Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Right and center in Latin America

Susan Kaufman Purcell's op-ed in the Miami Herald is poorly argued.  She argues that Latin America is moving to the right ideologically, and hopefully this means doing something to Hugo Chávez.  Several problems here:

First, polls show that Latin America has remained quite centrist ideologically, regardless of individual elections.

Second, she admits that the Chilean election was based almost entirely on non-ideological issues.

Third, her claim that Colombians voted for Juan Manuel Santos because of Hugo Chávez is not convincing.

Fourth, you cannot compare the Honduran election to other elections in the region, given the repressive context.

And she misspelled "augur."  I know that's petty, but it bugged me.

Update: In comments Randy Paul also notes that she mentions "Francisco" Calderón.  Nice.


Randy Paul 12:54 PM  

She also called President Calderon, Francisco Calderon.

Greg Weeks 1:00 PM  

I didn't even notice that--duly updated in the post.

mike a,  9:37 PM  

You don't agree that Chavez was a major factor in the victory of Santos? Ask anyone who voted for Santos. The Colombia election results reflect an affirmation of the policies to confront and eliminate the FARC. Chavez is an unabashed supporter of the FARC and would love nothing more than to destabilize Colombia. How is that not an influence on the election?

The fear was that if Mockus had won Colombia would have given back all of the security gains of the past 8 years, if not by design then as a consequence of his naive policy.

ConsDemo 9:55 PM  

Is there really a meaningful "right" in Latin America?

The governments on the left (moderate and radical left) are easy to identify. Arguably Pinera is right, although as the post notes, his campaign wasn't highly ideological. Alan Garcia is only "right" when compared his authoritarian populist Ollanta Humala but is probably more centrist than anything else. Uribe is called "right" because he is often compared to Chavez but I also recall he favored (and obtained) a tax increase on wealthy Colombians. Calderon and Lobo are certainly "right-wing" within their own countries but at least in Calderon's case, I don't think he would fit easily into the Republican Party if he was in the US. So, is there really much a "right" to speak of in Latin America.

Greg Weeks 7:35 AM  

Mike, just don't confuse voting for security and voting against Chávez. They are not synonymous.

leftside 12:14 PM  

ConsDemo makes a good point. The Herald piece seemed to bend over backwards to claim that parties of the left and right are united in their support for neo-liberal economic policies. Yet, I doubt any politician with any popularity in Latin America would openl;y claim to support neo-liberal policies, as they are understood today. Leaders of the right today in LA have been forced to take anti-neo-liberal positions they would have not done in the 80s and 90s. Of course, only a few are openly anti-capitalist in deed, but the idea that neo-liberalism has won the day is simply wishful thinking.

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