Why Antiestablishment Fervor Is Growing in Latin America

Will Today’s Corruption Scandals Fuel Tomorrow’s Demagogues?

People demonstrate prior to the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, April 2018. Ivan Alvarado / REUTERS

President Donald Trump’s aborted trip to Latin America this week will make him the first U.S. president to skip the triennial Summit of the Americas. Instead, Vice President Mike Pence will join heads of state from across the Western Hemisphere as they try to finalize a declaration on “democratic governance against corruption,” a timely focus in light of Latin America’s recent wave of graft scandals. In selecting the theme, the host government of Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski showed admirable conviction—if little prescience. Kuczynski himself will be absent, having resigned less than a month before the summit amid a corruption scandal of his own.

Trump too will now be missing in person—although perhaps not in spirit. Latin America is grappling with its own antiestablishment fever, fueled by revelations of politicians on the take. Kuczynski is the latest in a growing list of Latin American political

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