The rise of the far right, a reflection of heightened tensions in Latin America

To analyse. “We will have to choose between democracy and communism! ” It is with these words that José Antonio Kast, admirer of dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), who won the first round of the Chilean presidential election on November 21, called on voters to prefer him, during the second round. , on December 19, to the left-wing candidate, Gabriel Boric, leader of the student movement in 2011. Mr. Kast obtained 27.9% of the vote, against 25.7% for Mr. Boric.

The arrival at the top of the far right in Chile is out of tune, but is not an isolated case. After the victory of Donald Trump in the United States in 2016 and of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil in 2018, other personalities and ultraconservative movements have emerged electorally or acquired new notoriety in recent months in Latin America.

This is the case of Javier Milei in Argentina. This “anarcho-capitalist”, anti-abortion and climate-skeptic economist won 17% of the votes in the legislative elections of November 14, obtaining two seats in the chamber of deputies of the city of Buenos Aires.

Peru is also facing the rise of far-right movements. Myriads of very aggressive collectives using neo-fascist symbols occupied the streets for weeks after the election, on June 6, of Pedro Castillo (left). Viscerally “Anti-communists”, these small groups find that Keiko Fujimori, the right-wing candidate who came in second position, is “Too soft” and he prefer Rafael Lopez Aliaga, member of Opus Dei, which reached third place (11%).

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Evangelicals or Catholics, ultraliberals or neoconservatives, the Latin American far-right movements, very involved in the production of “fake news” on social networks, like Jair Bolsonaro, are varied. What unites them: not only the hatred of communism and “Castro-Chavism”, but also that of “gender ideology”. They oppose legal abortion, marriage for all, sex education and LGBTI rights in a continent marked by widespread feminist mobilizations.

The fear of the “Venezuelan example”

“They all appeal to the fear inspired by the Venezuelan example, explains Gaspard Estrada, executive director of the Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean at Sciences Po. And stoke fears related to immigration, which is a reality in countries like Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile. ” Almost 6 million Venezuelans have fled poverty in recent years, mainly to these countries. The rise of the far right in Chile also reflects a reaction to the episodes of violence that punctuated social movements against inequalities in 2019 and the movement of indigenous Mapuche in the South.

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The rise of the far right, a reflection of heightened tensions in Latin America

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