Interview #28 – Responsiveness and Populism in Latin America

In this interview Simon Bornschier explains us why in Latin America people opt for populist outsiders in some countries but for moderate candidates in others. Opposing neoliberalism seems to give credibility to left-wing populist parties, while diluting their brand by supporting neoliberal measures seems to be (on the long term) a very bad strategic move.

Comparing Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, and Venezuela, it emerges that left-wing populism is not necessarily dangerous for horizontal accountability and liberal democracy. In fact, populism can sometimes give voice to voters and represent demands that were neglected. Moreover, while in certain cases voters choose a populist party because of its populism, sometimes they do it because of the party’s concrete policies.

This, and much more, in a dense and articulated interview with one of the major experts of populism in Latin America and Western Europe. Even more relevant after that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attacked by drones carrying explosives while he was giving a speech in Caracas. (To know more about the Venezuelan case, Maduro, Chavismo and populism, listen to prof. Kirk Hawkins.)

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Interview # 26 – Populism and the future of democracy

A new interview addressing many thorny issues of contemporary democracy. Left-wing populist movements across the globe, malfunctions of representative democracy, the dialectic between people and politicians, horizontal and vertical dimensions of populist mobilisation, the potential democratic renewal inherent in forms of direct democracy, the future of social democracy. This, and much more, in a fluvial chat with Giorgos Katsambekis. 

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Interview #8 with Kirk Hawkins. Caracas Burns: Post-Chavismo and Populism  

You the people are the giant that awoke, I your humble soldier will only do what you say. I am at your orders to continue clearing the way to the greater Fatherland. Because you are not going to reelect Chávez really, you are going to reelect yourselves; the people will reelect the people. Chávez is nothing but an instrument of the people.

Hugo Chávez

Kirk Hawkins

Kirk Hawkins

POP interviews prof. Kirk Hawkins. He is the coordinator of Team Populism, a cross-regional scholarly network that studies the causes of populism. He published Venezuela’s Chavismo and Populism in Comparative Perspective (2010, Cambridge University Press). He is currently editing a volume that presents Team Populism’s latest work. 

In this interview prof. Hawkins analyses the Venezuelan case from a ‘populist perspective’, answering questions about the links between Maduro and Chavez, their populist discourses, and the future of Venezuelan democracy. Continue reading