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Where is Latin America Going? June 7, 2006

Posted by dtenjo in News and politics, Politics.
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At the Beginning of this year there was a great deal of expectation due to the many changes that the Latin American continent was going to experience in 2006. Most countries would elect new political leaders, and there was an indication that the political spectrum was turning to the left, following models shown by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and Bolivian President Evo Morales. However, after the results from elections from Colombia and Peru, and other events, things are starting to show that after all the continent does not want a complete shift to the left, like perhaps Chavez, Morales, and Fidel Castro would like.

We've seen how President Alvaro Uribe in Colombia was re-elected with a vast majority. It is no secret that Uribe has a pro-United States conservative profile, and many see this as something negative, and even have made accusations on him that link him to Paramilitary groups, and human rights organizations are all against him and his policy. In spite of all this, the people of Colombia have shown that they do not want to turn to the left, that they still believe in a more conservative government, and that Uribe's way still is the better way for the country.

Having a look at Peru's case is more interesting. There we have another re-elected president who is not perhaps as conservative as Uribe, but is definitely very far away from the leftists of the continent. It was a very interesting electoral race in Peru, where Ollanta Humala, a left-wing candidate who was willing to align Peru to the Venezuela-Bolivia-Cuba block, won the elections in the first round, and then lost the second round to Alan Garcia, a former president who once had to leave the country due to huge corruption accusations against him. Peruvian people were so much against a turn to the left, that they were willing to vote for the former president even knowing that he has a history of corruption in his government, so long as Humala would not win the elections. It is really sad to see how people in Peru did not have a choice for who was the best candidate, but really they had to decide who was the "least bad" candidate. Unfortunately in Latin America this is more common than one would think, but this topic would be a subject for a different kind of analysis. The point here was to show how people in Peru do not want to turn their country to the socialist model.

Another event that has shown how Latin America does not seem to want to go to the left is the reaction seen from Brazil and Argentina after Morales' decision to nationalize Bolivia's Hydrocarbon resources (oil and gas). After Chavez showed his immense happiness and offered all kinds of support, Brazil's Lula Da Silva and Argentina's Kirchener showed a lot less support for this, in fact they indicated how they were against this decision and publicly criticized Morales' decision. This event symbolized how Brazil and Argentina are not as close to Venezuela's idea for a socialist model in Latin America, and even though they follow the social-democratic model, they are not the unconditional friends that Chavez once thought he had. Brazil and Argentina stand more in the middle, showing a very impartial and balanced point of view.

In summation, this shows that ideas that the continent was absolutely turning to the left, and supporting Chavez are perhaps not as real. Colombia decided to maintain their Conservative standpoint; Peru elected the president that was against Chavez and Morales; Brazil and Argentina's relations with Chavez are not as harmonious and have shown more differences than similarities with the Venezuelan model; and Ecuador and Chile have governments that claim to be socialist but at the same time want to maintain open and friendly relations with all other nations, and they support Colombia, and maintain Free trade agreements with the United States. The next presidential elections will occur in Mexico, where people there will also have the choice between a candidate that is supported by Chavez, and one that is against him and his policy. Results from this elections will show where Mexicans want to go. Nevertheless, no matter what the results are in Mexico, it is evident that Latin Americans want little or nothing to do with Chavez's false leadership and his stubborn outdated quasi-communist model.

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