Latin America Needs a New Generation of Leaders

Latin America Needs a New Generation of Leaders
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speak to the press before a meeting at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, June 26, 2023 (AGIF photo by Mateus Bonomi via AP Images).

Last week, Evo Morales announced he would run for president in Bolivia’s 2025 general elections. Morales previously served as the country’s president from 2005 until 2019, when he was forced from power following a controversial attempt to obtain yet another term in office. As Thomas Graham explained last week, the development is the latest twist in a bitter rivalry between Morales and his protege, current President Luis Arce, that is having a significant impact on Bolivian domestic politics.

But Morales’ announcement also has significance beyond Bolivia’s borders, as it highlights a regional trend: Across the Americas, an older generation of leaders is refusing to cultivate the next generation of leadership, clinging to power instead of handing the top spots off to their successors. Morales will be 66 in 2025. Arce, if he runs for reelection, will be 63.Of the 19 countries in Latin America, 13 of them have leaders over the age of 60.

That’s not to suggest that older politicians can’t make good or even great presidents. Older political leaders can bring decades of experience and deep networks, both domestically and internationally, that help them pass legislation and negotiate tough international agreements. There shouldn’t be a cap or a bias against older politicians, and no individual leader should be dismissed from consideration due to age.

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