolonging the military in power. ‘
Still, things are not going fast everywhere, Hoganboom thinks. ‘In a country like Mexico it is not so easy for politicians to undermine democratic institutions. Moreover, it is still questionable to what extent the established parties should actually lead. With the tight locks, street demonstrations have somewhat subsided, so dissatisfaction is now high under the radar. This year’s elections will help to get a picture of what citizens believe and what they fear. ‘

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