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    锘縤s fascism returning to europe? - nytimes.com
    BUENOS AIRES 鈥?Authoritarian populism, long associated with Latin American regimes, is generally considered a thing of the past in Europe. But this view is misleading. While countries like Argentina and Venezuela have slowly begun to move away from the Kirchners鈥?brand of Peronist politics and Hugo Ch谩vez鈥檚 cult of personality, a dangerous right-wing brand of populism is returning to Europe. Indeed, the rise of movements like Greece鈥檚 neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, and the violence and assassinations that have accompanied it, are far more worrying than the residual authoritarianism that pervades Latin American politics.

    Broadly speaking, populist movements, which tend to gain traction following the implementation of austerity measures, are an attempt to redress perceived crises of representation in government. The hallmark of Latin American populism has historically been the election by wide majorities of presidents with authoritarian tendencies, who expand social rights even as they curtail political freedoms. Euro-populism, on the other hand, generally targets immigrants and demands the disintegration of the European Union.

    Following the demise of European fascist parties after World War II, Argentina鈥檚 Juan and Evita Per贸n made populism a staple of Latin American governance throughout the mid-1940s and 1950s. The persistence of social inequality also opened the gates for paternalistic leaders like Brazil鈥檚 Get煤lio Vargas and Ecuador鈥榮 Jos茅 Velasco Ibarra. They extended mass participation in politics while at the same time placing major restrictions on the opposition.

    In Venezuela, Hugo Ch谩vez brought this tradition into the 21st century; N茅stor Kirchner took up the classic Peronist mantle in Argentina in 2003. For both, the goal was concentration of power in the hands of one leader, with minimal public consultation or genuine representation of voters鈥?wishes.

    In the wake of Mr. Ch谩vez鈥檚 death in March, Venezuela has witnessed the rise of a new cult of personality centered on the departed leader. His successor, President Nicol谩s Maduro, ritually invokes Mr. Ch谩vez鈥檚 name to legitimize his own populist policies, and has spoken of several 鈥渁pparitions鈥?of Mr. Ch谩vez鈥檚 soul in birds, shadows and other paranormal phenomena. Government propaganda frequently depicts Mr. Ch谩vez as a God-like figure.

    However, with inflation currently at 54 percent in Venezuela, magical thinking has not been enough to generate mass public support for a government characterized by serious economic mismanagement and currency controls. Mr. Maduro鈥檚 grip on power was tenuous from the beginning: He was elected in April on razor-thin margins following an unexpectedly tight race. Mr. Maduro鈥檚 so-called 鈥渆conomic war鈥?on Venezuelan business interests, which he decries as traitors to the nation, has resulted in looting, general instability, and heightened internal polarization. And recent poll results suggest that Venezuelans are starting to look for other options: Mr. Maduro鈥檚 party only narrowly defeated the main opposition coalition in mayoral elections this month, and lost in major cities.

    In Argentina, President Cristina Fern谩ndez de Kirchner became the face of Peronist populism following the death of her husband, former President N茅stor Kirchner, in 2010. While continuing Mr. Kirchner鈥檚 efforts to prosecute the crimes of the 1976-1983 military dictatorship, her administration moved to restrict press freedom, intensified the military鈥檚 role in government, abruptly backed away from longstanding grievances against Iran, and strained relations with neighbors like Uruguay. Public disapproval with her leadership was reflected in congressional elections this October, when Mrs. Kirchner鈥檚 administration was defeated in Argentina鈥檚 most important districts. This so-called punishment vote essentially voided her supporters鈥?desire to reform the Constitution to enable her indefinite re-election.


    john huyiu

    interesting article thanks for sharing with us the Sri Lanka Hotels.

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