When Donald Trump surprised pollsters and analysts by winning the 2016 election, South African comedian Trevor Noah said the United States finally had an African president and I would add a Latin American one too. Trump has said that if he loses it will be by fraud and has not committed to accepting the election results.
The short summer of the anti-MAS bloc in Bolivia lasted almost a year, as the newly elected president, Luis Arce Catacora (MAS), will have to be sworn in the next months. The possible return of Evo Morales generates joy to some and discomfort to others, but the triumph of his candidate shows a developed political sense.
On October 25, Chile will face its most important election since 1988, when a plebiscite began the transition to democracy. After the 2019 crisis, in 2020 the citizens will again be able to decide whether to initiate a process to replace the constitution inherited from the Pinochet regime and the type of convention that will have to draft it.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, twelve elections and one plebiscite have been postponed in Latin America to preserve the health of citizens and the guarantees of the processes. The region has not been the only one to postpone elections, more than 70 countries and sub-national jurisdictions have decided to postpone elections.
President Trump is taking lessons from some of Latin America’s most notorious leaders. But those leaders commanded Latin American nations as authoritarians during the 20th Century. Latin America has democratized, placed a greater emphasis on the rule of law, and –in many nations– sought to diminish economic inequality.
Trump and scandals go hand in hand, but will the latter be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for such an inept and corrupt leader? Although many in the United States think so, the history of authoritarianism and fascism shows us that it is doubtful.
Several countries in the region will hold elections soon. In some cases, pre-existing crises triggered intense mobilizations that were drastically interrupted by the pandemic. The situation, for all these cases, revolves around the connection between economic crisis and health crisis.
What is legitimate and what is not? Should governments negotiate with terrorist and criminal networks to reduce crime and homicide? Both questions, and many others, arise under this theme. In terms of security and negotiations, there is a wide constellation of cases between states, insurgent groups, and guerrillas, but less so with terrorists or drug cartels.
During the 2017-2019 electoral super cycle, South America experienced a “turn to the right”. Today, with these governments entering the different periods of administration, we wonder what the balance is. The first impression is that integration is going through one of its worst moments and that a quick exit from Maduro is not in sight.
For the first time in history, a U.S. Secretary of State will set foot on the world’s largest river island. Most of the news coverage and analysis of this has focused on Donald Trump’s attempt to present a tougher and more effective agenda on Venezuela for the Republican vote hunt in Florida.