In the last few years, democratic recession has been particularly troubling in the Andes as populist parties/leaders have emerged in response to the public’s frustration and discontent with weak democratic institutions and performance and increasing dissatisfaction with corrupt and incompetent government. In Peru, for example, there have been five presidents in the last 3 years with the last six presidents accused of corruption. Populism became the answer to the failings of the previous democratic governments, as in Bolivia and Venezuela. As with all populist movements and leaders, the rise to power through free and fair elections but once in power politicize and dismantle democratic institutions and process that impeded the populist from consolidating authoritarian rule on behalf “of the will of the people.” Answer the following questions: (1) What are the particular challenges of democratic governance and how do they open opportunities for populist “political entrepreneurs”; (2) Colombia’s political and economic development is seen to be different than the rest of the Andes – take, for example the long-standing conflict/violence in Colombia. What are the similarities/differences between Colombia and the rest of the Andes? (3) Finally, what explains authoritarian survival in Venezuela? 250-500 word count
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