Opinion: Latin America’s left at the crossroads

Here’s an important quote:
“The year 2010 marked the 200th anniversary of independence for many Latin American nations. While the region may have achieved its political independence it still remains, 200 years later, deeply tied – and subordinated – to the larger world capitalist system that has shaped its economic and political development from the conquest in 1492 right up to the present period of globalisation.

The new global capitalism swept Latin America by storm in the 1980s and 1990s. Neo-liberal programmes were imposed by international financial institutions, western governments, and local elites. The region experienced a sweeping transformation of its political economy and social structure. . . . A new breed of transnationally-oriented elites and capitalists forged a neo-liberal bloc and led the region into the global age of hothouse accumulation, financial speculation, credit ratings, the internet, malls, fast-food chains, and gated communities. Neo-liberalism forged a social base among emerging middle classes and professional strata for which globalisation opened up new opportunities for upward mobility and participation in the global bazaar. But neo-liberalism also brought about unprecedented social inequalities, mass unemployment, and the immiseration and displacement of tens if not hundreds of millions from the popular classes, which triggered a wave of transnational migration and new rounds of mass mobilisation among those who stayed behind.”

The article: Leftist governments in Latin America are facing resistance not only from the right, but from their own bases, as well.
William I. Robinson

The triumph of left-leaning former army officer Ollanta Humala in Peru’s presidential elections this past June has observers wondering if Peru could be the latest “Pink Tide” country in Latin America. The so-called Pink Tide refers to the ambiguous turn to the left in recent years in several Latin American countries. The neo-liberal model that has changed the face of the continent’s political economy and devastated the poor and working classes over the past two decades has come under challenge by these nominally left governments, whose populist and redistributional policies, however, may now be reaching a crossroads.

For the rest of this important article, click here.

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