There are certain words that are usually heard in everyday life but when they are looked up in any dictionary , even in the Royal Spanish Academy itself , which governs the laws of the Castilian language; an exact definition is not found for the term , which ends up leaving ambiguities in them. One of these words is populism, which refers to a political concept .

What is populism?

When talking about populism , it refers to a political concept which always shows a great rejection of any political party which, within its bases and practices, maintains certain discourses where it is simply focused on the upper strata of society and ignores the lower classes . Populism always appeals for the decisions and needs of the people in order to build power based on it. It is mainly focused on the lower social classes that lack any economic and political privilege . They condemn and reject all the benefits that the upper classes obtain and when the populists take power they cede all the benefits that these classes had to the lower classes , which is why these leaders are called “saviors of the poor and humble.”

  • History and origin of populism
  • Characteristics
  • Causes
  • Consequences
  • Populism by country
  • Importance of populism
  • Representatives
  • Examples

History and origin of populism

The genesis of populism occurs during the last republic of Rome in which new leaders had emerged who were called ” popular “, they had had great support since they were totally against the aristocracy , so they sought to suppress it and establish assemblies where the people could speak and openly say their future.


After the total fall of the Roman Empire , these leaders proliferated to other regions maintaining the same political ideology , always managing to impact societies where the people had neither voice nor vote in the decision-making that determined the future of their nations. They usually end up with the candidacies of politicians who targeted the capitalists.


Among its most outstanding features are:

  • Their leaders are always quite charismatic .
  • They often become the hope of the poor .
  • They are highly criticized by analysts and political scientists .
  • In their speeches they often use the words “people”, “country”, “workers”, “people” a lot .
  • Once populists are installed in power, a social seed is sown in which the workers want to have more rights than the capitalists.


Among the causes that bring populists to the fore are:

  • I reject politicians who seek to favor only one sector of society.
  • Distrust in government entities due to lack of attention to those most in need.
  • Dialogues, debates and speeches focused only on the middle and upper classes .
  • Laws and reforms that only support the owners of private companies and not their workers.
  • Total shedding of the less favored sectors .


The populist despite being a halo of hope for those people who have felt footsteps by a system capitalist , just resulting in most cases in governments that have a certain tendency to dictatorships , so it is not favoring the whole to the nations that elect them as rulers.

Populism by country

Populism in Latin America has emerged in each country with specific characteristics:

  • In Argentina : Almost all democratic governments that have taken power (the exception is Fernando Rúa) have been described by political experts as populist .
  • In Bolivia : The only government that has been considered truly populist is that of Evo Morales , who has been in power since 2006.
  • In Brazil: It has a political trajectory with different types of government , democratic, communist, socialist among others. In the case of populism, only 3 presidents have had this political practice.
  • In Chile : In the case of Chile, it has had populist governments in both a positive and a negative sense, adding in total a large number of governments that maintain these practices.
  • In Colombia: There have only been two populist governments , that of Álvaro Uribe and that of Gustavo Rojas Pinilla.
  • In Ecuador: As in the case of Chile, Ecuador has also existed a government with a positive as well as a negative sense , and in the same way that Argentina almost all its governments have been populist .
  • In Peru: The Fuerza Popular party was created, led by Keiko Fujimo ri, who has been the only populist president of this nation.

Importance of populism

Like all systems and political practices , they have their pros and cons , logically populism also has them, and although for the majority of specialists in a system that is not completely balanced it supposes a help for the disadvantaged and a great reduction of benefits for the private sectors .


Among its most prominent representatives are:

  • Hipólito Yrigoyen.
  • Marcelo T. de Alvear.
  • Juan Domingo Perón.
  • Getúlio Vargas.
  • LuizInácio Lula da Silva.
  • Dilma Rousseff.
  • Evo Morales.
  • Arturo Alessandri.
  • Carlos Ibáñez del Campo.
  • Sebastián Piñera.
  • Michelle Bachelet.
  • Gustavo Rojas Pinilla.
  • Álvaro Uribe Vélez.
  • Rafael Correa.
  • José María Velasco Ibarra.
  • Abdullah Bucaram.
  • Lucio Gutiérrez.
  • Carlos Andrés Pérez.
  • Hugo Chavez.
  • Keiko Fujimori.
  • Nicolas Maduro.


In Venezuela , in its history policy until the year 1974 he had not taken power any Populists , however, Carlos Andres Perez during its government maintains these practices and it is not until the year 1999  coming to the fore another politician with these same practices .

Hugo Chávez, through a coup d’état, takes the presidency and establishes a government with a great populist sense that to this day in that country continues to maintain such practices, since among the last speeches he asked “ In case I die, elect Nicolas Maduro as president ”. And after the elections, Nicolas Maduro Moros takes office and maintains the same philosophies of the former late president .

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