Following the democratic election of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela in 1998, Latin Americans voted a wave of left-leaning presidents into power, including Luiz Inácio da Silva in Brazil in 2003, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua in 2006, and Rafael Correa in Ecuador in 2007. By 2015, over 15 countries in the region had elected at least one president with a socialist platform, a movement that collectively became known as the “pink tide.”

These new leaders, steeped in personal histories of moral and ethical commitments to the underserved, promised to overcome the region’s long legacy of corruption and exploitation.

Two decades later, the pink tide has failed to deliver on that promise. As of 2018, Latin America remained the world’s most unequal and violent continent. High levels of poverty have persisted, while corruption has continued to mar the region. Today, the pink tide has receded and given way to a counterwave, led by ultra-conservative figures like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Mauricio Macri in Argentina. And Venezuela is on the brink of chaos as president Nicolás Maduro faces what appears to be the beginning of a possible armed insurrection.

How did a movement that began with such great promise fail so miserably?

The answer lies within the power paradox, which contends that “we rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst.”

Guided by Chávez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, the leaders of the pink tide ran on socialist platforms that promised to redistribute state resources as a means of reducing poverty, curbing massive inequality, and combating corruption and nepotism. Their rise appeared to signal a new beginning in Latin America, which was long known for corrupt, strong-armed leaders …read more

Source:: The Week – World


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