What nation and forces are interfering in the domestic affairs, electoral processes and democratic freedoms of Latin America? It is not Russia or China, Martin Sieff writes.
Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia: Whenever the peoples of Latin America have had real freedom to vote, over the past 20 years they far more often than not vote Social Democratic by landslides.
Argentina, one of the two demographic and economic giants of South America, has elected left-of-center, Peronist governments four out of five times in the past 16 years. Current President Alfredo Fernandez has been a model of responsible social policies at home while incurring the outrage of the Trump administration in Washington for defending the Social Democratic leaders of Bolivia, Ecuador and most of all President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.
In Mexico, popular President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, routinely “accused” of being leftist” and “populist” has courageously defied Wall Street and outspokenly described neo-liberalism as “a disaster” and “a calamity” for his country.
Giant Brazil with more than 200 million people the demographic heavyweight of Latin America, returned two successive twice-elected Social Democratic popular presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff in four elections in a row from 2003 to 2014.
Rousseff was toppled by an impeachment process in 2016 and replaced by the allegedly corrupt and certainly utterly incompetent and widely despised Michel Termer until 2019, when repressive and even more inept current hard-right wing ruler Jair Bolsonaro took over. He has proved a monument to disastrous ineptitude ever since.
The same pattern continues in small nations as well as huge ones. Ecuador with 18 million people twice elected popular President Rafael Correa in 2007 and 2013. He emphasized a dramatic increase in spending on education and health. Now after years of right wing reaction under the ironically named Lenin Moreni, Correa’s chosen successor , former economics minister Andres Arauz looks set to decisively defeat hard-line right wing banker Guillermo Lasso who only won a derisory 19.74 percent in the first round of voting. However, that assumes Ecuador will not be subjected to the kind of dirty tricks and US-backed military coups that plagued Brazil and Bolivia.
Last year, Bolivia threw off the sinister shackles of military repression that reemerged under the interim presidency of attractive figurehead interim President Jeanine Anez in 2019 after popular twice-elected President Evo Morales, leader of the Movement for Sociaism (MAS) was toppled. Now Morales has been belatedly succeeded by his former economics minister Luis Arce who took office in November 2020.
Also, democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro continues to survive in Venezuela despite an enormous bipartisan-backed US effort to topple him. It started under Barack Obama, expanded under Donald Trump and continues unabated under current President Joe Biden.
Several points never, ever made in the laughable US Main stream media (MSM) need to be pointed out here.
First, none of these current and recent Social Democratic governments in any of these countries either tried to invade or otherwise destabilize or topple any of their neighbors.
Second, none of the Social Democratic, repeatedly reelected leaders who were destabilized and eventually toppled by US-backed military coups in Brazil or Bolivia ever supported any terrorist groups operating anywhere in the hemisphere. President Fernandez has been exemplary at prosecuting and exposing both former extreme right-wing human rights violators and death squad supporters in his own country in the dark 1970s and early 1980s and extreme leftist groups operating in later decades too.
The real crime of these far from extreme reformist leaders of course was that they continued to defy the United States government, Wall Street financial interests and the International Monetary Fund and put the needs of their own peoples first.
Third, it is quite simply impossible to find anywhere in the English language mainstream media in the United States any acknowledgement whatsoever of this enormous, continent -wide political tide that over the past 15 years at least has swept from the Rio Grande land border between the United States and Mexico all the way down to remote Patagonia in the extreme south of Argentina.
At best, financial outlets like “The Economist” and the “Financial Times” in London or “Forbes” and the “Wall Street Journal” in New York will brush off these continuing political dynamics as temporary inconveniences reflecting the alleged illiteracy and stupidity of the majority populations, especially indigenous Native Americans. The British Broadcasting Corporation in London and Public Broadcasting System in Washington of course know better than to question their masters.
Exactly the same arguments of course are used in the United States to sneer at, marginalize and humiliate the so-called “Deplorables” – the mainstream working class white, black and Hispanic populations of the American heartland who have been devastated by the policies of open borders, unregulated global free trade and withdrawal of government aid and support for them.
The pattern of politics and the tide of history across all the vast lands of Latin America in the 21st century are unmistakable: The peoples of the hemisphere seek and treasure democratic freedoms, open and fair elections and peaceful domestic economic and social policies.
And what nation and forces are interfering in the domestic affairs, electoral processes and democratic freedoms of all these nations? It is not Russia or China.
But how long can these tides of history demanding democracy and socially responsible policies be held back? And what happens when they finally break through?