Welcoming the Revolving Door Syndrome

Welcoming the Revolving Door Syndrome

Headlines tell us that many heads of state in our hemisphere have faced  significant cabinet resignations to the point that analysts have dubbed those nations as revolving door syndrome countries — from the US, to Brazil, to Argentina, to Peru — as good news for the maturity of democracy. This was precisely the observation made by Alexis de Tocqueville on the strength of democracy in the  United States “  The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”  

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Welcoming the Revolving Door Syndrome

Beatrice E Rangel

Headlines tell us that many heads of state in our hemisphere have faced  significant cabinet resignations to the point that analysts have dubbed those nations as revolving door syndrome countries. This denomination aims at underlining the fact that mercurial heads of state seem to be facing revolt in their operative teams a development that had not happened before or at least with todays frequency and significance .

Take the US for instance. Over the last three years 10 members of cabinet have resigned or been removed while three National Security Advisors have resigned or been removed. Also Michael Flynn, Reince Priebus Anthony Scaramucci and Tom Price exhibit the shortest stay in their position in American history.

Turn around also affected the Macri Administration in Argentina, the Viscarra Administration in Peru and is currently shaking the Bolsonaro Administration in Brazil. Definitely, last week the Minister of Health and the much acclaimed Minister of Justice of Brazil left cabinet. The first over disagreements with the President who insists on conveying to Brazilians the idea that covid19 is yet another flu. Minister of Justice Sergio Moro’s resignation is by far the more serious as Mr Moro is revered in Brazil for his role in unveiling the massive corruption spiderweb bringing together government and the business community through Petrobras the state owned oil giant.

As head of the LAVA JATO investigation Moro prosecuted  top government officers and half the business community leadership. And Mr Moro not only resigned but detailed the reasons for leaving government which he described as the fateful decision of President Bolsonaro to fire the Federal Police Chief for personal gain. Mr Moros’ statement unleashed a prosecutor investigation on the facts he described as negatively impacting national security.

And while most pundits relay these news with concern  about the stability of the administrations that  are being upset by turn around, I believe these are good news. In the US because they reveal that the very American practice of speaking truth to power is  well and living in Washington D.C. where it should be. In Latin America because cabinet desertion tell us that democratic values and integrity are taking hold.

To be sure, Latin American political systems are by design corporativists as they were created by Phillip II of Spain with a view to extract rent from the newfound lands in America. Corporativist societies repel dissent and punish independent thinking. Consequently people are subservient to power and power takes over people. The myth of the caudillo thus has enjoyed good health since 1492 and has overcome all democratic experiments in the region. For societies led by a caudillo the penalties for those that express disagreement go from political hibernation to seclusion to economic obliteration.

Thus to see  people telling the presidents of Argentina, brazil and Peru that they are wrong and leave them in their mistaken path are excellent news because they signal the erosion of the caudillPublio myth and with it the beginning of the ascent of democratic values. This I clearly being perceived and supported  by civil society that has reached a point of maturity that goes beyond that of their leaders. Most dissidents in Argentina, Brazil and Peru are leading the polls because their independence from power is highly valued, as it represents democratic progress.

This was precisely the observation made by Alexis de Tocqueville on the strength of democracy in the  United States “  The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”

Published by laht.com on April 27, 2020

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