Week 5: Caudillos vs. the Nation State

I found several interesting things in the video this week.

One in particular is I always thought that ‘liberalism’ and the fight between liberals and conservatives during independence and the years after was mostly economic liberalism. By which all liberals were trying to free the market in order for the criollos to make profits rather than sending them to the crown. ON the other hand, it is interesting that Latin America has never been considered ‘liberal’. It is hard to imagine Latin America without having to think of a machista, very conservative and close society. It is slowly opening, but change in Latin America is very difficult because of these conservative ideas.

It is also interesting to think that many of the practices, such as caudillismo or clientelism have transcended over time. Although it is not done at the same level there are still political strategies in Latin America that are based on these ideas. It is also interesting in comparing clientelism to popularism. Although they are at different scales, corruption is present in both and they are aspects that are still present in plenty of Latin American countries. There it is important to have connections in order to ‘get ahead’ which leads to corruption and other forms of enrichment.

In answering the video’s questions, in my opinion, clientelism was able to flourish in Latin America because the institutions and the organization for this to happen were present. First, there were plenty of indigenous populations that had been subjugated to a similar system under the crown, but this time they were beginning to get paid for their work. Also, it was important for the indigenous and poor people to have things in the present, it became impossible to think about the future especially if they needed to think about the present and how to make it to the next day.


Question: how much of caudillaje/clientelism is still present in Latin America?

2 thoughts on “Week 5: Caudillos vs. the Nation State

  1. Lauren Hart

    Hey! Interesting point about whether or not clientelism is still present in Latin America. I definitely think it is, and that is partly why corruption is still such a huge problem. Maybe those ideals were at the foundation of building politics in Latin America. Many politicians have had that “strongman” quality and individual leaders seem to be valued more than the general bureaucracy of government.

  2. LiviadeOliveira

    I also agree clientelism is a big player in the current political scenario in Latin America. As Lauren pointed out, corruption scandals are still constantly being exposed, and in levels of government ranging from the local to the national in places like Brazil, for example – arguably demonstrating how the “favor for support” mentality is still very prevalent.


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