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Evangelicals Gain Ground in Latin American Politics

LADB Article ID: 80567
Category/Department: Region
Date: 2018-04-06
By: Andrés Gaudín

The mere fact that the Evangelical pastor Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz made it to the April 1 presidential runoff in Costa Rica––after receiving the largest number of votes in the initial round on Feb. 4 (24% of the votes to 21% for his closest opponent)––highlights an ongoing process of rapprochement in Latin American between Evangelical churches and ultra-conservative political factions. Although Alvarado Muñoz eventually lost to Carlos Alvarado Quesada (no relation), his initial performance follows the success of Jimmy Morales, who won the presidency of Guatemala in 2015, Brazil’s Marcelo Crivella, elected mayor of Río de Janeiro in 2016, and the 266 Evangelical churches in Colombia that helped tip the balance, in the 2016 referendum, against a peace accord that the government and guerrilla rebels had signed to end more than a half-century of bloody civil war.Various studies on this phenomenon suggest that, when engaging in politics, Evangelical pastors and their churches tend to have specific and shared ideological leanings, much in the way the Catholic Church did when, starting in the second half of the 20th century, it helped bring the Christian Democratic political model from Europe to Latin America.

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