By Grant, Will
The swing to the Left in Latin America, known as the 'Pink Tide', was the most important political movement in the Western Hemisphere in the 21st Century. It involved some of the biggest, colourful and most popular characters in Latin America for decades, leaders who would leave ...an indelible mark on their nations and who were adored and reviled in equal measure. Parties became secondary to individualism and populism reigned from Venezuela to Brazil, from Central America to the Caribbean, financed by a spike in commodity prices and the oil-backed largesse of Venezuela's charismatic socialist president, Hugo Chavez. Yet within a decade and a half, it was all over. Brazil's 'Lula' da Silva has a prison sentence hanging over him; Evo Morales of Bolivia fled into exile; Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela has become a reviled ditator. Today, this wave of populism has left the Americas in the hands of some of the most authoritarian, militarized and dangerous leaders since the military dictatorships of the 1970s. The grotesque Jair Bolsonaro presides over the incineration of the planet's greatest rainforest. Populista explores the phenomenon of the caudillo figure in Latin American politics and the rise of populism through the modern histories of Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba.Read more
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Will Grant is one of the UK's leading broadcast journalists on Latin American affairs. He has been a BBC correspondent in Latin America since 2007 with successive deployments to Venezuela, Mexico and Cuba. Across his career, he has been responsible for covering the region from Patagonia to the Rio Grande and has travelled to every part of the continent in that time. He is currently based in Havana and Mexico City.
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