The Threat–Again–of Left-Wing Latin American Democracy

From Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting:  http://www.fair.org/blog/2012/08/01/the-threat-again-of-left-wing-latin-american-democracy/

by Peter Hart
08/01/2012

You can count on U.S. corporate media to express alarm about the threat posed by left-wing governments in Latin America. Sometimes it’s military hype (think Soviet MiGs in Nicaragua), but more typically it takes the form of a generalized concern about certain governments’ commitment to democratic ideals.

But how do you sound the alarm about left-wing threats to democracy when actual elected left-wing leaders are being removed in anti-democratic coups? That’s no easy feat, but some reporters are up to the challenge.

In the Washington Post on July 22 (under the headline “Latin America’s New Authoritarians”), reporter Juan Forero explains that today’s quasi-dictators are clever enough to rule in what are nominally democracies:

More than two decades after Latin America’s last right-wing dictatorships dissolved, a new kind of authoritarian leader is rising in several countries: democratically elected presidents who are ruling in increasingly undemocratic ways.

Unlike the iron-fisted juntas of a generation ago, these leaders do not assassinate opposition figures or declare martial law.

But in a handful of countries, charismatic populists are posing the most serious challenge to democratic institutions in Latin America since the 1980s, when rebel wars and dictators were the norm.

Of course, another way of looking at this history might lead one to conclude that the United States posed the greatest threat to democracy in Latin America in the 1980s, either by fueling proxy wars or backing repressive dictatorships that were our political allies.

Continue reading at:  http://www.fair.org/blog/2012/08/01/the-threat-again-of-left-wing-latin-american-democracy/

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