Departures Podcast with Will Grant

From the first election of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 1998 to the death of Fidel Castro in Cuba in 2016, Latin America experienced a vast “pink tide” of left-leaning leaders often described as populist.

And while it would be a mistake to consider all these diverse personalities and governments under a single banner, it would also be a mistake to ignore some similar systemic undercurrents and driving factors behind this period of populism in Latin America, argues Will Grant, a BBC reporter and author of the new book “Populista: The Rise of Latin America’s 21st Century Strongman.”

Speaking in this interview with Robert Amsterdam, Grant explores how populism became the most important political movement in the Western Hemisphere in the 21st century, and then how that idealism came crashing down, leaving Latin America in the grips of some of the most authoritarian and dangerous leaders since the military dictatorships of the 1970s.