- Safe Democracy Foundation - http://english.safe-democracy.org -

New left or neopopulism?

[1]

By Fabián Bosoer (for Safe Democracy)

Fabián Bosoer believes that winds of change are blowing in Latin America again. Some people, enthusiastic or worried, consider that the turn to the left of the continent is getting deeper, in order to stress a rupture with the nineties. For others, he adds, the classic dilemma between populism and liberal democracy is on the table again. Bosoer rejects both positions, which put all the countries of the world in the same basket, and states a third alternative. In any case, the key question is: Is there a new paradigm of the democratic governability in Latin America?


[2] Fabián Bosoer is a political scientist and journalist working for Clarin. He is professor of Political Science and International Relations in the Buenos Aires University and Belgrano University.

MICHELE BACHELET, THE 54 YEAR OLD PEDIATRICIAN and first woman president in the history of Chile, and Evo Morales, the “cocalero” leader of 46 and first native leader becoming president of Bolivia, are two emblematical signs of what is new in South American democracies. Shortly, after two decades from the departure of the authoritarian dictatorships, and during the year in which seven countries from this part of the continent are going to the ballot-boxes to vote for their governments and legislative bodies, it is important to state that a new chapter is being written after the crisis, collapses, establishments and consolidations, which has led to instability and falls of governments.

MEETING POINT
Chile and Bolivia are two examples of similarities and differences, contradictions and dilemmas, which must be faced nowadays by this region. Bachelet and Morales show the contrast between a country, which faces this between present and future proudly, and well-being, and a country that has come from frustrations and convulsions, claiming for signs of compensation and redress, and aiming towards a national re-foundation with an uncertain future. Both of them are leaders identified with the left, and moreover do not deny the word “socialism”, even when it has a different meaning for each of them. While the presidential victory of Bachelet is the consequence of the success in the evolution and consolidation of the Chilean political system and in the results of the precedent administration, Morales appears as a reaction to the failure of the traditional political system, and the disaster of the successive governments in the country of the Andes.

CENTRE-LEFT
These similarities and differences illustrate the regional confluences and divergences. With a wider approach, we find that Brazil, Venezuela and Uruguay, like Argentina, have governments that define or name themselves as of “centre-left”. The Argentina of Néstor Kirchner confirmed this direction last October. The Uruguay of Tabaré V