Margarita López Maya & Carlos de la Torre: On the Populist Reason, Ecuador-Venezuela

Tue, Sep 17, 2019, 4:30 pm


“From Populism to Authoritarian Neopatrimonial Regime in Venezuela”
Margarita López Maya
(Historian, CENDES, Universidad Central de Venezuela)

Populism rose in Venezuela at the end of the 20th Century by the hand of the charismatic leader Hugo Chávez. Once in power he would steadily erode one of the democracies considered more stable and promising of Latin America. In the name of Socialism of the 21st Century he undertook a vast destruction of liberal democratic institutions such as the independence of public branches of government, pluralism and alternation in power. By the time he agonized in Habana, soil was fertile for the conversion of Venezuela´s regime under his appointed successor Nicolás Maduro in an example of Authoritarian Neopatrimonial rule. In this presentation I address the sociopolitical process of the twenty years of chavismos´s rule guided by the theoretical perspective of Ernesto Laclau and other authors related to his populist approach.

Margarita López Maya is a historian and PhD in Social Sciences of the Universidad Central de Venezuela. She is Emeritus Professor-Researcher of the Center for Development Studies (CENDES) of the Universidad Central and member of the Center of Political Studies of Universidad Católica Andrés Bello. Professor López Maya has been editor of Revista Venezolana de Economía y Ciencias Sociales and on the Board of the Latin American Social Sciences Council (CLACSO). She has been recognized as an important expert in Modern Venezuelan History, especially of the Chavista Era. Among her publications: Venezuela: Del Viernes Negro al Referendo Revocatorio [From Black Friday to the Presidential Recall] (Grupo Alfa, 2005), Editor of Ideas para construir el socialismo del siglo XXI [Ideas to Build Socialism of the 21st Century] (Grupo Alfa, 2010 y 2011), Democracia Participativa en Venezuela. Orígenes, leyes, percepciones y desafíos [Participative Democracy in Venezuela. Origins, laws, perceptions and challenges] (Centro Gumilla, 2011), El Estado Descomunal (El Nacional Editora, 2013), “The Political Crisis of Postchavism” (Social Justice, 2014) & El ocaso del chavismo. Venezuela 2005-2015 [The Sunset of Chavism. Venezuela 2005-2015] (Caracas, Grupo Alfa, 2016).


"The Perils of Populist Succession: Ecuador in Comparative Perspective"
Carlos de la Torre (University of Florida)

Differently from Venezuela where Maduro transformed a competitive authoritarian regime into an autocracy, in Ecuador, Lenín Moreno broke with his mentor, abandoned populism, and is aiming to lead to a process of democratic transition after ten years of Correa’s authoritarianism. Yet in order to get rid of Correa’s control of the institutions of accountability and the legal system, Moreno used a popular referendum to name a transitory council to replace the authorities named by Correa. Appealing to the will of the people this council did not always follow the rule of law, and hence there is the danger that Moreno’s institutional change will only last as long as Correa is banned from entering to the country.

Carlos de la Torre is the director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He has a PhD in Sociology from the New School for Social Research. He has been a fellow at the Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. His most recent books are The Routledge Handbook of Global Populism, (Routledge, 2019), Populisms: A Brief Immersion (New York: Tibidabo Editions, 2019), The Promise and Perils of Populism (The University Press of Kentucky, 2015), Latin American Populism of the Twenty First Century. Co-edited with Cynthia Arnson. (The Johns Hopkins University Press and the Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2013), and Populist Seduction in Latin America, (Ohio University Press, second edition 2010).

This lecture is free and open to the public.

216 Burr Hall