In the public agenda in Latin America recall has gained of importance since the controversies generated by the votes in Venezuela (2004) and Bolivia (2008) in order to recall Presidents Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, respectively (both attempts failed). However, it is on the local level where this institution got activated most frequently and where it could be responsible for major political changes. In this article, we analyze the introduction, use and consequences of the recall on the local level in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. We briefly discuss recall in the light of the current debate on representative democracy and its adoption as a mechanism of direct democracy (MDD) from ‘bottom-up’, initiated by the citizens. Furthermore, we describe the context under which MDDs have proliferated in various places of the world. More specifically, we then continue to explore where and in which context in Latin America recall was promoted as an element of participatory democracy. Finally, we come up with tentative conclusions about the potential and risks involved with this particular mechanism of direct democracy.