Hugo Chavez

The pendulum swings: Here's how Latin America has shifted politically over the years

The pendulum swings: Here's how Latin America has shifted politically over the years

The election of a former investment banker to the presidency of Peru last month marked a sharp turn from the left to the right in national politics there — and could presage a wider shift in Latin America.

To see how the political winds have blown across the region in recent decades, The Times looked at the presidents of the 10 most populous South and Central American countries since 1980, classified each as left, center or right and tallied the results.

The resulting graphics show a political pendulum that has swung back and forth in response to economic or social crises.

The left hit a low point in 1981, with zero presidents. The...

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