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Claudia Lopez celebrates her victory in Bogota's mayoral election. Claudia Lopez celebrates her victory in Bogota's mayoral election, Oct. 27, 2019 (AP photo by Ivan Valencia).

South America Is at a Turning Point, but the ‘Pink Tide’ Isn’t Coming Back

Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019

Recent elections in Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay have added to the sense that South America is at a turning point, as mass protests have erupted in Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia. Something is indeed happening in the region, but those who claim that this is the return of the “pink tide”—the period in the early 2000s when leftist governments were sweeping to power—are missing the point. What is unfolding is not a counter-reformation, with the left reemerging after it was toppled and replaced by the right. It is something more subtle and potentially more lasting.

South America is entering a post-ideological phase. In country after country over the past decade or more, voters have given a chance to the left and the right. Now they’re losing patience with both sides. The restlessness and discontent visible in the streets and at the ballot box are evidence of an electorate that has little interest in ideological orthodoxies, whether they come from neoliberals or socialists. People want governments that produce results and work for them, for everyone. The age of accepting corruption as an inescapable fact of life in the region is over. Strong economic growth and other indicators of progress are not enough, as the violent eruption of popular anger in Chile makes clear. ...

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