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General Alberto Enríquez Gallo: Soldier, Populist, Leftist

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 October 2017

Abstract

A tradition in Latin America of reliance on strong leaders becomes problematic when political parties look outside their ranks for candidates who have popular appeal but do not embody their ideologies. This contradiction emerged in Ecuador in the mid-twentieth century when the Left looked to General Alberto Enríquez Gallo as its champion. His early trajectory in the military made him a most unlikely hero for the Left, but when he promulgated progressive labour legislation he gained its strong support. It was, however, a marriage of convenience, as leftists and populists inherently follow different political logics.

Spanish abstract

Una tradición en Latinoamérica basada en la dependencia en líderes fuertes se vuelve problemática cuando los partidos políticos buscan fuera de sus filas a candidatos con apoyo popular pero que no representan sus ideologías. Esta contradicción se dio en Ecuador a mediados del siglo XX cuando la izquierda apostó por el General Alberto Enríquez Gallo como su carta ganadora. Su trayectoria anterior en el ejército lo convirtió en héroe poco plausible para la izquierda, pero cuando promulgó una legislación laboral progresista ganó su apoyo. Fue, sin embargo, un matrimonio de conveniencia, ya que izquierdistas y populistas inherentemente siguen diferentes lógicas políticas.

Portuguese abstract

A tradição latinoamericana de fiabilidade em líderes fortes se torna problemática a partir do momento em que partidos decidem buscar candidatos fora de sua base que tenham apelo popular mas que não encorporam suas ideologias. Tal contradição surgiu no Equador na metade do século vinte quando a esquerda fez do General Alberto Enríquez Gallo seu campeão. Sua trajetória militar inicial o tornava um herói um tanto improvável para a esquerda, mas quando promulgou uma legislação trabalhista progressiva, ele ganhou grande apoio da mesma. Foi, no entanto, uma união de conveniência, na medida em que esquerdistas e populistas inerentemente seguem lógicas políticas distintas.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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