When Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States, many in Latin America started watching U.S. politics with a sharper interest. The tone, the content, the flamboyance and the egomania that Trump put on display during the campaign had a familiar ring. That’s because Latin Americans had seen similar personalities take the stage before—and seen them win.
In the United States, populist politicians are new to most voters. In Latin America, they’re old hat.
After Trump’s surprising upset in the Nov. 8 election, many Venezuelans, in particular, cast knowing glances at the U.S. electorate. Trump’s victory, some of them told me, brought back memories of the rise of the late Hugo Chavez, a master in the art of populist politics.