Why a generation of Latin American leaders failed to deliver on their promise of progress

The paradox at the heart of Latin America's failed "pink tide"

Nicolas Maduro.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Strawberry Blossom/iStock, FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images, Aerial3/iStock)

Following the democratic election of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela in 1998, Latin Americans voted a wave of left-leaning presidents into power, including Luiz Inácio da Silva in Brazil in 2003, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua in 2006, and Rafael Correa in Ecuador in 2007. By 2015, over 15 countries in the region had elected at least one president with a socialist platform, a movement that collectively became known as the “pink tide.”

These new leaders, steeped in personal histories of moral and ethical commitments to the underserved, promised to overcome the region’s long legacy of corruption and exploitation.

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