In Mexico, leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also tends to exploit the emotional bond with his supporters to incite them against his criticism and discredit the press.
Charismatic populist leaders like López Obrador and Bolsonaro, like, of course, Trump, are based on a politics of affection. They suppress reason from public debate, reducing it to pure emotional reaction, intolerance and radical loyalty. Behind this strategy lies a poorly concealed effort to induce polarization. Its aim is to discredit the facts and destroy the idea of truth in order to avoid a collective consensus on reality and to make power even more impenetrable. For example, Mr. López Obrador attacked the independence of autonomous institutions that protect transparency in Mexico, such as the announced abolition of the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data.
In the United States, election officials have not succumbed to threats from Trump, Congress has resisted the authoritarian attack, and democracy, at least for now, is seeing another day. Mr. Trump, described by Americans as one of the worst presidents in the country’s history, left the White House through the back door, marking the end of its disgusting reality TV show and, hopefully, the beginning of its fall into oblivion.
However, the shadow it casts over democracy in the United States is a warning signal for countries with weaker institutions and more accommodating congresses, like Brazil, Mexico and El Salvador, where the formula of populism nationalist maintains its appeal: a mixture of disgust with corruption in the country. political and commercial classes, economic and social stagnation and anti-immigrant sentiment.
With the collapse of democracy, disillusioned majorities continue to succumb to populist charm, electing leaders who invariably promise to end “rotten and corrupt leadership,” as Chavez has promised, or “to eradicate the corrupt regime. », As López had promised. Obrador said he was going, or, in Trump’s famous words, “draining the swamp.” And they’re not the only ones, of course. There is no shortage of future warlords in Latin America.
To promote democracy in the southern Rio Grande, Biden must first lead by example by restoring a democracy that works at home. Closing the opportunity gap is an important step in addressing growing social and racial gaps in the United States. Besides the crucial need to strengthen institutions, another important step in leading by example in a region torn by polarization would be the restoration of civic values, by promoting top-down social responsibility in public discourse.
That’s what Biden said he wants to do, which is good as the world is watching. He presented a proposal for immigration reform that would legalize millions of migrants, mostly Latin Americans, many of whom work in some of the most demanding and essential sectors of the economy. He also said he would allocate significant economic aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to prevent the most vulnerable from having to emigrate from their countries; granting temporary protection status to Venezuelans who fled the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro; and promote broad collaboration on climate change.
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