The New York Times profiles former Sandinista dictator Daniel Ortega’s end around term limits in Nicaragua.  A persistent conflict in democracies is the extent to which institutions bow down to popular will.  Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and his acolytes (Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Ortega and former Honduran president Zelaya) have complained with some justification that Latin America’s institutions have historically ignored the economic underclass and indigenous minorities.  However, their solution essentially replaces military caudillos with elected populist ones.  The end results are just as bad and like Chavez the populist demagogues start justifying their stay in power because they are some how irreplaceable.  The elected populist demagogue is not unknown in Latin American history as the disastrous career of Argentina’s Juan Peron can attest.

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