LATIN America has always been at the forefront of leftist resistance to the US Empire – but few expected socialism to remain so prominent in South American politics at this stage.
Ronald Reagan – as with many late 20th century Presidents – was notorious for crushing leftist governments and guerrilla organisations during the latter stages of the Cold War, as Washington sought to prevent the continent being a second front for the USSR.
But post-9/11, the State Department appeared to have switched all its attention to the Middle East.
As a result, the likes of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales rose out of grassroots leftist movements in the likes of Venezuela and Bolivia, while other major nations, such as Argentina and Brazil, also elected progressives around the turn of the millenium.
While a counteracting conservative wave dented socialist ambitions in the continent temporarily during the 2010s, the past couple of years have proved fruitful for leftist internationalists.
Venezuela has held on under immense pressure and sanctions. AMLO was elected in 2018 in Mexico, while Peronist Alberto Fernandez unseated the conservative incumbent in Argentina two years ago. Luis Arce reigned triumphant in Bolivia – against all odds – while in Ecuador, Andres Arauz, a socialist economist, seems set to take the leadership in the second round of voting on April 11.
On the same day, Peruvians may seal a similar resurgent socialist fate in the form of Veronika Mendoza, who could sneak into parliament amid a crowded field of candidates. Hugo Ballon, a guest writer, analysed the situation for us this week.
There’s also whispers that Polish voters may be frustrated with the right-wing Law and Justice party, academic Aleks Szczerbiak mused.
And amid all of this, Jeremy Corbyn – who bizarrely (mistakenly?) tweeted about an event celebrating the Bolivian election result less than an hour after news emerged about Prince Philip – has continued to rally against British foreign policy abroad, once again calling for the end of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Two weeks after it’s fourth election within a year, Israel still doesn’t have a settled government. Benjamin Netanyahu has the first shot at forming a coalition, but don’t bet on it being concluded this coming week.
Meanwhile, the fallout from the Ecuadorian and Peruvian elections will be a curious watch. How will the Biden administration respond?