Date of Award


Document Type



Politics and International Relations


"Morales is a populist demagogue and can't be taken seriously," a classmate wrote in a peer review to me, referring to a part of a paper I wrote referencing Evo Morales's opinion on neoliberal policies and inequality in Latin America. In using populist as a derogatory term my classmate was not holding a minority outlook on the political phenomenon; in fact, his attitude toward populism seems to match the general public's. According to Carlos de la Torre (2000), "In Latin America, populism is generally viewed in negative terms. For most it implies an abnormality, an anomaly, and a passing phenomenon that will eventually, and hopefully, go away." The general public-and many academics-look down on populism and consider it a nuisance, not a respectable and legitimate political expression.