Los caudillos del rentismo

Las reelecciones presidenciales indefinidas que se promueven en Venezuela y en Bolivia demuestran que el caudillismo avanza en América Latina, ahora con la ambición de perpetuarse. Los éxitos mediáticos de Hugo Chávez y Evo Morales están dando nueva visibilidad a este fenómeno que, sin embargo, nunca se ha alejado del continente.

De hecho, varios presidentes lograron antes reformas constitucionales para prolongar su mandato -por ejemplo, Carlos Menem, heredero del caudillismo más persistente del continente- pero nunca ad eternum en la historia reciente.

Es necesario considerar dos aspectos del caudillismo: el primero es que se trata, sobre todo, una forma de representación política y que, como tal, puede estar dotada de muy diversos contenidos. El segundo es que, a pesar de consistir en la personalización de la política, es un fenómeno que depende menos de las características particulares del caudillo que de las condiciones sociales, políticas y económicas del país. En otras palabras, aunque el carisma de un caudillo no es ajeno a los atributos personales percibidos por la gente, es en esencia una creación social.

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