Current Events

Receding Tide?

Receding Tide?

Date: Fri. 9 Jan, 2015 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Receding Tide? The 'Pink Tide' and Its Legacy


After more than a decade and a half of electoral success, the left in Latin America is facing a difficult political context of managing slowing economic growth, high inflation, persistent corruption, and high crime rates. This places the electoral left in Latin America in a challenging position as these issues often benefit centre­right parties. Opinion polls show that the upcoming presidential elections in Brazil and Uruguay will likely go to the second­ round and the presidential election in Bolivia will see the margin of victory for President Evo Morales being narrower than in previous elections. In addition, the turbulence of a post­-Chavez Venezuela highlights the tensions that the most radical version of left politics in Latin America is currently facing. Should left­wing parties lose these elections, it will represent the first electoral defeat of a 'pink tide' government since 1998. In this time of flux, this academic workshop is interested in discussing the potential legacies that the 'pink tide' has had for Latin American politics. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
● Has the left been able to create the institutional and policy legacy that is immune to partisan shifts, or do elections still 'matter' in Latin America?
● Have the constitutional reforms in some countries, e.g., Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, gained sufficient legitimacy in society and among political forces to constitute a new legal base of these countries democracy?
● What impact has the rise of the middle class, low unemployment and the decline in income inequality in the region had on the electoral strategies of left?
● What legacy have left parties imparted in terms of integrating new actors civil society, e.g., the unemployed, indigenous groups, etc., into the state and governing coalition?
● What has been the impact of the rise of pentecostal christianity in certain countries on the electoral and partisan structure of these countries democracy?
● What does the phrase 'the left' mean in contemporary Latin America?
● What legacy has left rule had in terms of forwarding environmental concerns? Is the electoral left still primarily concerned with a modernist development model, or are there indications of a post­development model?
● How have leftist governments responded to the rise in criminality, insecurity, and violence in the larger region and what lessons do they offer to other Latin American states?

Agenda for the Day

10:10 AM - Welcoming Remarks
• Prof. Valentina Napolitano, LAS Director
• Nicolás Saldías, Organizing Committee

10:15 AM - Panel One
Moderator: Professor Ana Maria Bejarano

Manuel Larrabure, PhD Candidate (York University):
• The 'Pink Tide' in Brazil and Chile: Mass Movements, Democracy and Political Bargains
Professor Roberta Rice (University of Toronto at Scarborough):
• How to Decolonize Democracy: Indigenous Governance Innovation in Bolivia.
Jennifer Fender, PhD Candidate (University of Toronto):
• The Moderate Left in an Egalitarian Context: Challenges for the Meaning of the Left in Present Day Uruguay.
Arturo Ezquerro-Cañete, PhD Candidate (Saint Mary's University):
• The Rise of Fall of Fernando Lugo

Q & A Session

12:00 - 1:00 PM – Lunch Break

1:10 PM - Panel Two
Professor Judith Teichman

Professor Hepzibah Martínez (University of New Brunswick):
• Neoliberal Finance and the Left in Latin America: Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies of Brazil and Venezuela
Thomas LeBel-Chiasson, PhD Candidate (York University):
• Class Perspective on a Wave of the Pink Tide
Joaquin Bardallo Bandera, PhD Student (University 
of Toronto):
• Ecuador's 2008 Constitution and its Limitations
Kevin Edmonds, PhD Candidate (University of 
• Subsidizing Stability: Venezuela in the Eastern Caribbean

Q & A Session

2:50 – 3:00 PM – Coffee Break

3:00 PM – Keynote Address: The Democratic Left in the Future of Latin America
Speaker: Professor Richard Sandbrook

Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Toronto who recently "retired" after 41 years of service. Still active as a teacher and writer, he has focused his research since 2000 on three related topics: the experience of the democratic left in the Global South, the relevance of social-democratic thinking to the reshaping of the neoliberal global order and the utility of a framework based on Karl Polanyi's "double movement" for understanding counter-hegemonic struggles.


Event Registration

Registration Start: Tue. 25 Nov, 2014
Registration End: Fri. 9 Jan, 2015