Populism set to spread through the continent
Although it is reasonable to believe that a Donald Trump presidency in the United States would adversely affect White House policies toward Latin America, the most damaging effect of a Republican victory would be on the state of democracy on the continent. If the strongest democracy in the Americas can elect a populist who builds his support by blaming others and whose claims are not based on facts, the rest of the continent will see an inevitable rise of populist candidates who make impossible promises and who build support on the tensions generated by the persistent levels of inequality.
The reasons behind the rise of Trump in the US are well-established. The growing discontent with the elites and the growing sense of being left out of the benefits of globalization have served as a breeding-ground for the protest vote which made Trump the Republican presidential nominee. Trump’s promises have generated uncertainty over what his real policies would be if elected. Since building a wall on the southern border with Mexico is impracticable (and making Mexico pay for it is highly unlikely), it is safe to assume that Trump is making other than any firm commitment. Thus it would be unwise to take his trade protectionism and nativism too literally. A Trump presidency would inevitably have negative consequences for US-Latin American relations, but given his populist rhetoric aimed at building support among a discontented citizenry, it is difficult to predict if the consequences would be just bad or horrible.
To read more, please visit Buenos Aires Herald.