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Populism in the Caribbean; Introduction

Populism is currently a global phenomenon. It is widely studied and debated, but little has been published on the issue in the Caribbean. The purpose of this article is to report ananalysis of the topic in the Caribbean context.

The world has changed. Society functions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Time and space have become irrelevant .Institutions have been eroded. Individuals need a guide. And populists are offering an explanation for all their problems. All political parties and politicians are forced to adopt a somewhat populist style (Crick, 2005).Populism presents a paradox. On the one hand, it is highly democratic taking into account the views of the people, but on the other hand it is a threat to democracy because it is intolerant to people or groups who think differently. Frissen (2009) refers to this as dictatorship by the people. This is the darkside of populism. The result is a split in society into two groups: the populists and institutionalists. The institutionalists are those who defendexisting institutions.  These two groups fight each other on every front. Some attribute the rise of crime to this fight.

One of the reasons why there has not been much published on the subject in the Caribbean is because populism in this setting is often mistaken for patronage and nepotism. Although these two factors add a specific dimension to populism in the Caribbean, they do not define populism.

This blog reports a descriptive case study of populism in Curaçao. After the literature review, Curaçao and populism on the island are described and conclusions are drawn. The objective is, to provoke the continuation of a dialogue on populism in the Caribbean.

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