Although Donald Trump’s campaign style is new to the American political landscape, such approaches to politics are much more familiar to those in Latin America (Wall Street Journal). Media outlets in Latin America have been trying to explain the rise of Donald Trump in the United States to their local audiences by drawing comparisons between Trump’s persona and the personas of the region’s own ‘machismo’ leaders (Wall Street Journal). Caudillo is a Latin American term that describes authoritarian populist leaders such as Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Juan Peron of Argentina (Politico 1). Venezuelan journalist Roberto Giusti of El-Universal compares the communication styles of these Latin American caudillos and Donald Trump through their “ability to manage emotions of a large audience and, using a mixture of half-truths, pin the blame for people’s ills on enemies, real or imagined” (Wall Street Journal).
Both Chávez and Peron established an “us” vs. “them” mentality within their supporters, which invites comparisons with the rhetoric in the race for the U.S. presidency (Politico 2). For Trump, “they” include immigrants and foreigners whom he claims steal jobs from Americans and threaten U.S. security. For Chávez, “they” were the U.S. and its imperialistic tactics, and for Peron, “they” were the elites of Argentina (Wall Street Journal).
Tags: Latin America, South America, United States, Kipersztok, politics