Monday, January 27, 2014

The Latin American Right in Decline?

An article in the Washington Post suggests that the Latin American right is "in retreat." There is, though, a more nuanced view within the article itself:

Latin America’s right could once identify itself as pro-business and supportive of law and order and as closely aligned with the United States. But many of the region’s leftists and centrists have co-opted some of those issues as they have become more moderate, regional observers say, leaving conservatives with less to run on.

What this really suggests is that the supposed leftward tilt masks a pretty significant rightward one, leading to moderation in most countries. For all the talk of populism and hyped Venezuelan case, there is not much argument about what economic measures are required to keep inflation down and foreign investment up, and these are high priorities. This is true even in countries we love to label leftist, such as Bolivia and Ecuador.

In other words, unlike the Cold War-era, the pro-business right does not feel terribly threatened by leftist candidates. As long as it is making money, then not winning elections isn't automatically a problem.

Update: some comments on Twitter that I am missing Argentina on the one hand as a case where economic measures are not agreed upon; and Honduras and Paraguay as examples of a still coup-prone right. Fair enough. I guess the broader point should be that generalization is tough, though I still think that in general the right is far less coup prone than in the past, and that the left has incorporated some of the right's economic ideas more than in the past. Yet there are exceptions.


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