Category: Certainties and Qualms

Mexico’s Presidential Election: Taking the Chávez Out of López Obrador

Over the past few years there has been a surprising shift to the left in Latin American politics, raising concern among domestic businessmen, international investors, and the U.S. government about the sanctity of their investments. Rather than support the Washington Consensus, a growing number of politicians have improved their political prospects by blaming fiscal austerity and free-market economics for their countries’ lackluster …

High Emotions, Little Content: Colombia’s Presidential Election

Colombian presidential elections are scheduled for may, but with only ten weeks to election day, the field of presidential candidates remains very crowded. Congressional elections, held two months prior to presidential elections, have frequently served to indicate which pre-candidates were most viable. Lists of congressional candidates associated with presidential hopefuls did battle with one another and helped gauge public sentiment…

The 2006 Presidential Election in Venezuela: Electoral Competition and Regime Change

Between 1999 and 2005, Venezuelans have been called to cast their ballots ten times. These frequent elections have been the government showcase for democracy. Yet elections have become progressively less competitive, as President Hugo Chávez and his followers have concentrated an unusual amount of power and effectively sidelined the National Assembly. The opposition has also warned of fraud and other forms of …

Will the United States Ever Leave Nicaragua Alone? The Presidential Election of 2006

Even before the landslide election of evo morales as president of Bolivia at the end of 2005, and with left-leaning parties in power in Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, there have been hopes and fears, depending on the observer, of a possible left-wing sweep of Latin America. Given that Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas and has only three million people and negligible resources, few outside …

From Revolution to Rouba Mas Faz? Lula’s Reelection Campaign in Brazil

President Lula came to office promising mudança, or change. He delivered, but in a very unexpected way. Many observers were hopeful that the inauguration of Luiz Inacio da Silva as President of Brazil would usher in a new, modern, and socially just era of Brazilian politics. His personal history of labor militancy and his party’s reputation for disciplined, progressive, and clean governance suggested a dramatic departure from Brazilian …

Peru—The “Outsider” Syndrome: The 2006 Presidential Election

Every presidential election in Peru since 1990 has been marked by forces outside the realm of the predictable. Those forces catapulted Alberto Fujimori (1990) and Alejandro Toledo (2000/2001) to power, and have made Ollanta Humala the central figure in the current presidential campaign (he won 31 percent of the vote in the first round of the elections on April 9th). The spectacular rise of Humala, a nationalist former army officer, in …

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