“Another setback for Latin America’s hard left, and a new political cycle”
Three terms doesn’t seem to be enough for Evo Morales. The residing president of Bolivia called for a referendum on February 21st with the goal of changing the current constitution to one which would permit him to run for a fourth term in 2020. A considerably narrow vote, those who said “No” to a fourth term took the victory with 51.3%. In some senses Morales is a highly leftist figure: his open backing of Venezuela’s “Bolivarian revolution” under Hugo Chávez and his unmistakably anti-American sentiments, for instance. Nevertheless, he is the most financially responsible amongst other leftist South American leaders, the strongest politically, and the most popular overall. With the rise of accusations regarding corruption during this third term, though, support dissipated. Leftist parties all around the region have similarly suffered blows recently. Rafael Correa of Ecuador will not run again next year, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil may not make it to the end of her term in 2018, and Michelle Bachelet of Chile is struggling in the public’s eyes. What’s behind the left’s fall from grace, then? There are three primary elements: the end of the commodity boom and subsequent failure of leaders to adjust their spending because of it, corruption, and finally voters’ desire for some new faces and ideas in leadership after so many years of left-wing dominance. The path to growth, especially in consideration of corruption, will require various spheres of a country’s society to collectively put more stress on effective production. Somehow there needs to be a balance between the focus on alleviating poverty and inequality, the heart of the leftist movement, with some of the practically informed right-wing ideologies of past decades.