Populism describes neither recent nor emergent phenomena in Latin America; rather, it is a well-studied characterization of several deep and key processes in its political history from the beginning of the twentieth century. The histories of both sports and politics agree on the importance of sports for existing Latin American populisms, and the connection has influenced the foundation of sports studies across the continent. This article presents a discussion of these processes and studies, paying special attention to the fluctuations between the populisms of the Left—the Pink Tide in Latin America between 2000 and 2015—and the Right—a conservatism organized as an anti-populist populism or, more possibly, real fascism. After the triumph of Argentina in the 2022 World Cup and the disorders generated by followers of former president Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil in January 2023, two things remain clear: political elites think of sports as a smokescreen, and anti-populism (as opposed to populisms) is finally revealed as fascism.

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