Left in Latin America regains power

Saint Joseph

Forced to retreat and remain on the defensive, losing key points of dominance in Argentina in 2015, Brazil in 2016, Ecuador in 2017, Bolivia in 2019 and Uruguay in 2020, and seeming to weaken in Venezuela and Nicaragua, the The left of Latin America and the Caribbean fought back at the end of this year and recovered hemispheric political positions to go on the offensive.

The pendulum oscillation was marked by stellar moments. The devastating triumph of the ruling regime in Venezuela in the parliamentary elections that, without the opposition, were held on December 6 and gave the questioned president Nicolás Maduro an institutional monopoly: Executive, Legislative, Judicial and Electoral, as of January 5 . And although the opposition, the United States, the European Union and an American bloc described the election as illegitimate, Maduro will consolidate.

The return of the left to power on November 8 in Bolivia dislodged the center and right forces that governed before the resignation on November 10, 2019, in electoral chaos, of Evo Morales to the presidency.

The acute instability of the right-wing political class in Peru entered the scene with another change of government last month. Success was also added on the previous October 25 in a “Yes” plebiscite to modify the Political Constitution of Chile and bury the balance of the right-wing-Pinochet military dictatorship that ruled from 1973 to 1990.

The map was joined by the unstable peace process in Colombia, the defeat of the far-right president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, in municipal elections on November 15, and the division of the right-wing opposition in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Caught in a political fire in 2018, the Nicaraguan government cornered the opposition in 2020 to try to remove it, via legislation, from the 2021 electoral game.

The panorama coincided with the departure of Donald Trump from the US presidency and his replacement with Joe Biden as of January 20.

In the process there were two other events: the presidential victory in 2018, for the first time, of the left in Mexico and the rise of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to power in December of that year, and the arrival of the leftist Alberto Fernández to the presidency of Argentina in December 2019.

Fernández, who supported Morales to regain the helm of Bolivia, defeated in 2019 the center-rightist and then president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, and, with former President Cristina Fernández, Kirchner’s widow, in the vice presidency, reinstated in power to the left, which ruled from 2003 to 2015.

The leftist Rafael Correa presided over Ecuador from 2007 to 2017 and was succeeded by Lenín Moreno, his ally, but both fought. Moreno distanced himself in 2017 from the hemispheric left, which in 2016 witnessed the end of more than 13 years in a row of leftist governments in Brazil. The leftist Frente Amplio closed 15 consecutive years of government in March 2020 in Uruguay.

Ideology in the region

“Latin America is not one,” its reality is one of “uncertainty about the political course” and of more dissatisfaction and frustration than hope, said the Costa Rican diplomat Jorge Urbina, former ambassador of Costa Rica to the United Nations and the International Court of Justice of The Hague, Holland.

“I see those ‘brushstrokes’, but not a continental shift to the left or center-left. There are no large social movements, there are pendular electorates in most countries that do not mark an evolution “, Urbina argued in an interview with EL UNIVERSAL.


For the Nicaraguan opponent and former MP Eliseo Núñez, “the cycles of power in Latin America have to do with the high levels of inequality [social]”That reinforce” the oscillation “from left to right.

“Countries that, despite having economic development like Chile, are not making progress in the democratic model, are not making progress in [resolver] inequity. The governments of the right are of the elites and those of the left break with that, but the management of the government of the left makes a return to that of the elites. This cycle is not beneficial for Latin America ”, explained Núñez to this newspaper.

In the opinion of Bolivian diplomat Jaime Aparicio, former Bolivian ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), “it seems that the left-wing regional plan is being rearmed.”

The project gained strength with the rise in 1999 of Hugo Chávez (who died in 2013) to the presidency of Venezuela and that, in the 21st century and with Cuba in the background, was positioned in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador, Paraguay , Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina, although then it yielded, the diplomat recalled.

“There is a trend” to the left, Aparicio told this newspaper. “The weakness of the right” helps the left, Peruvian political analyst and journalist César Campos told this medium. “The left”, he stressed, “will win spaces due to the coronavirus. To a desperate situation, a desperate response and thus the extremes gain space. The left will win them because it does have an intense activity ”.



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