If you follow Latin America, do you feel like you keep seeing the same photo over and over again?

I talk about that in a new commentary that went up on WOLA’s website today:

A president—usually one with low approval ratings—announces a politically risky or unpopular move, often a crackdown on social protests or dissent. To give the announcement more weight and menace, the president issues it while surrounded by uniformed military officers. The subtext is “the military is with me on this”—even if the message is a political one that doesn’t fall within the military’s responsibilities.

It’s part of a larger trend of “the pendulum… swinging back, fast, in the militaries’ direction. It probably won’t go so far back that Latin America re-enters an age of military juntas holding total power. It’s hard, though, to see where or how far it will go.”

Latin America may not be headed back to the age of coups. But it might not be democracy, either. This piece looks at five worrying trends, including an unhelpful U.S. role. Read it here.