Latin Americans

Latin American Political Landscapes

Latin Americans, for the most part, support democracy as their preferred form of governance. These countries have taken various political paths, including authoritarian and military governments, socialists, single-party and multi-party systems, and highly centralized and decentralized governments. Religion is a fascinating aspect in most Latin American political landscapes, with the distinction being the amount to which religious leaders should influence politics. Some states choose a government that does not enforce religious ideas, ideals, or behaviors. The objective of this study is to compare the politics of Brazil and Argentina by looking at their political histories, current domestic political decisions, and foreign ties.  Brazil was viewed as the jewel in the Portuguese Crown that led to the high immigration rates of the Portuguese in the Brazilian urban centers in the 15th-18th centuries leading to high levels of Urbanization in the Gold Rush era. Brazil would then experience a tied and more balanced society with all levels from wealthy aristocrats, artisans, merchants, poor whites, natives and African slaves. Argentina was a relative backwater compared to other states like Mexico and Havana in the then Spanish Empire. The low rates of production made the Argentine society less dependent on slavery and low levels of urbanization. This aspect reflects on the current demographic composition of the two states with Brazil being home to mixed races and Argentina largely homogeneous.<\/p>


Argentina and Brazil share similar political histories as the rests of the Latin American states. The two states were part of the colonist of the European expansionist in the 15th\/16th century. The current Brazil was a territory of the Portuguese while Spanish colonized the current Argentina. Portugal and Spain were in conflict over the boundaries for over 300 years, and the struggles have since been transferring to the two nations after they gained the independence. Brazil got its self-rule as monarchical rebellion, with struggles and war happen but with least pressures. Brazil gained its independence from the Portuguese in the year 1822 while Argentina got their self-rule from the Spain in 1816. The struggle for self-rule was different between Argentina and Brazil. Argentina and other Latin American states under the colonies of Spain got their independence through struggles and a lot of bloodsheds while Brazil under the Portuguese colonies got their independence peacefully without bloodshed.

Governing Structures

Argentina and Brazil had a differing power struggle with Argentina having its first task of uniting the divided nation after taking over from the Spanish. Argentina being a Spanish colony remained a divided state after independence since the Spanish rule was set in different units of governments. Brazil, on the other hand, remained a single state after gaining its independence since the Portuguese embraced a centralized system of governance.
In the late 1800’s, Brazil was in its golden age after the defeat of the Farrapos revolts in 1845 under the control of Pedro II the nation opened a long stable era in its political climates. By the year 1847, Brazilians had already established a proper parliamentary system with few interventions from the moderating powers. The local Caudillos had restrictions in the sway over governments with their numbers dominating the national assembly. The Brazilian system did not have special reserves for local strongmen in the senate. At this era, the voting rights were expanded. Labor unions started in 1888 and the republican movements sprung later in 1870. In the late 1880s, the republican local Caudillos disagreed over the tariffs and the Imperial abolitionist drive and established a positive military coup.
Argentina in the same era slowly resolved their militarization. The Argentine confederation got into conflict with the State of Buenos in the early 1850’s. The Argentine federals at this time looked stronger until the time Urquiza and Mitre reached power. The power agreement would lead to the defeat of the Confederation and Mitre went ahead to carry on a fight for the reign of Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires was eventually defeated in 1880, and the region made into a federal part of Argentina. The National Autonomist Party under Julio Argentino Roca controlled the following years and the period referred to as the Conservative Republic extended until 1916. The dominant generation among the Argentinian political elites was mainly positivist. The elites challenged the catholic intervention in state affairs and mainly employed electoral fraud to remain in power.
Brazil and Argentina share a political system dominance where the political elites mainly controlled the argentine system while the Brazilian political landscape was mainly controlled by the Coffee-and-Milk oligarchy. Both systems in Argentina and Brazil under both the oligarchies adopted the social whitening policies that drive up immigration and delayed industrial development to help maintain the powers of the rural Caudillos.

Current Domestic Political Choices

Brazil is at present the sixth biggest economy in the world, a home of talents with the most famous being a powerhouse for football. In addition, Brazil enjoys superiority in the aerospace industry. However, the country is still full of with widespread social exclusion, citizen insecurity, poverty and high levels of crime. The lag behind in terms of citizen welfare amid the great economic potential links to its poor contemporary politics. Brazil is ruled under the federal presidential system where the president is the head of state and government. The political landscape is multi-faced with the multi-party system. The administration consists of the federal government, the 26 states, a federal district, and municipalities.
Argentina contemporary politics has many similar aspects to the Brazilian system except for a few differences. Argentina is below Brazil in the world economic index, but Argentines are also powerhouses for talents with the two countries being great rivals in the world of football. Though Argentines register low, GDP compared to Brazil, the levels of social exclusion, poverty, unemployment, and insecurity are low. The political system in Argentina grounded on the standards of representative democracy with a dominant federal system. Like the Brazilian system, the argentine president is the head of state and the head of government.
The Brazilian federal government is under the control of the central government that operates under three units that are the executive, judicial and legislative. The president has the executive powers under the guidance of the cabinet; national congress exercises the legislative powers and judicial power exercised by the judiciary. National congress has the powers to impeach a sitting president as the 2016 case of President Dilma Rousseff if they deem reasonable grounds for declaring the president unfit for office. The Brazilian federal district and all the 26 states are autonomous in their governance. The municipalities also enjoy self-rule. The politics and elections are mainly contests at two levels, the national and state politics.
The government in Argentina also operates in three units that are the executive, the legislative and the judiciary. The president is bestowed the executive powers and works closely with his/her cabinet members. The legislative arm comprises the Deputies and the Senate. The Deputies are constituted through proportional representation that comes up with 257 seats. The Senate comprises 72 elected members who occupy the position for six years. The argentine congress equally enjoys the power to impeach a sitting president. The judicial system in Argentina enjoys more independence compared to the one in Brazil. Other arms of government arguably influence the Brazilian system.

International Affiliations

Since late 1990’s Brazil has been on the rise on the global economic front assuming a more prominent voice and position on the global trade and global matters. Brazil is among the states that enjoyed a faster recovery after the financial crisis of 2008. Brazil has more than doubled its strengths in industrial and agricultural exports and has opened its markets for most foreign players to tap its cheap and readily available workforce. With the rise in economic muscles, Brazil has since created many international links with big economies like the United States, European Union, and China. The growth of Brazil’s economy was boosted by having the opportunity to host two big sporting events in less than five years having hosted the world cup in 2014 and the 2016 Olympics.
Brazil is open to trading and international associations being a member of several trade blocks; it trades with Kosovo and Taiwan who are not members of the UN. The United States under the administration of Presidents Bush and Obama increased the trading ties with Brazil considering it as a key player in stabilizing US force in Latin America. The main partners by state include Argentina, Angola, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Barbados, Bhutan, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Finland, France, Japan, India, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, North Korea, Poland, Russia, South Korea, and Spain amongst others.
Unlike the economic powers, Brazil enjoys Argentina is slightly low on the table at position 21 considering the GDP according to the World Bank. Argentina has struggled over the years with its marginalized location that affected its growth before and after its independence. However, in the recent past, it has gained some ground on the international economic front forming economic ties with other nations. The Argentine government has implemented a number of economic policy changes like increasing modernization, reducing inflation, and important regimes. The reform has opened Argentina’s market to foreign players. Argentina has expanded alliances with other countries like Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Paraguay. Argentina is also a member of a number of international trade organizations like Organization of American States, South American Community of Nations, the Inter-American Development Bank, and Latin American Integration Association Union of South American. Besides, Argentina is a member of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.


Argentina and Brazil are two Latin American countries that had a divergent process of struggles for independence having been colonized by different nations. Brazil has since developed more compared to Argentina with the solid foundations of growth set by the colonists. The current political landscapes for the two nations are similar in structure, but the difference comes in the number of members in the different arms of government. The faster growth and huge great economic powers have extended the levels and nature of international affiliations enjoyed by Brazil compared to those Argentina enjoys.<\/p>


Gingerich, Daniel W. Brokered Politics in Brazil: An Empirical Analysis. Quarterly Journal of Political Science 9, no. 3 (2014): 269-300.
Goldwert, Marvin. Democracy, Militarism, and Nationalism in Argentina, 1930-1966: An Interpretation. Vol. 25. University of Texas Press, 2014.
Ivereigh, Austen. Catholicism and Politics in Argentina, 1810-1960. Springer, 2016.
Tosta, Antonio Luciano de Andrade, and Eduardo de Faria Coutinho. 2016. Brazil.

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