The dispute over Pedro Castillo’s removal as president in Peru is the latest messy transfer of power in Latin America and another instance when regional governments could not agree on a basic interpretation of events. More broadly, the region’s democracies face two related challenges: creeping authoritarianism and election denial.
Recent developments in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, the U.S. and Peru show that the guardrails of democracy can hold in the Americas. Institutions can restrain populist leaders who abuse their authority. Hyper-presidentialism, in which the executive can do whatever it pleases, is not guaranteed. Checks and balances can work.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s election as Brazilian president has been hailed as a turning point for protecting the Amazon from deforestation, and hence for the world’s struggle against climate change. But while Lula is being anointed as an environmental savior, he faces arduous work before his promises can be fulfilled.