General elections in Latin America

A major focus of the University Library’s collection development policy for material in Spanish and Portuguese is the history of Central and South America, as explained on the Latin American & Iberian Collection webpages on the UL website. Coverage of specific periods in history varies from country to country. Contemporary history and in particular politics and government, however, are areas where our collections are particularly strong.

A quick browse will bring up books such as Politics of Latin America: the power game (670:8.c.201.152), State building in Latin America (670:8.c.201.173), Elecciones y política en América Latina (670:8.c.200.507). In order to have an idea of the kind of material that we collect, however, I thought it would be interesting to highlight books about Latin American countries that recently held or will be holding general elections in the next few months: Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela, and Argentina. This idea originated when I tried to gather information about the turbulent events that occurred in Guatemala during the last few months: on September 6, general elections took place, following the resignation and arrest of the former president Otto Pérez Molina (Partido Patriota), accused of corruption. No candidate, however, received more than 50% of the vote; a run-off occurred last Sunday 25 October and Jimmy Morales, a comic actor and right-wing politician, won the presidency.


La tercera ola : Guatemala, más allá de los Acuerdos de Paz: hipótesis de conflicto asimétrico (C204.d.1915) and Diez años: una década de gobierno kirchnerista (C210.c.1905)

Territorio, actores armados y formación del Estado (C210.c.1490) is a thorough study of the process leading to the formation of the State of Guatemala from its independence (1821) to the present day; Guatemala, informe analítico del proceso electoral 2007 (2010.11.1875) analyses the country’s 2007 general elections; Guatemala experienced a very long civil war that lasted from 1960 to 1996. La tercera ola : Guatemala, más allá de los Acuerdos de Paz: hipótesis de conflicto asimétrico (C204.d.1915) looks at the social and political situation of the country since the peace agreement of 1997.

Argentina’s general elections also took place last Sunday and a run-off will be held on 22 November. The two main candidates are Daniel Scioli, endorsed by the current president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and Mauricio Macri. Cristina Kirchner is the widow of the country’s former leader, Néstor Kirchner, of the Justicialist party. The UL’s holdings on this presidential couple are extensive: Diez años: una década de gobierno kirchnerista (C210.c.1905) looks at their years in power. A list of monographs on Néstor is available here; for works on Cristina click here. El pibe : negocios, intrigas y secretos de Mauricio Macri, el hombre que quiere ser president (C207.c.2247) is a biography of Mauricio Macri, current mayor of Buenos Aires and candidate for the presidency with the party Compromiso para el Cambio.


De verde a Maduro: el successor de Hugo Chávez (C210.c.1656) and Diálogos con el Presidente Nicolás Maduro: ocho entrevistas (C210.c.1904)

Nicolás Maduro, already acting president after the death of Hugo Chávez in March 2013, was elected president of Venezuela the following April. New presidential elections will take place in 2019, but parliamentary elections will be held on December 6 this year. For a general description of the current situation in Venezuela, a useful introduction is Democracy, revolution and geopolitics in Latin America: Venezuela and the international politics of discontent (670:8.c.201.141) edited by Luis Fernando Angosto-Ferrández.

The UL holds about 120 titles on Hugo Chávez (click here to see the list); a volume worth mentioning is perhaps Hugo Chávez: una década en el poder (674:4.c.201.8). The UL also holds a book of interviews with Maduro, Diálogos con el Presidente Nicolás Maduro: ocho entrevistas (C210.c.1904) and a biography of the current president, De verde a Maduro: el successor de Hugo Chávez (C210.c.1656).

Peru’s elections are taking place in April 2016. Ollanta Humala, the current president, is no longer eligible, clearing the path for two favoured candidates: Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori (see the UL’s bibliography on him here) and Alejandro Toledo, another ex-president of the country and leader of the party Perú Posible; more on him can be found in Ronald Bruce St. John’s monograph Toledo’s Peru (675:73.c.201.4).


La gran continuidad (2014.8.1839) and Ollanta Humala: de Locumba a candidato a la presidencia en Perú (2012.8.3527)

Two background studies on Peru’s history are Seminario: el Perú de los últimos 50 años (C210.c.1849) and El sistema electoral durante la República Aristocrática (1895-1919) (2014.8.5247) about the history of the Peruvian electoral system. Carlos Parodi Trece shifts to the present in his analysis of the country’s political, social and economic conditions in Perú 1995-2012: cambios y continuidades (675:73.c.201.37). La gran continuidad (2014.8.1839) and Ollanta Humala: de Locumba a candidato a la presidencia en Perú (2012.8.3527), are dedicated to the current president.

The UL’s collections will continue to grow as we follow the changing political landscape of Latin America.

Federica Signoriello

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