Can Latin America help us understand the present-day US? Despite the big differences between the regions, Global Security Programme Director Mikael Wigell from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs sees striking similarities between Latin American countries and the US.
In both regions, Wigell sees similar dividing lines that together create a polarized society, which in turn makes democratic governance difficult. That is fertile ground for populist leaders who feed on controversy.
“You have a ruler who rules as he or she sees fit without caring much about checks and balances or the rule of law, -- which is what we see a lot of in the US today under Trump, we see a very Latin American type of politics,” Wigell says.
“Trump is the ultimate Latin American ‘caudillo’, a strongman.”