The ascent of Donald Trump has caused dismay for many leaders, inside and outside the US.
But for Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, a Trump presidency may be a positive development.
“When a type [like Trump] arrives, I think it would be very bad for the United States,” Correa told a group of journalists on Tuesday, according to Sin Embargo. “His discourse is so clumsy, so basic.”
The US’s loss, however, would be Latin America’s gain, according to Correa.
Trump’s words “would arouse a reaction from Latin America,” Correa said.
“Latin America is already fairly independent,” he continued, “and [Trump’s] message, I think even for the progressive leaning of Latin America, would be positive.”
“That would be a major positive of a Trump victory,” Correa concluded.
Correa is suggesting that a Trump presidency, considering the aggressively anti-immigration rhetoric and xenophobia toward Latin Americans that Trump has displayed so far, would galvanize many people in Latin America, in particular those with progressive or left-leaning politics.
The Ecuadorian president compared this potential effect to the boost left-wing governments and progressive movements got during the administration of US President George W. Bush, who, Correa said, alienated many in the region and the world with his “primitive” politics, according to TeleSur.
It’s not surprising that Correa thinks Latin America’s progressives and leftists could benefit from an external boost.
Recent defeats of leftist governments and their initiatives in Venezuela, Argentina, and Bolivia, as well as a region-wide economic slump, have led some to argue that the “Pink Tide” of leftist governance in the region is receding.
Recent backlash against the current Brazilian government has lent credence to this perception.
Trump’s incendiary comments have certainly aroused a response from people in Latin America, particularly in Mexico, whose citizens have borne the brunt of Trump’s bombast.
Many in Mexico have jeered the Republican candidate, mocking him online and in television and plays. Others worry Trump, regardless of whether he gets elected, has irrevocably shifted US policy toward Mexico to a darker place.
But, as Correa said, Latin America is independent, and voters there have shown their concern is for issues that affect them at home — and that they vote pragmatically. In 2013, 55% of people in the region said they didn’t identify as “left” or “right.”
Whether backlash against Trump will influence the political mood in Latin American remains to be seen. The rise of Trump may be getting global attention, but politics is still local.
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