Leftism and Populism in Today's Latin America: Is Chavismo Contagious? with Professor Javier Corrales, Amherst College. Senior Fellow Jaime Daremblum moderates the discussion.
Professor Corrales chairs the Department of Political Science at Amherst College. He obtained a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University, and is the author of Presidents Without Parties: The Politics of Economic Reform in Argentina and Venezuela in the 1990s (Penn State Press, 2002). Corrales' article, "Hugo Boss," appeared in the January/February 2006 issue of Foreign Policy.
Pablo Bachelet is the Latin America correspondent for The Miami Herald, focusing on U.S. foreign policy toward the region. He's worked for the Reuters News Agency as a correspondent and for America Economia, a Latin American business magazine, as business editor.
Bachelet is a graduate of Pomona College and has taken master's degree coursework at the Institute of International Studies at the University of Chile. He's the author of a Spanish-language business biography of Gustavo Cisneros, a Venezuelan media magnate, and has lived in Italy, India, Chile and Argentina. He's fluent in Spanish and has some proficiency in Italian, Portuguese and French.
Professor Javier Corrales
Professor Javier Corrales chairs the Department of Political Science at Amherst College. He obtained a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University, and is the author of Presidents Without Parties: The Politics of Economic Reform in Argentina and Venezuela in the 1990s (Penn State Press, 2002). Corralesâ€™ article, "Hugo Boss," appeared in the January/February 2006 issue of Foreign Policy. Senior Fellow Jaime Daremblum will moderate.
Mr Correles, You state that populism is the control of the opposition and socialism is the control of the market.
The "market" is not a free floating entity separate of people. The market is always intertwined with the opposition and visa versa.
When referring to populism and socialism. Those who have market power and seek share of it are are the issue. The market is what both socialist and populist seek to control. They may have separate method on how they go about the goal but the end goal is always some form of market control.
belen, I just don't get how a democratic leader like Chavez gets so much flak by the press and the elite. The opposition in Venezuela seems very well organized as it won the last referendum, in which Chavez accepted defeat. You know, typical of anti Chavez people, they can't stand democracy in Latin America. Uribe was elected in Colombia, it wasn't a perfect election, I am against a lot of his policies but you know what; it was the Colombians who decided. It wasn't perfect but it was good enough by most barometers (despite massive intimidation/killings of left wing candidates). In Venezuela, none of the opposition candidates were assasinated, they have just won an important referendum, and Chavez is somehow the worst, the tyrant. I mean, it is ridiculous. And your contempt for voters in Latin America is anti democratic and elitist. It is their decision, let them vote. Let them decide. The Monroe doctrine is dead, and Latin America is better off because of it. Stop criticizing democratic leaders and criticize non democratic leaders like the Saudi royals, China, North Korea, etc.
"respected democracy" on Latin American standards?
As far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as a "standard" on democracy.
Do not underestimate the Latin American governments nor the voters, from a legal and constitutional point of view the South American countries are as much as democratic as all OECD countries. We have a democratic structure. Of course, the social inequality caused by corruption and bad policy-making affects the outcome of the democratic principles, but isn't this the case in every country in the world? Is a question of legitimacy - are they really representing my needs? my wishes? Ask any Venezuelan - Chavez is not. I have to disagree with you, I do not believe he has a "respected democracy", not on "the 1st world - standard", not on "the Latin American standard", I refuse to adapt your chosen terms and concepts of democracy.
What made Chavez a president is very simple and is basic understanding on political and historical processes. People are frustrated, feel and notice the instability, and feel the current government is for some reason not working. People, "the poor Venezuelans" as you name, do not now any political theories on left, right, democracy socialism, Marxism.. these is all to abstract, for us/them is about : "who is telling me something different now? Ive heard everything.. nothing has worked, so who is going to surprise me? I am tired I need something different" So if Chavez would be right oriented, and capitalist oriented but would have managed to keep his radical public image (specially against the US) he (this hypothetical right-wing Chavez) would have won as well. And of course being a left, this strategy worked as well. Mr. Corrales explained Populism in a marvelous way, its about distancing your image from the traditional parties, being "anti-political" anti-elite, and not only distancing but attacking your opposition. The opposition becomes some sort of "enemy" and the cause of the crisis and situation of the poor. In my words is about aligning your image (or why not? maybe your ideals and principles) towards to the peoples voices.
I ended up with a kind of brainstorming.. I was just surprised by the view of different democracy standards. There is just one democracy..and if its Zimbabwe, Russia, or LA, then we/they have to meet the same characteristics, guidelines and principles, if they are not met, it is not a "respected" democracy.
This is a weak program. This guy really rakes Chavez. Why is someone that is elected so viled by some Latin americans. Of course Chavez is liked by the left. He replaces a corrupt political system. I find Chavez is sort of a reminder to the elite in Latin america who wish to cling to their power and wealth; "take care of the masses, or they will take care of you." If I were a poor Venezualan, I would vote for Chavez. And there are a lot of poor Venezuelans. So far Chavez has always respected democracy (by LAtin American standards) including the razor thin loss in the last referendum. So I don't get this program, it doesn't respect democracy, especially sinec eit does not appear to be the democracy that Mr. Corrales wants. (Especially his response to the last question comparing Chavez to Mussolini...)
Mr Corrales ... um, after listening to your discourse...
You espouse a country which has the largest income gap between rich and poor in all SA. A country with only one exportable commodity: copper. Then you laud a murderous Dictator whose family stole millions as some sort of 'great guy'? Is Uribe a 'great guy' too in your opinion?
Could you not find a good example in all SA history to laud?
This is what I garnered from your discourse:
1. A Dictator is a good thing as long as he goes along with my interests.
2. A Dictator is a bad thing if he does not go along with my interests.
3. The discontinuation of a Democracy is a good thing if it suits my interest.
4. The continuation of a Democracy is a bad thing if it does not suit my interests.
Insanity at its best.