In the current moments of April 2019 we can recognize that in the conservative governments of Latin America and the Caribbean is present a pragmatic project, which manifests itself as a new period of regional conservatism. One of its instances of convergence has been the Lima Group (Argentina with Mauricio Macri; Brazil with Jair Bolsonaro; Chile with Sebastián Piñera; Colombia with Iván Duque; Costa Rica with Carlos Alvarado Quezada; Ecuador with Lenin Moreno; Guatemala with Jimmy Morales; Honduras with Juan Orlando Hernández; Panama with Juan Carlos Varela; Paraguay with Mario Abdo Benítez and Peru with Martín Vizcarra). This group’s ideological paradigm and main reference is to be at the service and under the tutelage of the government of Donald Trump. In the case of Mexico, its participation in the Lima Group was amended at the time when the new Mexican president (December 2018), Andrés Manuel López Obrador, defined his differences by recognizing President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela as legitimate and fully respecting self-determination and Venezuelan sovereignty. The government of Mexico, together with that of Uruguay and CARICOM, formed the Montevideo Mechanism for dialogue and peace in the South American country in early February 2019, thus offering an inclusive and alternative proposal for the delicate situation in Venezuela.
Integration of the Latin American Right
The Lima Group’s unfortunate role has thus been to tacitly and gladly accept Washington’s intimidation and pressure. The strong position of the 21st century hegemonic power, which is also declining steadily across the globe. Especially as the Peoples Republic of China with Xi Jinping and the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, emerge as the great world counterweights to U.S. power.
For the governments of the Latin American right, their fundamental point of reference is to position themselves at the current juncture, as the main protagonists of a neoconservative project seeking to lead the fight to overthrow the revolutionary government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and to impede new advances of the progressive forces emerging again in the region. These neoconservatives, in particular, represent the ambitions of a project seeking the formation of a governmental bloc, of political parties and social groups of the Latin American right. They are trying to remove, or more precisely, eliminate progressive, left-wing or revolutionary governments from the regional scene. It is an urgent task for them to undertake at the end of the second decade of the 21st century. For them, their first joint project has been to generate the Lima Group itself. Now they are advancing in the construction of a South American neoconservative alternative such as the creation of Prosur. This means that the right-wing bloc of governments is attempting to fragment the region into two governing options: conservative versus progressive. Just as they did in the case of Mercosur, when a bloc of right-wing governments such as Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay suspended Venezuela as a member state, leaving Uruguay as a minority. Other countries participate in Mercosur but as Associated States (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname).
“The Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur) is the most recent Latin American regional integration initiative. This project is the work of the leadership of right-wingers Sebastián Piñera, of Chile, and Iván Duque, of Colombia, and was created with the aim of completing the collapse of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which was created between 2004 and 2011 by the left-wing coalition Lula-Chávez-Kirchner-Fernández de Kirchner”, (Juan C. Herrera: Prosur, el nuevo mecanismo para no integrar a Latinoamérica).
This new institution emerges essentially as a model of ideological integration of the right-wing governments where their neoliberal theses have the primary option of liquidating the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). Remember that this regional organization emerges as an inclusive entity of South American countries respecting the political differences of each government. This organization was founded in the first decade of the new century by emerging progressive forces in the region with the participation of the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, with the broad support of President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, a former president who offered to establish the headquarters in his country. In this way, UNASUR was founded on May 23, 2008 and entered into force in 2011 as a regional body for political and cultural integration without ideological exclusions. It inaugurated its building in December 2016 in the so-called center of the world, near the city of Quito. To this day, UNASUR continues to include Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. It is a body that continues to be inclusive and respectful of the different political projects of each government. Thus, sub-regional integration processes were also reinforced sub-regionally with organizations such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – People’s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) and also the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). Organisms that are not ideologically sectarian, but now with Prosur the shift to a right-wing bloc of South American governments and a markedly exclusionary, reactionary and divisive policy becomes much more evident.
Each day we witness in our America at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, new examples of regional integration but now with an ideologically exclusionary direction. Nevertheless, in the spirit of major social groups and progressive and nonconservative governments in the region, there persists resistance and options in defense of national sovereignty and self-determination. The peoples and governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela, together with others in the Caribbean, continue to aspire to dialogue, peace and regional unity. In this new Latin American situation, what José Martí accurately expressed with his vision inherited by Simón Bolívar, when he said: “there he is, still wearing the campaign boots, because what he had not been able to do was yet to be done”, in our times.
Translation by Internationalist 360°