A glimmer of hope in Latin America – The Lawrentian


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In a world so devoid of hope, it is important to recognize that working class people can still win. Looking at the state of world politics, it can be hard to see the far right coming to power in places like Hungary, India and Brazil, when the alternative to fascism appears to be neoliberal politicians. like Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron. But Latin America is beginning to resist the global drift towards fascism and the status quo of neoliberalism. The period between 2000 and 2010 was known as the pink tide in Latin America, when socialist and center-left leaders like Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina and Evo Morales in Bolivia came to power. The first pink tide ended in the 2010s, with the rise of the right on the continent, but in recent years the left has seen a resurgence in power.

This second pink tide began in 2018, with the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as President of Mexico. Although Obrador is a bit of a COVID denier and has angered the left several times during his presidency, it’s a huge change from the right-wing Trump-like administration of Enrique Peña Nieto. . Similarly, in Argentina, a country with a long history of neoliberal austerity and right-wing military regimes, the 2019 elections saw conservative President Mauricio Macri lose his seat to center-left current President Alberto Fernández. .

It’s not just the centre-lefts who have won in Latin America. Several countries, including very conservative countries, have elected socialists in the past two years. In Bolivia in 2019, there was a US-backed coup against indigenous Aymara and proudly socialist President Evo Morales in favor of the authoritarian Christian supremacist government of Jeanine Añez, who massacred protesters and sold resources. from Bolivia to companies. For a country with a history of indigenous genocide and fascist military dictatorships, his presidency was another shameful episode of Western intervention in Bolivia. In October 2020, after a year of state violence and labor unrest, socialist Luis Arce, a former minister in the Morales administration, was overwhelmingly elected president, alongside his Aymara vice president David Choquehuanca, also from the left. On the same day, former mayor of Vinto Patricia Arce Guzmán (no relation), an Aymara socialist woman who was tortured and humiliated by the putschists, was elected to the Bolivian Chamber of Senators.

Other countries with a history of Western imperialism also opted for the socialists. In December, Chile, whose socialist government was overthrown by the CIA in 1973, overwhelmingly elected socialist-democratic student leader Gabriel Boric and rejected José Antonio Kast, a far-right leader who made the praise of the former military dictator, General Augusto Pinochet. Chileans also voted to rewrite the Pinochet-era constitution and elected a communist mayor for Santiago Centro, the downtown area of ​​their capital, Irací Hassler. In Honduras, a country that was subjected to decades of military occupation and a 2009 coup that brought 11 years of a violent far-right “narco-dictatorship” to the country, in November, Xiomara Castro was elected president. Castro, a pro-choice leftist, is the wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, deposed in the previously mentioned 2009 coup, and is Honduras’ first female president. On January 27, 2022, her first day as president, she confronted her country’s ruling class by ordering free electricity for the country’s poor and pledging justice for murdered indigenous Lenca activist Berta Cáceres. Even Peru, a country not known for being fertile ground for left-wing electoral victories, elected Pedro Castillo, a socially conservative but economically left-wing teacher and union leader from Peru’s impoverished rural northern department of Cajamarca. , for president in the June 2021 elections. Castillo defeated Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former fascist dictator Alberto Fujimori.

In 2022, there will be more elections. In Colombia, left-wing senator Gustavo Petro beats neoliberal Trump incumbent Ivan Duque in the polls for the May 2022 elections. Other left-wing and center-left political figures such as former Medellin mayor Sergio Fajardo have also declared themselves ready to challenge Duque. In Brazil, Latin America’s largest country, led by far-right authoritarian President Jair Bolsonaro, elections are held in October and poll after poll shows him losing to center-left former president Luis Ignacio “Lula da Silva, who Bolsonaro had been unjustly imprisoned to pave the way for his presidency.

That doesn’t paint the full picture. Not all Latin American countries are currently participating in this second pink tide: Ecuador elected a conservative billionaire in April, Guatemala has a conservative president accused of human rights abuses, and El Salvador has a president. bitcoin-obsessed right-wing authoritarian. It is also true that leaders such as Obrador, Morales, Arce, Lula, Castillo and the other centre-left figures mentioned have their problems and that many on the left in their country criticize them relentlessly.

Even with all these contradictions, it is clear that the peoples of Latin America are rising up against imperialism, austerity and neoliberalism. The fact that the pink tide has happened twice, country after country, shows us that it is not a fluke but a clear rejection of the neoliberal world order. The last twenty years have shown us that it is impossible for the forces of empire and big business to subjugate Latin America without the force imposed by countries like the United States. The United States now has a responsibility to respect the results of these elections and to allow the poor and indigenous people of Latin America to finally control the land that has been stolen from them.