Latin America, Epicenter of Struggles in the 21st Century

Emir Sader
https://images.jacobinmag.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2019/12/29165415/ecuador_protest_correa_neoliberalism_1.jpgAfter having played a leading role in some of the most important historical phenomena of the 20th century, Latin America suffered a harsh offensive from global capitalism in the final decades of the last century.

The debt crisis closed the -until then- longest cycle of growth in our economies, which started in the 1930s. Military dictatorships in some of the continent’s most politically important countries – Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina – have dealt a harsh blow to democracies and popular forces in those countries. Latin America has been the continent with the largest number of neoliberal governments in their most radical modalities.

In response to these developments, Latin America has become the only region in the world to have had anti-neoliberal governments – in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador – that have coordinated with each other in regional integration processes. They have been the only governments in the world that have reduced inequalities, social exclusion, hunger, misery and poverty, contrary to global trends.

Latin America has not only projected an efficient model for combating and overcoming neoliberalism, with economic development and income distribution, but has also produced parallel projects with the great leaders of the left on a global scale: Lula, Néstor and Cristina Kirchner, Hugo Chávez, Pepe Mujica, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, Lopez Obrador. The left of the 21st century is anti-neoliberal and has its epicenter in Latin America.

Even after the right, coordinated internationally, has resumed the offensive, defeating progressive governments in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Uruguay, Bolivia, the continent continues to be the scene of the most important struggles of our time, led by neoliberal and anti-neoliberal forces, democratic and anti-democratic, of national sovereignty and of subordination to the United States.

Argentina has demonstrated the capacity to resist the devastating policies of the neoliberal government of Mauricio Macri, defeated it and resumed the life of economic, social, political and cultural reconstruction of the country. Mexico is advancing on the path of overcoming numerous destructive neoliberal governments.

In Brazil, after the monstrous operation that removed Dilma Rousseff from government and condemned Lula, both without evidence, and chose, through absolutely illegal mechanisms of manipulation, a shameful government, the opposition is reorganizing and reappearing as an alternative. Lula’s release places him at the center of the democratic opposition to the government and projects the prospect of an electoral victory similar to Argentina’s.

In Ecuador the neoliberal restoration government finds no support, forecasting a return to the anti-neoliberal alternative. In Uruguay the defeat of the Frente Amplio has altered the political scene, but it has not changed the central confrontation of our time between neoliberalism and anti-neoliberalism, leaving room for the Frente Amplio to recover, reassert itself as an alternative, and dispute the government once again.

Bolivia is another paradigmatic case, which affirms that the left is not only an alternative to neoliberalism but also, as in the Brazilian case, the democratic alternative. The government of Evo Morales was interrupted by a coup, with the clear participation of the Armed Forces, police, media, and big business. Without an alternative, the right wing is trying to form a new bloc of forces, with no popular support, using the judicial power to persecute the opposition, particularly Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia Linera. Even so, the left continues as the alternative that can bring Bolivia out of the crisis in a democratic way and with a new legitimate government.

The first decade of the century was marked by anti-neoliberal governments in Latin America. The second, by the right-wing offensive, not only here, but also in the US, Britain and other countries.

The third decade will be one of correct dispute on a global scale, with the uncontrollable rise of China, in its alliance with Russia; the recomposition of the anti-neoliberal forces in Latin America, now counting on popular movements strengthened in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador; with the consolidation of governments like those of Mexico and Argentina, the correct dispute in Brazil between the current government and the opposition, under the leadership of Lula. Latin America, now with an expanded list of countries, will continue to be the epicenter of political struggles in the world, where the central dispute of our time between neoliberalism and anti-neoliberalism is decided.

Translation by Internationalist 360º