Monday, June 02, 2014

Left and Center-Left Presidents in Latin America

For the 2nd edition of U.S. and Latin American Relations I am writing an entirely new chapter on the efforts to counter U.S. hegemony in the region. I thought it would be useful to have a table showing all the elections of left or center-left presidents since Hugo Chávez got the ball rolling. The list is pretty long and a reminder about how diverse the "left" really is. Even defining "center-left" can be tricky. If I have left something out, let me know.

Elections of Left or Center-Left Presidents in Latin America, 1998-2014

Year
President
Country
1998
Hugo Chávez
Venezuela
1999-2000
Ricardo Lagos
Chile
                     2000
Hugo Chávez (re-elected)
Venezuela
2002
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Brazil
2003
Néstor Kirchner
Argentina
2004
Tabaré Vázquez
Uruguay
2005
Evo Morales
Bolivia
2005
José Manuel Zelaya
Honduras
2005-2006
Michelle Bachelet
Chile
2006
Rafael Correa
Ecuador
2006
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (re-elected)
Brazil
2006
Daniel Ortega
Nicaragua
2006
Hugo Chávez (re-election)
Venezuela
2007
Álvaro Colom
Guatemala
2007
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
Argentina
2008
Fernando Lugo
Paraguay
2009
José Mujica
Uruguay
2009
Mauricio Funes
El Salvador
2009
Evo Morales
Bolivia
2010
Dilma Rousseff
Brazil
2011
Ollanta Humala
Peru
2011
Daniel Ortega (re-election)
Nicaragua
2011
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (re-election)
Argentina
2012
Hugo Chávez (re-election
Venezuela
2013
Michelle Bachelet (re-election)
Chile
2013
Nicolás Maduro
Venezuela
2014
Salvador Sánchez Cerén
El Salvador
2014
Luis Guillermo Solís
Costa Rica

8 comments:

Mandramas 1:27 PM  

CFK turn to right in her 2011 reelection?

Greg Weeks 1:29 PM  

oops, corrected...

boz 2:07 PM  

So many potential comments....

I'd like to know how you're defining "left" here. It would be good to have a definition besides a self-identifying ideology or "know it when I see it."

With that said, let's start here:
Rafael Correa has had a reeelection or two that should be on this list.

You have Bachelet as "reeelection" in 2013, but you don't have that for Ortega in 2006. Both are back in office after a gap (unless you aren't counting Ortega's election in the 1980's, which may be valid).

You also need to think through how people who shift ideologies should be categorized. Zelaya wasn't elected on a "leftist" platform in 2005 (few in Honduras would call the Liberal party a "leftist" party today), but shifted to the left over time. Humala was elected on a leftist platform but has moved right. Alan Garcia was a well known leftist until he wasn't and APRA is still a member of Socialist International. For that matter, both Fujimori and Menem (still a Peronist politician and ally of CFK!) were elected on leftwing platforms, before shifting right early in their terms. Should they be included too?

Greg Weeks 3:20 PM  

As you might guess, there is no single definition of "left." I am basically using the Levitsky & Roberts definition of having as a central programmatic objective, to reduce social and and economic inequalities.

Yes, I clearly omitted some re-elections. It makes sense to include Ortega if for no other reason to remind students that he was president before.

Zelaya is an interesting case given his original platform. He may need an asterisk or something, though I'll be discussing his case elsewhere in the book.

Even if Humala has moved right, he's clearly center-left.

I'd put Garcia in a category with Menem (who actually does not have an election in this time period) and Fujimori, which is that by the time of this election, he was not considered leftist, either by self-identification or public. Which is why Chavez opposed him.

Geoffrey Ramsey 4:27 PM  

If the definition includes platforms of traditionally center-left parties, why not add Panama's 2004 election of Martin Torrijos, or Costa Rica's Oscar Arias' return for 2nd term in 2006?

J— 9:07 PM  

Recent PLD and PRD presidents in the DR?

Geoffrey Ramsey 11:06 PM  

I would argue that including Solis while leaving Arias or Torrijos is problematic, because Solis was elected on a mostly anti-corruption platform rather than a "left" one, especially if we compare him to Jose Maria Villalta.

Greg Weeks 8:50 AM  

Yes, Solis may well not be a good fit--I think including all stretches the concept so far that it becomes much less useful.

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