Venezuela’s recent referendum was about a substantial concentration of executive powers in the office of the Venezuelan president. The question was whether it is a good idea to remove democratic safeguards in the Venezuelan constitution, embolden the president, and trust him to such an extent that term limits ought to be removed. It was not a vote about political doctrines of the traditional “right” (often mistaken for capitalism) in contrast to the “left” and populist-socialist measures.
The referendum was defeated by a very narrow margin. The votes in favor were split: those that favoured such changes were typically from rural, poor areas while the opposition was from the city dwellers that have a higher standard of living.
However, Brazil’s is the dominant model and benchmark of Latin American socialism, not Venezuela’s revolutionary brand of Bolivarian goals. Government structures like Brazil’s and Mexico’s federal systems contrast with other countries where executive power is more centralised. As such, the rise of President Lula Da Silva and his more traditional socialist politics is likely to set the tone in South America, while other neighbors always search for charismatic leaders and their doctrines of hurried socialism, of the Castro variety, practiced by Mr. Chavez or Mr. Morales.
The common factor, however, is rooted in the state of economic affairs and poor standards of social services. Thus, socialist tendencies of voters seek strong personalities and politicians run on populist political manifestos to pacify voters in commodity-based and agricultural societies.
The more important point is that all variants of Latin politics are subordinate to the democratic process and the ballot box.
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