Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Regional Response to Elections

Andreas Feldmann, Federico Merke, and Oliver Stuenkel have an article worth reading about the silence of Latin American governments with regard to the Venezuelan elections.

The typical way of understanding this is a "history of non-intervention" argument. Primarily because of the U.S. proclivity for widespread intervention, Latin American governments have responded by going far in the opposite direction. But the authors suggest that individual leaders matter. Lula was effective for a while, but then later wasn't. They also mention the "will" of individuals.

I think this would be an excellent research topic. How heavy is the weight of history, or is it just a convenient explanation? If we want to emphasize individuals, how should we measure that?  What are the structural factors that contribute to those individual decisions? Most importantly, we should look for domestic considerations that might show us patterns about when presidents/administrations are more or less likely to become vocal about elections in other countries. Further, we would also need to explain timing--at what point do concerns become so great that they speak out.

In short, I don't think the "history of non-intervention" is satisfactory, and this article is at least getting at different ways of thinking about. Latin American governments do push their counterparts sometimes. We just don't have a good handle on when and why.


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