Thursday, September 15, 2011

Left or right in Latin America

Al Jazeera has been publishing some editorials about the dilemma of the Latin American left, by academics on the left. William Robinson argues that Rafael Correa and Evo Morales have essentially become prisoners of transnational capitalist forces. Manuela Picq criticizes Morales for ignoring indigenous demands in favor of extractive industry. Those came on the heels of an editorial by an environmental activist labeling Morales a hypocrite.

What's notable is that these sorts of discussions don't penetrate much into the U.S. media (and therefore not the U.S. public either). We remain stuck with the stereotype of leftists who blindly copy Hugo Chávez, or with a tiny bit more nuance are labeled "good" (Lula) or "bad" (Chávez). Yet there are intense debates going on within these countries, Bolivia most prominently, that are largely missed.


Unknown 6:27 PM  

Superb post!
The question about the composition of left ruling coalitions is becoming tense, because of the political success they are having in the region.
"Left" is not a simple term in Latin America, because we don't understand it in the european way. Marxist inspireded left is only one of a kind of political left.
During the 90s the "left" agenda was about resisting the advance of "neo liberal" (neo conservative for U.S. guys) reforms on the state. During the early 2000, as political left coalitions started a cicle of growing performances in elections, te question was about recovering state's political control over economic institutions.
Today we the question is different: as in most of the region, ruling left-side coalitions are consolidating themselves into power, the emerging internal conflict runs over the different visions of the future and divergent development models. We saw some of this in the latest brazilian elections and the rising of Marina Silva electoral challenge to Serra's and PT's, and Fernando Solanas in Argentinian 2009's mid term elections. We are also seeing it today in Morales' and Correa's conflicts with indigenism. The fact is that so far, the "desarrollista" elements (development model based on industry and capitalism with welfare state, as we saw with Kubischek and Peron second goverment) were who had hegemony over the coalitions. But this is not something to take for certain in the future. Specially in the CAN countries.

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