Not much remains of the “pink tide” of leftist governments that swept across Latin America in the 2000s, riding the long commodities boom. After the boom came the bust, and with it widespread voter dissatisfaction. Where free elections have been held, most of the region has subsequently swung to the right.
There are, of course, some exceptions, most notoriously in Venezuela. President Nicolas Maduro, who came to office in 2013 as the handpicked successor of the leader who launched the wave, Hugo Chavez, continues to preside over one of the worst economic and humanitarian disasters in recent Latin American history. He’s still claiming to be some kind of revolutionary.
But another leftist leader who was swept into office by the “pink tide” is faring much better. Farther south, in Bolivia, President Evo Morales has survived the regional backlash. Morales is an ideological brother-in-arms to Maduro. There is a temptation to see the two men and their political trajectories as similar, and there are certainly points of comparison. But the differences are more revealing.