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Political Pendulum in Latin America: A Trend to the Left

In Latin America, the democratic transition and political pendulums are something normal and we should not be scared of them.

Group of people during a protest in Chile

Only in this 2021, we had 5 presidential elections, of which 4 were with changes of governments, the only president who "competed" and won was in the Nicaraguan regime. Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Péndulo político en Latinoamérica: un tendencia a la izquierda

Only in 2021, we had 5 presidential elections, of which 4 were with changes of governments, the only president who "competed" and won was in the Nicaraguan regime. But there were not only changes of presidents, but also of economic models. Processes such as that of Chile, Honduras, Peru and (in theory) Ecuador are proof of this. In this way, it is demonstrated that in Latin America and in the world, democratic changes are vital, important and are a sign of a healthy democracy. As in the United States, Spain, France, or Germany, it is vital not to let fear prevent us from accepting defeat and understand that in a democratic process, there are periods for both parties. The important thing here is to defend the institutions since they are the ones that will guarantee us a healthy change of power.

Processes such as the Cuban, Nicaraguan, Venezuelan, and, currently, the Salvadoran are signs that fear should not be due to change or a government plan, the line should be populism and populism has existed in both political spectra. One example was how Donald Trump tried to stay in power in the United States.

Today the political pendulum in Latin America is more tilted to the left, but it may turn again in the future. This is why the Government that rises today, must defend the counterweights and the division of powers, since those who today are the ruling party, tomorrow will once again be the opposition.

Honduras

After almost 200 years, the Honduran people made history and elected the country's first female president. Xiomara Castro arrives as a figure that represents the legacy of her ex-husband, Manuel Zelaya, who in 2009 suffered a military coup. The political transition and the return of a figure like Castro, who represents the government of her late husband, is a good example of Honduran institutions.

Chile

The country experienced a social outbreak in which Chileans demanded profound changes in the Chilean model, which has left decades of economic growth, but with few tangible results for the majority of the population. This resulted in a constituent assembly that will seek to create a new Magna Carta and with unorthodox elections where the movements furthest from the center were the favorites. Of these, German Boric was the winner of the elections and managed to seduce not only the leftist electorate but also the more moderate voters.

Ecuador

If we count that Lenin Moreno was elected under the banners of Correismo (despite the fact that he later distanced himself), Guillermo Lasso is the first right-wing president since 2007. Also a healthy democratic transition.

Peru

After passing from Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Martín Vizcarra, Manuel Merino, and Francisco Sagasti, all in the same presidential term, the election of Pedro Castillo represented a triumph for the institutionality. Away from the predecessor government parties, the leader of Peru Libre represents Peruvian democracy. However, the political crisis does not seem to have ended and Castillo's presidency is threatened (like that of his predecessors). All under the constitutional laws that guarantee an efficient division of powers and some clear political counterweights.

Elections in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Brazil

For 2022, 3 presidential elections are sighted that can change the party of Government. According to the polls in the 3 countries, the favorite is a candidate other than the current president (even Bolsonaro in Brazil could lose). The changes in the 2 most populated countries in South America and in one of the most democratic countries in Central America should not be traumatic as they want to be seen. The importance is not in who arrives, but in always having the guarantee that they will be able to leave. This is why a participatory democracy and a congress that serves as political control will be a fundamental pieces to maintain the institutionality.

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The most important thing is to maintain diplomatic relations and cooperation between all the countries of the region. No matter who is the president in Brazil, Chile, or Panama, as long as it is a democratic government, relations, and exchange between countries will be an advantage in the face of the post-pandemic economic reactivation. Adding to this, a greater and joint integration, will be the only way to have a greater voice and command in the international scene with global superpowers.