20 August 2010

The transformation of Latin America is a global advance

Finally a decent article on Latin Ameria in the Guardian, albeit in the CiF section - opinion. However, there is so much more truth written in this one article than in Rory Carroll's entire output.

"The transformation of Latin America is a global advance"

"Nearly two centuries after it won nominal independence and Washington declared it a backyard, Latin America is standing up. The tide of progressive change that has swept the continent for the past decade has brought to power a string of social democratic and radical socialist governments that have attacked social and racial privilege, rejected neo-liberal orthodoxy and challenged imperial domination of the region.
Its significance is often underestimated or trivialised in Europe and North America. But along with the rise of China, the economic crash of 2008 and the demonstration of the limits of US power in the "war on terror", the emergence of an independent Latin America is one of a handful of developments reshaping the global order. From Ecuador to Brazil, Bolivia to Argentina, elected leaders have turned away from the IMF, taken back resources from corporate control, boosted regional integration and carved out independent alliances across the world."

"For all his popularity at home, Chávez has been the target for a campaign of vilification and ridicule throughout the US, European and elite-controlled Latin American media – which has little to do with his high-octane rhetoric and much more with his effectiveness in using Venezuela's oil wealth to challenge US and corporate power across the region.
Forget his success in slashing the Venezuelan poverty rate in half, tripling social spending, rapidly expanding healthcare and education, and fostering grassroots democracy and worker participation. Since the beginning of the year Venezuela's enemies have smelled blood as his government faltered in the face of drought-triggered power cuts, a failure to ride out recession with a stimulus package – as Morales's Bolivia did – and growing discontent over high levels of violent crime.
So expect a flurry of new claims that Chávez is a dictator who has stifled media freedom and persecuted bankers and businessmen, and whose incompetent regime is running into the sand. In reality the Venezuelan president has won more free elections than any other world leader, the country's media are dominated by the US-funded opposition, and his government's problems with service delivery stem more from institutional weakness than authoritarianism."

"If both Brazilian and Venezuelan elections are won by the left, the US and its friends may be tempted to look for other ways to divert Latin America from the path of self-determination and social justice it took while George Bush was busy fighting his enemies in the Muslim world. For all Barack Obama's promise to "seek a new chapter of engagement" and warning that a "terrible precedent" would be set if last year's bloody coup against the reforming Honduran president Manuel Zelaya were allowed to stand, there has been little change in US policy towards the region. The Honduran coup was indeed allowed to stand – or, as Hillary Clinton put it, the "crisis" was "managed to a successful conclusion".
The clear message was that the radical tide can be turned and the fear is now that another of the more vulnerable governments, such as Paraguay's or Guatemala's, could also be "managed to a conclusion" in one form or another. Meanwhile the US is attempting to shore up its military presence on the continent, using the pretext of "counter-insurgency" to station US forces in seven bases in Colombia.
But direct military intervention looks implausible for the foreseeable future. If the political and social movements that have driven the continent's transformation can maintain their momentum and support, they won't only be laying the foundation of an independent Latin America, but new forms of socialist politics declared an impossibility in the modern era. Two decades after we were told there was no alternative, another world is being created."

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